Saturday, May 4, 2013

Editorial: Can Asian Ghosts Make A Comeback?

I've always loved the chillingly pale, black haired, white nightgown wearing ghost; there are other representations of the classic Asian ghost, but they're usually very similar yet very creepy. Of course, I can fully understand why some viewers would, and did, get tired of this model. But, can it make a real comeback? Personally, it something that I would really like to see domestically and internationally.

Realistically pale skin. Long black hair. A comfortable nightgown? (Okay, maybe a little dirty with a few wrinkles.) This iconic ghost has appeared in many franchises - most notably Ringu and Ju-on, along with their respective remakes. Whether I was watching the original or remake, I was always fascinated by the ghosts themselves and their haunting designs, their disturbing movements, and their eerie sounds (meow!). Many domestic ghost films nowadays focus on what we can't see; yes, this approach can be frightening when properly executed, but it seems like we can never balance, or we never care to balance, the different types of horror films.

What I mean is: when one type of film succeeds, the herd follows and completely abandons the other type. So, as soon as the Paranormal Activity ghost appeared, American filmmakers stopped making movies based on Asian ghosts. I suppose it's understandable considering the regional differences, but that doesn't mean I have to love it. I did enjoy Insidious as it featured ghosts we can actually see - maybe it's time to recreate the ghost-horror genre once again? Create a new, memorable ghost? I also thoroughly enjoyed the Whispering Corridors series and it's ghosts, which varied from tamed to bloody.

Imagine a film industry where unseeable-based ghost films could release concurrently with Asian-based ghost films. Ghost horror would be rejuvenated and diversified, and the unseeable ghost genre wouldn't be over-saturated. That is, of course, if other film-goers are still remotely interested in ghosts like Toshio. Do you want to see Asian ghosts - or, at least, seeable ghosts - make a comeback?

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