J-horror films, the Japanese chillers that swept the globe at the turn of the millennium, could guarantee two things – ghastly ghostly apparitions, and sleepless nights for the viewer. Among the pinnacle of J-horror are the JU-ON films, a trilogy of terror named after a deadly curse spawned when someone dies in the grip of a violent rage – all who come into contact with it are doomed! The J-horror genre proved so popular, and so scary, that numerous titles were remade for the US market, including JU-ON, which so impressed Evil Dead director Sam Raimi that he invited the director to helm two Hollywood remakes.
To celebrate the release of Arrow Video’s JU-ON – THE GRUDGE COLLECTION on UHD and Blu-ray, here are six of the best scenes from the most terrifying J-horrors – watch if you dare!
RINGU (THE RING) – 1998
Based on the bestselling book by Kôji Suzuki, and directed by Hideo Nakata, this iconic horror centres around a journalist investigating a video tape that is supposed to kill whoever watches it. In this shattering sequence towards the end of the film, the journalist’s husband inadvertently watches the tape, showing a ghoulish figure creeping out of a well… and out of the TV set itself…
ÔDISHON (AUDITION) – 1999
In Takashi Miike’s brilliant twisted chiller (based on the novel by Ryû Murakami), widower Shigeharu (Ryo Ishibashi) auditions women for what they think is a part in a film – in fact, he is looking for a prospective wife. Unfortunately for him, the lady he rather likes, Eihi (Asami Yamazaki) is hiding a dark and deadly secret. In this unsettling scene, Shigeharu discovers something – or someone – wrapped in a sack – in Eihi’s apartment, that suggests he might want to rethink his pursuit of her. Maybe stick to dating apps next time?
KAIRO (PULSE) – 2001
In this J-horror frightener, it appears ghosts are attempting to enter the human world – through the internet! In one scene a man encounters a ghost in a ‘forbidden room’ in a dank basement – probably the last place you want to run into a ghost, let’s be honest. Here’s a breakdown of the scene in all its terrifying glory – as the description says, leave the lights on at night after this one.
JU-ON (THE GRUDGE) – 2002
The first film in the series introduces an anonymous family house in the suburbs of Tokyo where an unspeakable evil lingers alongside its residents, the ghastly mother-son pairing of Kayoko and Toshio Saeki. Anyone who visits the house is terrorised by this deadly duo. There are so many jump scares in the film, you won’t so much as sit on your sofa as use it as a trampoline. And when you go to bed, don’t bother trying to hide under the duvet…
JU-ON 2 (THE GRUDGE 2) – 2003
The horrible, creaky croaky noise returns in this almost unbearably scary follow up. This time around, some bright spark decides to film an episode of a paranormal TV show at the cursed house. Before you can say ‘big mistake’, people involved with the programme start to die. This scene is the J-horror equivalent of a very bad hair day indeed.
HONOGURAI MIZU NO SOKO KARA (DARK WATER) – 2004
The brooding, sinister story of a mother and daughter who move into a flat, and discover the ceiling is leaking – a leak which gets progressively worse, so that soon the walls are soaked in water. The janitor doesn’t fix it and no one seems to be in the flat above. In this scene the water woes are compounded when the daughter can’t turn off a tap when she is running a bath. The bath starts to overflow – but that’s the least of her worries…!