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Check Out JU-ON: THE CURSE in Our J-Horror Series

Check Out JU-ON: THE CURSE in Our J-Horror Series

In the late ’90s and early 2000s, nobody was making horror like Japan. From Audition to Ringu, J-Horror of the age was some of the most visceral and disturbing in the genre, often getting by totally on tone, mood, atmosphere, and creepy-ass visuals, rather than overwrought effects and monsters. Even the most low budget and humble of the bunch could blow up and become enormous franchises, many even crossing over to North America for remakes and the like. No franchise is perhaps as successful, both in Japan and abroad, than the Ju-On series. Most people know The Grudge, but not everybody knows its predecessor, Ju-On: The Curse.

Direct-to-video movies have a pretty bad stigma here in the U.S., but in Japan, V-Cinema (the live-action counterpart to Original Video Animation) was a major medium as a launching ground for a number of now-respected directors. Takashi Shimizu was one such director who became a big name in horror, all beginning with the 2000 video-only movie Ju-On: The Curse and its sequel later that same year. As the beginning of that particular saga, The Curse shows us the murder of Toshio and Kayako and sets up that the people who go to that house fall victim to the curse borne of the hatred of that event.

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What makes this movie–only 70 minutes long–stand out, aside from its intensely unsettling visuals, is the way in which the story is told–through six segments, each focusing on a different character, relayed totally out of order. The murders of wife and mother Kayako (who becomes the main antagonist of the Ju-On series), her son Toshio, and the black cat Mar lead to terrifying occurrences to anybody who happens by the house. Kayako, and especially the distinctive and nightmare-causing clicking noise she makes with her wide open mouth, has rightfully become a horror icon in Japan, and this film shows us her sad and troubling beginning.

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If watching this movie sounds fun, you’re in luck! Ju-On: The Curse will be live streaming on Project Alpha on Saturday, March 4, at 7:30pm PST, with The Curse 2 being streamed the following week, on March 11. And to sweeten the pot even more, both will feature live commentary by Adam Green and Joe Lynch, directors of great cinema themselves and the cohosts of The Movie Crypt podcast, along with yours truly. If you can’t watch live, no worries! It’ll be archived the following day on Project Alpha. These will be the beginning of a series of J-horror flicks, so get ready for scares.

Have you seen The Curse? What do you think of the other Ju-On films? Let us know in the comments below!

Images: Toei Video


Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist and the host of the horror documentary series One Good Scare. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Twitter!


Let’s keep the scares rolling!

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