Animator Ashley Thorpe continues his foray through horror flicks. In this installment he focuses on the video nasty, or is that nasty video, that is Ringu.
RINGU – 1998
Ringu (or The Ring) once again succeeds because it has a simple premise: Those who watch a grainy surreal videotape and receive a phone-call at its close will die a week later. It achieves a balance between spirit ideas in Japanese folklore and censorship fears in modern culture. The Ring is essentially folk devils and moral panics via Cronenberg’s Videodrome.
The film also serves as a surreal detective fiction as the protagonists piece together (and discover the relevance of) what at first appear to be unrelated images on the videotape. Each are cyphers.
The tape itself is pure surrealism. It’s pure Un Chien Andalou (Bunuel and Dali 1929) and it’s this free association and playful sense of the absurd that informs possibly one of the all time ‘wow’ moments in modern horror cinema (cue 1 hour 21).
The male protagonist Ryuji believes, after discovering Sadako’s well, that the curse has been broken. That is until the TV comes on again and the videotape runs again from the well sequence.
Ryuji recoils as Sadako climbs slowly, jerkily (an effect achieved through reverse photography) from the well shuffling closer closer and, at the point when she’s at the screen’s surface, Sadako breaks through the surface and crawls into the room. It’s an awesome sequence. Terrifying. Nightmarish. Powerful. And steeped in early twentieth century cinema technique and method. Which leads us nicely to…
Posted by Ashley Thorpe
TOMORROW: Ashely Thorpe on THE CABINET OF DR CALIGARI
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