Living with Horror

March 29, 2006

I caught the Russian horror film, Night Watch. It's a remakrable look at Russian horror, obviously influenced more by the West than the East, with a host of demons, vampires and shape-shifters. It portrays the classic struggle between Good and Evil (yawn) in the form of holy and unholy armies. Meimu probably won't make a manga out of this one!

The film is worth seeing for its different take on a tired theme. The cinematography is excellent. The effects are above average and sparingly used.

March 26, 2006

I'm still here, buried in work, emtombed in lethargy. Perhaps gravity is getting stronger along with global warming. It gets harder to push the keys, study Japanese, record life in Little Tokyo.

Recently, I wrote a review of the Japanese Dark Water and posted it elsewhere ( I missed seeing Marebito which is still kicking around the country. From what I heard, it's not going to do much to raise the reputation of J-Horror in the country. DVD sales are fortunately a different story.

Amoeba Records up in Hollywood in having an Asia DVD sale and I picked up a stack of DVDs including the Japanese Ringu 0, Ringu 2, Whispering Corridors, Koma, and others. The Stuff is Out There.

July 12, 2005

I haven't written anything here for over four years as I descended into madness and despair. Now I've lost the despair but am deeper in the grip of madness. None of my dreams make sense. Anime has degenerated into childish drivel. I say incoherent things. I can't concentrate on a single subject, let alone write a coherent paragraph. Just call me the Remy de Gourmont of the 21st C. No wonder I'm an encyclopedist (???). Short entries. Shallow interpretations. Sigh.

April 14, 2001

Obsessive fandom or being an otaku, as the Japanese would have it, is a sucking wound. It absorbs all other passions. It eats away time, energy and thought. It is mindless idiocy -- in short, utter bliss.

I was once an ordinary horror fan. I read all kinds of horror, wrote articles and book reviews for the small press, attended conventions and combed bookstores for new finds. It was a satifying life, a good life. I became know as an expert in pre-1945 horror, especially British and European, not to mention more arcane aspects of horror, werewolves, snakes and gothic surrealism to name a few.

Creeping Japanalia

Then creeping Japanophilia struck. Subtly at first. I started reading Rampo and Tanizaki, watched anime and Kurosawa, and discovered manga. Gradually this took total control of my life. I started studying Japanese. I obsessed over Japan. I visited there twice and am planning a third trip this year.

Horror is still with me. I found that the Japanese have a huge supernatural horror tradition, from 1000 year-old folklore to their own series of Cthulhu Mythos tales. From deep, rich mythic roots, horror appears in modern Japanese film, comics, art and literature.

They are aware of most of the famous Western horror writers. Poe was an powerful influence over the Meiji era literature. The others followed in waves, though vampire literature arrived relatively late in the 1930's.

They know all our horror and we know so little of theirs. For example, Suzuki Koji, author of Ring novels, incredibly famous throughout Asia, is almost completely unknown in the West, except for a recent article in Fangoria.

The only real Japanese horror collection in English is is Edogawa Rampo's Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination. That exists only because the author dedicated five years of his life to translate the tales into English, working with a translator and going sentence-by-sentence through each tale.

Asian Horror

Scholarly studies of Japanese science fiction, mystery and fantasy literature have appeared in recent years. Still there is no coverage of horror. I intend to change this. This is the first English language web site primarily dedicated to Japanese horror. I'm working on a print version, tentatively titled The Asian Horror Encyclopedia. I found that Japanese horror is so deeply rooted in Chinese and Japanese horror culture that is difficult to talk about the former without introducing the latter.