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J-Horror for a January Day: Faves List

AloneJu-On Art

I’ve long been a fan of Asian horror films—not only the originals, but in certain cases, the American remakes too, if they do well with adapting for our culture yet preserve the story without going all too-much-cheesy-gore-and-CGI (part of what makes the Asian variety so scary is that you see very little, and what you do see is sparingly rendered and/or subtle).

Still, one of the best wins in a film is usually the atmosphere—it’s cold, stark, and unforgiving, and for some reason, lights are always flickering. I always used to think it was an affected set piece—come on, lights don’t really do that unless there are ghosts around, right?—until I went into a bathroom at a local office building. Read the rest of this entry

GhoStory Guru: “The Hold” by Koji Suzuki

From Koji Suzuki—the man who brought you Ring, Spiral, and Loop—comes Dark Water, a collection of ghost stories in which the title element plays a major role.[1]

The finest in this collection is “The Hold,” a tale of a Conger Eel fisherman searching for his wife. Part mystery, part Poe-esque study, clues foreshadowing the piece’s end are skillfully wrought through the text: “Since the rubber flaps prevented the conger eels from escaping, they would squirm around in the dark slippery tube. Hiroyuki was definitely not one for metaphors, but he thought the slippery squirming interior of the tube and the struggling eel resembled nothing so much as sexual intercourse.”[2] Want to know what that has to do with anything? In “The Hold” it’s about what writhes in wait beneath the surface—and there’s a new, chilling discovery each time you plunge into a new page.

You can find “The Hold” in Suzuki’s 2004 Dark Water. To purchase the 2006 paperback release, visit here:

[1] For those of you who are wondering, the American film Dark Water is based on the book’s first story, entitled “Floating Water.”

[2] Koji Suzuki, “The Hold,” in Dark Water (New York: Vertical, Inc.), 113. Please note this collection was originally published in Japan as Honogurai mizu no soko kara by Kadokawa Shoten, Tokyo, 1996.

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