I should probably start off by stating that I’m aware that these particular Asian horror films are not current, and I know some people only consider upcoming and/or new horror to be a need to see… But honestly, new, old or upcoming horror can always be on your radar. After all, it takes some time to tick through an entire sub-genre!
Now, I also know what you are thinking. Why don’t I just watch them?? Well, that’s a good question, and the simple answer is time! I really wish I could find the hours to watch everything I want, but sadly there aren’t enough hours in the day.
More frustratingly, I also don’t always have access to them. My local video store (yes video stores still exist in the US… just) doesn’t carry too many (I guess the genre is a little too niche for them to stock), and US Netflix doesn’t have a particularly large selection either.
But enough is enough. I have now firmly decided to stop making excuses and make the time to watch some of these classics that have been recommended to me for so long. I’m clearly missing out! And these are the 5 that I’m going to hit first…
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
Jee-woon-Kim’s film tells the story of two sisters (clue’s in the name I guess) – Su-mi and Su-yeon, who have recently been reunited following Su-mi’s recent stint in a mental institution. But their father, evil stepmother and some ghosts may make their road to reinstated family bliss a difficult one.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m a visual horror fan, which often means that cover art initially attracts me to watch a horror film. And the cover art for A Tale of Two Sisters is all kinds of colourful crazy!
Audition tells the story of Shigeharu, a lonely widower who hasn’t had much luck with the ladies. When his friend sets up an audition for a fake movie, Shigeharu thinks he might just have found the one in actress Asami. However he soon finds that she isn’t who she appears to be, and could well end up being the girl of his nightmares instead.
I’ll be honest and say that I’m not a huge fan of torture films, but this one has had my interest ever since I first started looking to get into Asian Horror. On a side note, I was actually once mistaken for Asami at a horror convention, when in truth I was cosplaying as American Mary. Me watching this was clearly meant to be.
I doubt this one has been on many people’s radar, but I do love me a creature features — even if it’s likely to be bad (which most of the time they are).
Chaw is the story of a police officer who is trying to prevent a wild boar from destroying his town. It’s been compared to the Australian ‘terror boar’ film Razorback (which I did enjoy). So, I figured Chaw might be able to kill two birds with one stone for me, covering both the creature feature & Asian sub-genre.
Tokyo Gore Police (2008)
Tokyo Gore Police is a revenge story about Ruka, a samurai-wielding girl on the search for vengeance after the assassination of her father. This movie is set in the future where police are no longer a government institution, and self-mutilation is all the rage. Ruka is part of a squad tasked to rid the city of evolved mutated humans called “engineers”, who can modify their injuries into weapons. The premise seems interesting to say the least.
Battle Royale (2000)
I’d been interested in this film long before all the Hunger Games similarities came out in the press. Battle Royale is about a class of 9th grade students, who, due to a new government act, are forced to battle each other for survival.
They’re sent to an island for 3 days with few weapons and little food, until only one lone survivor remains. Even though I have never seen the film it has always felt like it could be that quintessential example of gory Asian horror!
Think I’ve missed some great Asian horror on my radar? Are any of these not worth seeing? Let me know…
By Evil Queen B (@horrorevilqueen)
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