Friday, February 20, 2009

The 10 Best Asian Horror Movies of All Time!

Or, actually, my ten favorites, but it seems much more controversial to proclaim them the ten best of all time. And this way encourages people to call me an idiot in the comments.

Non-linear narratives. Nightmarish visuals. Continuity errors out the wazoo. Alternating between a prudish approach to sex and gore and a no-holds-barred style. These are the things which leap to my mind when I think about Asian horror movies. I was a little late to the party, but once I discovered them, I began to watch a lot of the Asian output of terror flicks. My consumption has slowed of late – there’s only so many times you can watched a ghostly pale child with dark hair crawl down the wall – but I discovered some real gems. The usual caveats apply: These are my opinions, there are movies I’ve completely missed so they got left off, you may feel differently, etc.

1. R-Point – This ghost story about a Korean army unit investigating an SOS from another unit long since disappeared is truly creepy, with an unnerving ending.

2. A Tale of Two Sisters – This re-telling of a traditional Korean folk tale is not for the impatient or those with short attention spans. Only near the end, when (and if) you catch on to the central twist of the movie will any of the scenes prior make sense, but for those who stick it out to the end, it is worth the trip.

3. Kansen (Infection) – A nearly deserted hospital suffers an outbreak of a virus that causes the afflicted to undergo horrible changes. Or does it? It features three consecutive endings, who is to say which is real?

4. Audition – Miike Takashi’s masterpiece of violent obsession shifts gears twice. It starts out a drama, becomes almost a romantic comedy, and then turns into grisly horror in the third act. Owing a lot to Misery, this movie makes Annie Wilkes seem like a creampuff.

5. Ringu – Re-made as The Ring, at times it doesn’t make much sense, but a very effective fright flick.

6. Koma – Closer to a mystery than horror, this is a very well acted story of organ theft.

7. Ju-On – Remade as The Grudge, its influence has been blunted by an army of re-makes, sequels, and imitators.

8. The Eye – I liked this Pang Brothers’ movie a lot better before it was remade 100 times.

9. Eko Eko Azaraku – The Japanese version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer spawned two sequels and a television series. The original is a dark story which uses Christianity as myth in the same way western countries use Eastern religions.

10. The Host- I’m not as big on this Korean monsterfest as some. Many of the characters are too annoying to believe. But it is always nice to see an Asian monster that doesn’t want to stomp on Tokyo.

Narrowly missed the cut: Dark Water, One Missed Call. Let me know if you have any suggestions/corrections/insults.
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17 comments:

PSGifford said...

A solid list!

KentAllard said...

Thanks!

The Doctor said...

Call me a noob, but I've actually watched more remakes than I have originals. All I've watched on that list is The Host and the original Ringu (and all prequels/sequels). It looks like I've got some homework to do.

I loved The Host, though it's more gonzo and fun than horrific. Yeah, perhaps the characters were annoying, but they were mainly played for comedic value and personally I found them less annoying than your average Hollywood remake actor. ;)

The Doctor said...

Also, someone needs to do a list of Asian horror remakes, match them up with the originals, and a very short critique on how they stack up. All in the one article.
Does this exist somewhere?

KentAllard said...

I'm probably an outlier on The Host, most everyone likes it better than I. The other side of the coin is Infection, which I like more than most.

I don't think a comparison of the originals to the remakes exists. It would be interesting, but since most people's knee-jerk reaction is "remakes suck", might be hard.

My personal feeling is that different cultures have different approaches to story-telling, and sometimes it can be helpful to remake a foreign film for domestic eyes. That opinion is heresy to some people.

I'll be interested to see how they remake A Tale of Two Sisters as The Uninvited. My guess is they jettisoned most of the original plot. Not the most accessible of movies.

Cire E said...

Hey I saw The Host, and was really disappointed. I didn't think it was scary at all. It was just annoying and looked like it was a tv movie for the SciFi Channel.

Anonymous said...

Enough with this crap...

It sucks to surf the net looking for that one jap. film (that's not the goddamn ring or grudge) and come across yet ANOTHER "top ten" asian horror movie list with the same ten titles as every single one of the other 934,254,923 lists of the same name.

Audition sucked and the Grudge was the one u.s. remake actually better than the original. But maybe that's why they continually appear on these amateur top lists.

And why? cuz those are the only films you've ever seen. A few 5-minute clips on youtube and suddenly you gotta let everyone in on these awesome horrors that are beyond old news. Kinda akin to those naruto dickheads that see a few undubbed eps. and now suddenly they're damn japanese linguistic experts.

What sucks the most is that there are about a thousand sites you can see an amount of asian horror the likes of which your list is a fraction of. Yet for some reason you all put down the same limited titles. It's almost painful to think this is a horror buff's best. Maybe just mention the south. We already know you're dead.

KentAllard said...

To anonymous (cool name):

You sucked what?

Thanks for your helpful alternate selections. I'll be sure to check them out. BTW, in some circles, it may be considered rude to say "Jap", O Expert of the Orient.

anonymous said...

hey anonymous #1! I agree with you 100%....No wait...I'm actually lying. You're a fucking douche bag! Oh and if it bothers you so much surfing the web for the "best Asian horror movie", why the fuck are you searching for it in the 1st place...

As for your little comment "It sucks to surf the net looking for that one jap. film" In case you haven't noticed, it sucks coming across idiot morons who don't even know what they're looking for, and being smart ass cocksuckers, acting as though they have all the answers...what we need in this world is less elitist schmucks and more "open minded" people who value others opinions. It's quite apparent you don't fall into that category.

I'm also assuming that by your worldly examples of all the Japanese horror flicks and remakes you've mentioned & seen surpasses everyone's knowledge of the Asian horror genre...(Notice I referred to it as Asian and not Jap?)

Shut the hell up & go crawl back to what ever hole you came from cause it just shows that only pieces of shits can only spew more shit.

Peace & Happiness
Anonymous #2 =^.^=

shun goku satsu said...

this is my first comment ever. i just felt obligated to respond. first off ,i aggre totally whit ann, #1 (my first reaction was thank god , fiinaly !!! ) finally someone that said it ! its thru that almostall list have ringu and ju on. (most popular or known i guest) aldo pioneer movies , many have copie them, but some have surpass them, (and yes the grudge was that one that was better over sea) i also seek top list to find those good movies i might have over look or dont know about, but almost always come across those list whit those same 5 movies! the same 5 first movies i bought and watch as a newbe to asian cinema! who dint start whit ringu juon or audition or perhaps dark water !? yet no one sems to have pass that stadge or seen anything else, in my opinion j-horror was a first generation, now korean does it similar but whit a better story and more development. also think thailand is booming on the scene! yet nobody sems to mention it (aside from shutter and the host) i dont even recall any thai movies making al list !? yet coming soon and the victim are the best i have seen in months and there from thailand ! im a huge fan of the gendra just wish i could see more of the newer films make the list or even those less popular or commonly seen. im not closed minded or taking sides, but i do understand anonymous # 1 feeling and frustration, if i see another list whit ju-on on the top5 im gonna screams!!! lol, so for my contribution here are some worthy titles : the locker. the cut. r-point. one miss call final. death bell. forbidden sirens. cello. urban ledgend story hikiko (anime), the eye 1&2 , rattle rattle (short). oldboy, (not horror, but still awsome), carved (aka a slit mouthed woman) humm... thats pretty mutch what comes to my mind at the moment. welll hope my first comment ever online manadge to help somebody ! (oh by the way im frentch, so excuse all my miss spell) lol . *** pretty mutch all those movies can be watch online 4 free at : asian horror movie .com *** enjoy !

KentAllard said...

Thanks for the suggestions, shun goku satsu. My knowledge of Asian horror is limited, and I welcome the opportunity to improve. I agree that Oldboy is an awesome movie. Ultimately, I decided it wasn't horror, so it didn't make my list, but it could go either way. I don't think I've watched any Thai horror, but I hope to fix that one day soon.

Fred Trigger said...

Audition is definately one of the most fucked up movies I've seen. I remember I had a friend recommend it to me saying "Dude, you have to see this movie, its seriously messed up.", so I went and bought it. For the first, like, hour and a half I was like "what the hell is this? Its like a freaking romance movie." and then came the scene with the dude in the bag and the woman puking in a bowl and feeding it to him. My word, that last 20 minutes or so were INSANE. "Old Boy" and "Ichii the Killer" are equally excellent asian movies, too. Although, equally as messed up.

Fred Trigger said...

Man, I need to stop being so late to the party.

KentAllard said...

Fashionably late.

Suro said...

left out cello

KentAllard said...

Haven't seen that one, but I have heard of it, and it sounds good. I'll have to check it out.

sisley said...

Watch asian horror videos on http://www.viddic.com/details/677/AsianHorrorMovies/