A traditional vengeful ghost or the machine in a ghost? Narrative dynamics, horror effects, and the posthuman in Ringu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

Abstract

The Ring series written by the Japanese fantasy writer Koji Suzuki has been immensely successful and given birth to a cycle of hugely popular horror films, including Hideo Nakata’s celebrated Ringu. In this short paper I wish to explore how some important motifs and iconographies derived from traditional Japanese folklore and drama fuse with what is unmistakably modern and urban, producing a peculiar kind of horror that cannot be explained simply as the invasion of the modern by the archaic. The main narrative of the film cycle is structured by two opposing tendencies. One is the main characters’ endeavour to search for the ‘origin’ of Sadako Yamamura’s resentment, believing that retrieving her remains and a proper burial would lay the unhappy ghost to rest. Contradicting this anthropomorphic understanding of evil is Sadako’s endless propagation by means of video technology, evoking the ideas of mechanical reproduction and simulation. Attending closely to the plot of Ringu, I seek to explicate the narrative dynamics involved and enquire into the posthuman implications in Sadako’s nature with respect to the surprise ending of her ‘crime story.’ With reference to the impressive death scenes, I try to explain how the remarkable horror effects are created. Copyright © 2010 Editions Rodopi B. V., Amsterdam - New York, NY.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFear itself: Reasoning the unreasonable
EditorsStephen HESSEL, Michèle HUPPERT
Place of PublicationAmsterdam; New York
PublisherRodopi
Pages109-124
ISBN (Electronic)9789042028074
ISBN (Print)9789042028067, 9042028068
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Citation

Yu, E. K. W. (2010). A traditional vengeful ghost or the machine in a ghost? Narrative dynamics, horror effects, and the posthuman in Ringu. In S. Hessel & M. Huppert (Eds.), Fear itself: Reasoning the unreasonable (pp. 109-124). Amsterdam; New York: Rodopi.

Keywords

  • Embodiment
  • Hideo Nakata
  • Japanese horror film
  • Narrative dynamics
  • Posthumanism
  • Ringu
  • Sadako
  • Simulation

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