Scary True Stories

"Very Good"

Scary True Stories Review


Japanese horror, called now J-horror, is inseparable from the early '00s boom in supernatural horror cinema. With blockbuster remakes like The Ring and The Grudge filling the Hollywood coffers, producers have looked far and wide for the next shot of Asian ghostliness they can remake. DVD companies, similarly, have been raiding the vaults looking for any J-horror film with a remotely frightening premise. The nets have now been flung even wider: Supernatural horror films from Korea, India, and Indonesia are (for the first time) being shown in American theatres. Always looking for the "next" wave, talent scouts are scouring the remotest regions of the world for suitably freaky films.

That's not a bad thing. Honestly. In many cases they are able to bring fantastic slices of horror cinema to the U.S. My friend Yam Laranas' brilliant Fillipino horror film (F-horror or P-horror?) The Echo has been well received in the U.S. and is poised for a big remake. Yet with every trend, good product runs out and the crud rolls in. We're subjected to slap-dash productions that weren't even popular in their home countries. They seem to sprout up like noxious mushrooms on the shelves of Tower Records and Best Buy.

Scary True Stories is finding our shores via Dark Sky Films, an imprint of MPI. And while at first I was hesitant to check it out, I was certainly glad I did. This is truly creepy stuff and it is rightfully advertised by Dark Sky as the precedent for popular films like The Grudge and The Ring series.

Scary True Stories is not a film, or even a series of films; it was a popular television series in Japan in the early '90s. Shot on video, it's not an elaborate affair. There are no CGI effects. There are no A-list actors or actresses. But that makes it all the more haunting. In a sense, Scary True Stories is the precursor to The Blair Witch Project. You don't see much, and that just generates even more tension.

It's a bit like the popular '80s show Unsolved Mysteries. Each episode of Scary True Stories is under an hour and most contain three vignettes that are supposedly based on true events of haunting. Interestingly, and I'm sure there's a perfectly Japanese reason for this, every vignette revolves around a school-aged girl.

The first episode contains several spooky tales but the first is by far the best. Titled "The Lonely Girl" it's a nice visualization of every person's fear of being left alone in a dark, quiet place. This first episode ends with "The Mystery of the Red Earring" which is both gruesome and oddly detached. The second episode, Scary True Stories II, is in much the same vein, with schoolgirls relating spooky stories about abandoned buildings, gymnasiums and old houses. By far the best of the lot, and clearly the inspiration for the deadly sweep of black hair found in The Grudge, is "The Black Hair in the Abandoned Building."

Scary True Stories is a production for the small screen and a dated one at that (gotta love the Bart Simpson "Peace Man!" sweatshirt that one Japanese fashion victim wears.) It is, as previously mentioned, shot on video and at times the image is pretty flat. However, like 28 Days Later, it lends the series a nice atmosphere that would not have been attainable on film.

Slight but quite influential, Scary True Stories is something that every self-proclaimed J-horror aficionado must see. For the rest of us it's a great way to creep out.

Aka Honto ni atta kowai hanashi, Scary True Stories - Ten Haunting Tales From the Japanese Underground.

Shout at the devil.



Scary True Stories

Facts and Figures

Run time: 50 mins

In Theaters: Friday 5th July 1991

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Naokatsu Ito,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Free State of Jones Movie Review

Free State of Jones Movie Review

Since its true story is still so timely after some 150 years, we can forgive...

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

This reunion of actor Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg feels like a natural successor...

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review

Ransom Riggs' bestselling novel is appropriately adapted into a movie by Tim Burton, the gothic...

Get Back Movie Review

Get Back Movie Review

Roger Appleton's documentary 'Get Back' looks into the music scene that come out of Liverpool....

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Advertisement
Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.