Author: Harry

Damn it Dinkleberg I'm just here to do a thing, and then some more things.....and maybe one last thing

Let’s hope for something scarier

In preparation for my final project I decided to watch the American version of The Ring for the first time since I was 15, you know, to get a feel of what I’m getting myself into. All I can say is, that was disappointing. This made me happy that I was advised to analyse the Japanese version of the film only, and not analyse the American take on the film. I just hope that the Japanese version is a whole lot scarier, or at least has a better plot than its American counterpart.

As bad as some of the Western horror movies are (yes I’m looking you Ring and Ring 2), I can certainly see the appeal of the horror genre. They have a way of keeping their audience in suspense waiting for that jump scare that inevitably makes them jump and yell “holy shit”, however, most of them are labelled with clichés as there are always certain stereotypes planted in every horror movie to come out of America. Jumping out and making excessive sequels to horror movies as also given the genre a bad name, as franchises like Friday the 13th and nightmare on Elm Street going on and on for decades getting to the point where they are almost becoming comical.

Looking across at Japanese horror movies, they have become more popular over time, which has lead to some western audiences to want darker and bloodier movies made from Japan, successes of Japanese horror movies include Ringu, the Grudge and One missed call. Japanese horror movies have drawn success in the past by using children as antagonists, as opposed to many American horror movies that use adults or late teenagers as the villains in their movies, which can work, it originally worked with movies such as scream and the first batch of Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm street movies. But Japanese horror movies go a different way as people don’t often see children as being capable of doing such horrible acts to people, even if they are possessed, which is often the case in Japanese Horror movies.

Another drawing in factor for Japanese Horror movies is the use of teenage girls as the protagonists or victims for their story. The use of teenage girls has supposedly had a drop in the need for having gory movies as opposed to American Horror, which are often gore fest slash films (Saw, Texas Chainsaw Massacre for example). Japan has found an effective way to both scare their audience and not bring their more squeamish viewers to being uncomfortable and enjoy the film at the same time. Again, the Japanese use of possessing a young person in their movies is often an effective use of scaring the crap out of their audience, mainly because it’s an unexpected turn, and people don’t often like seeing bad things happen to children or teenage girls in movies, unless it’s chucky (that little bastard still creeps me out).

Reading more into the two cultures and their horror movies I didn’t actually know that the influence on each other was as big as it is. The influence isn’t just based into horror movies, it stretches out to movie franchises such as Godzilla (Japans were better) and anime and cartoons being released in Japanese and then being dubbed at a later date into English. Good examples of the influences is the success that Dragon Ball series has had, it was immensely popular in Japan and America and still is today with Dragon Ball Super (and completely ignoring that god awful Dragon Ball GT).

For my final project I have decided on doing a podcast, they’re easier to manage than recording and editing a video then waiting for it to upload. With doing a podcast it would be easier to include sound clips of the movie and certain sounds and worry less about copyright issues. The only issue I see at the moment is that it may be hard to provide written evidence of any further research I want to do.

So far for this project, I have heard that American versions of horror movies are like most tv show or movie adaptions of books, as in they are terrible and probably should be done, and after watching the American make of The Ring, so far that statement is true, but I’m more curious to dive into Japanese Horror movies. Further research into the topic has lead me to believe that Japanese horror movies aren’t gore and stereotype filled messes that the American horror genre are (hopefully that fixes itself one day), which is also a big selling point, as I don’t have any experience with demonic possession movies (which excites me a little bit), and am interested to see if there are any Japanese horror movie stereotypes that I can find.

 

7 Days…

the-ring

Image source

This subject has given me a unique opportunity, to experience a horror movie from another culture. My previous experience with horror movies to be honest has been pretty dull, I’ve seen the American version of the ring movies, and they were pretty terrible. Every time I watch a horror I sit there and think “is this the scary part? Is this the scary part?” and feel disappointed with the end result (which is why I don’t watch horror movies when people recommend them anymore).

For my final project I’m thinking of either doing a video of me watching the Japanese version of the Ring “Ringu” and putting an analysis in the video as well, or doing a podcast of my experience and analysing the movie. The reason that I’ve chosen to watch the ring for this project is because ive heard that “it’s really scary” and it was either watching the ring or watching the Japanese version of the grudge, which I really don’t want to do.

After watching the trailer for Ringu, my interest was heavily peaked, as opposed to the American version of the movie, I found the Japanese movie trailer really creepy, which is a good sign for a good horror movie I guess, especially that they’re making new one this year. I feel like better material will appear for this project I this movie is as scary as people keep telling me that it is (one of my ideas for this project was to turn it into a drinking game and take a shot for every jump scare that scares me or makes me jump, but I won’t do that for obvious reasons). I mainly just don’t want to be disappointed by another lame horror movie, which I can crucify in the digital artifact, but I’d rather be positive in that regard.

For this video or podcast I’m thinking of looking look at:

  • My overall thought of the movie
  • Did it work plot wise?
  • Was it good in terms of being a good horror movie, what worked, what didn’t
  • Comparing it to its American counterpart, was it better worse
  • The difference in horror movie culture between the two versions of the movie
  • The difference in culture in general terms
  • Reading reviews of what other people thought of the two versions of the movie to get a grasp on what other people thought

Since I am an Australian university student, I am quite cheap when it comes to buying things, especially movies, so the way that I’m going to watch this movie will either through Netflix (if it’s there), another streaming site or using another method of acquiring it and watching it, and of course, watching it alone, in the dark…someone help me.

A down side for me is that I don’t really watch horror movies, as I said earlier most of them have all been pretty disappointing, for example I tried watching the Omen and that was disappointing, and when I watched the first Friday the 13th movie, I was more thrilled by the movie rather than scared by it (except for that boat scene at the end). However, I did grow up with an older sister who loved watching horror movies in her teenage years, so when I asked her if there are any Japanese horror movies I should watch aside from the ring and the grudge I got a response something along the lines of “nooope, nope nope im not watching those”.  Sounds like a good excuse to break out of the American Horror movie seen if I’ve ever heard one.

A main reason I want to watch a Japanese horror movie is to see how badly American movies blow things out of proportion when it comes to horror movies with the slightly racist or sexist way nearly every single movie starts, in that a black character or women is always the first character to die in the movie, and watching a horror movie from a different culture can help me shape my understanding of the horror movie genre and maybe lead me to stop avoiding horror movies if I can. I also want to see if the Japanese horror movie genre isn’t as dependent on stereotypes and over played music to entice jump scares, or if they do it in a different way entirely.

When I watch the Japanese version of The Ring, I’m thinking of live tweeting the movie or snapchatting my way through it depending on how interesting and engaging the movie turns out to be, at least for the first viewing of the movie and then watch it a second time before putting my digital artifact together just in case I missed anything I can talk about later.

Until then, I’m going to see if I can scare the shit out of myself with some American Horror movies in preparation for this project.

 

Better late than never

Aside from learning to not compare local eSports in South Korea to arguably the most popular sports team ever assembled in my other post, as it wasn’t a very close comparison, and watching State of Play most of the people in the documentary were in there late teens and early twenties struggling to try get to the top of eSports, while the dream team were already at the top of their world and were looking for something to do in their down time. Not a great start on my part.

ya dun goofed

Looking back I can definitely see the cultural differences between professional sports in America and the rise of eSports in South Korea. Funding is a big issue between the two, as the Dream team was filled up with NBA players who could afford to stay in 5 star hotels and travel on private jets and have private buses everywhere they went, as to Everyone shown in State of Play is living in share houses and sleeping on mats on the floor or sharing a room with four other people and travelling around South Korea in beat up vehicles.

After getting up and actually doing some research into this topic, it might not be very long until eSports surpasses traditional sports in terms of popularity and funding, as many eSports competitions these days a racking up prize pools that are hitting 6 figures. For example, League of Legends has only been around since 2009 and is already one of the biggest games in the eSports scene, even if eSports doesn’t have the massive TV station contracts that sports like the NFL and NBA do, I’m left wondering how long it will be until they do?

Before watching State of Play, I was unaware and to be honest didn’t really care all too much about eSports until I saw something about it that wasn’t DOTA 2 or League of Legends, as both games were enough to turn me off the topic. But after seeing something new made me want to look into it more as the whole premise of the players are treated almost like American professional athletes are, as they are drafted by different camps and then play for them, and seeing the similarities that in both eSports and regular sport, it takes hours of training to get to the top, and if they don’t work on it they will start slipping.

Researching eSports has kind of killed my assumption that eSports aren’t overly necessary, as thy have become more and more popular and are going to continue rising to the point where tournaments that were shown in State of Play might actually turn into an international thing (if it hasn’t already, I haven’t found anything on it), and that the world of eSports is a lot bigger than I first ever bothered giving credit for before actually looking into to it.

eSports and actual sports

ESports are quickly becoming more popular with the rise of competitive games like Star Craft 2 DOTA 2 and League of Legends, to the point where becoming a professional gamer in a country such as South Korea is a viable career option for players who are good enough to win at a competitive level.

ESports players are now becoming revered around the world, and probably won’t be long until they are revered globally at the same level as sports stars, however, there’s still a big difference between the two.

In the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, there was a big shake up of how basketball was going to be played in the Olympics, mainly because in 1992, a vote was passed that allowed NBA players to play for the United States Olympic basketball team, and there is no bigger name in basketball than Michael Jordan, who was the main star of this team.

The dream team

The team was named the “Dream Team”, as it was filled with 11 of the best NBA players at the time and 1 college player, and the team was so popular when they arrived in Barcelona that they needed a police escort from the moment they stepped of the plane. Throughout the Olympics that year, basketball obviously became the main attraction of the games as all of their games were sold out, and crowds of people would wait outside the stadium and even outside their hotel room just to get a glimpse of the dream team.

After last week’s documentary on eSports “State of Play”, I got my first experience seeing everything else in the world of eSports that isn’t on stage, as I haven’t seen how they live their lives off stage and how they interact with their fans (I didn’t know individual players had fans), and how much emotion goes into the games they play, and autoethnography helps understand the cultural differences and the surprising similarities between professional sports and professional eSports. It was a nice thing to see that being a professional gamer in South Korea isn’t shunned or something to be embarrassed about, but something that is celebrated by thousands.

After watching documentaries on eSports and sports (State of Play and The Dream Team), I got to see that eSports have a much larger fan base than I probably ever thought they would, and that it is a viable career option, and the popularity of eSports in general. Also doing this blog I found it really unfair to try and compare eSports to the 1992 Dream Team, as both are popular, but the Dream Teams popularity leaves eSports in the dust, yes, both have great fan bases, but the Dream Team proved that they were incredibly popular in every country they played in (America, Monaco and Spain), and Michael Jordan had a 35 foot poster on the side of a building in Barcelona. The Dream Team was so popular that they had opposing team players asking for autographs and taking photos of the American team while they were on the bench.

As a basketball fan and a gamer, it was a lot of fun getting to learn about eSports in Asian cultures and getting to sit down and watch a couple of hours of basketball documentaries and highlights from the 1992 Olympics (especially during Olympic season).