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The Scariest Things Podcast: Episode LXI – A J-Horror Sampler Platter


We’re going on a trip to the far east, where Horror delves where Hollywood had feared to tread. We’re trading in the hillbilly horror for some scary little girls with wet hair! Join Liz, Eric, and Mike for a combo plate of some of our favorite offerings from across the Pacific.

Hollywood owes Japan a huge debt of gratitude for saving the horror genre in the late 90’s. The fresh, visceral, and SCARY content coming from back East was a kick in the butt for Hollywood, who over course just decided to carbon copy the best of J-Horror, but the doors have been opened, and now through the power of streaming services and film festivals, horror from Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Indonesia have reached the same level of craft and power as the Japanese fare.

Indonesia have reached the same level of craft and power as the Japanese fare.

Asia sure likes itself some scary!

There is a proud tradition of Japanese horror movies, dating back to Godzilla, of course, but also the landmark achievements that are Onibaba, Kwaidan, Kuroneko, and Jigoku, works of cinema art that are gorgeous and epic tales that epitomized the high water mark for Japanese film.

As Japanese culture turned its attention to television, the Japanese film industry really struggled in the 70’s and 80’s, and that bore out in horror movie content as well. Probably only Hausu, which Mike covered in the Oddball One-Off Podcast episode XLVI really stands out in that era. But once we turn to the 90’s, the Japanese found their horror footing again, and put Western horror to shame!

Ringu, Ju-On, Audition, Dark Water, Suicide Club, Pulse, the late 90’s and early 00’s was a treasure trove of excellent horror films, even if western critics just… didn’t… get it. But despite how lukewarm the critical reception was, American horror fans knew quality material when they saw it.

And J-horror comes in many flavors. The moody and somber studies of suicide and loneliness. The romper room fun of Kaiju movies. (We’ll say horror adjacent for these purposes). The sleazy gonzo fare that would put Troma and Full Moon to shame for timidity. And the surreal arthouse independent scene. They’ve got a bit of everything!

Mike and Eric are joined by Liz for this outing, and we take a sampler course of what’s out there. We’ve extended the borders a little bit, by going out to Korea and Indonesia for some sibling Asian horror. We’re flexible, that way. No doubt, we will be back to talk more about J-Horror as it has so much to offer.

Also new to the podcast you’ll hear a fun new intro, from one of our Patrons, Ian Parker, who gives a wonderfully droll Vincent Price-style opener. If you would like to do an intro, or read a tagline closer, please join our Patreon community!

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