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Ringu (1998) – Episode 08 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“It’s not of this world. It’s Sadako’s fury. And she’s put a curse on us.” Nothing seemed more tantalizing than a blank VHS tape back in the 90s. What secrets could be held on it? A rerun? A sex tape? A demonic entity with a reaping time of one week? Ringu took our obsession with technology, ejected it out of the VCR and into our faces. J-Horror became a booming industry both in native Japan and the United States at the dawn of the new millennium. So naturally, Thomas Mariani had to cover this tape eventually, seven day death curse be damned!

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 08 – Ringu (1998)

Based on the novel by Kôji Suzuki, Ringu is perhaps the most iconic example of J-Horror. The young girl with hair covering her face. An elaborate mythology that roots itself deeply in Japanese folklore. Some half explained references to supernatural powers held within its main characters. All the major tropes started with Ringu and became pretty ubiquitous. Samara is obviously one of the more modern examples of a recognizable horror icon, having been the subject of many parodies and YouTube pranks in the near-twenty years since Ringu was released. The visage of her coming out of a television is one of the lasting horror images of the late 20th/early 21st century, keeping those with a love of the idiot box on their toes when their groove tube suddenly turns on without warning. But there’s more to Ringu than Samara herself, given the extensive research our intrepid leads Reiko (Nanako Matsushima) and RyÅ«ji (Hiroyuki Sanada) find to stop this curse dead in its tracks.

To help decipher all the rich Japanese folklore, Thomas has brought on another new voice Caitlin Turner. A confessed Otaku in general, Caitlin has much to say on what gives Ringu such a sting to those in the know of Japanese culture and what makes it one of her favorite horror films of all time. Thomas will certainly need that. Especially considering this is first time ever seeing it! Together, these two offer a few comparisons to the acclaimed American remake, talk about the killer curiosity of an unmarked VHS tape and postulate the potential of a future Ring installment with today’s technology. It’s a high spirited discussion that’s even a bit educational. Plus, it’s probably more entertaining than putting down any cash to see Rings in a theater.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, most gruesome fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1990s podcast hosts at thomasmariani@decadesofhorror.com or tweet Thomas @NotTheWhosTommy.

Doc Rotten
Doc Rotten is the founder of Gruesome Magazine. He is also a film critic for Gruesome Magazine and the podcast host & producer for Horror News Radio, Monster Movie Podcast, Decades of Horror: 1970s, The American Horror Story Fan Podcast and Hannibal Fan Podcast. He is also co-host of the Dracula podcast on TV TALK and is a contributing reviewer for HorrorNews.Net and Widescreen Warrior. Doc a lifelong fan of horror films, sci-fi flicks and monster movies first discovering Universal Monsters and Planet of the Apes as a young child in the 1970's searching out every issue of Famous Monster of Filmland (and, later, Fangoria). Favorite films include Jaws, The Car, The Birds, The Tingler, Vampire Circus and The Exorcist. Still a huge fan of horror films from the 70s, Doc continues consuming horror films to this day for the site, for the podcasts and for the fun of it all.
http://www.docrotten.com