Throwback Thursday|Asian Horror Films & The Hollywood Remakes [Spoop Fest]

Throwback Thursday|Asian Horror Films & The Hollywood Remakes [Spoop Fest]

Hi BAYOG Fam! Again, sorry for the lack of Spoop Fest posts this year. I’m still trying to squeeze in what I can though… Anyway, I thought we would do a little TBT post today! Since we’re talking about spoops, why not talk about some iconic Asian horror movies and their Hollywood remakes. Personally, I prefer originals over remakes. I previously talked about my opinion on remakes over [here].

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Anyway, Asian horror films. Some of them were so iconic that the franchises are going on today. Many of these also still appear in pop culture. Asian horror films, particularly Japanese horror films, were pretty popular around the late 90’s and early/mid 2000s. They even gained international fans and interest. It was to the point that Hollywood started getting on a trend of making Hollywood adaptations of these classics. For one, these kinds of stories were different from your typical Hollywood horror movies. I feel like Hollywood horror movies are more about murderers and psychos. There are some horror flicks on folklore, monsters, and spoops. However, I feel Hollywood horror films of that time were more about real people kind of terror.

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Asian horror films were different in that they focused on the supernatural and cultural beliefs. I think it was this difference in beliefs and culture, that made Asian horror films interesting. Instead of some psycho killer with a knife or a monster like a werewolf, you’re dealing with different kinds of spirits and folklore. The types of spirits, folklore, and story was pretty different to what western audiences may have been used to. I think it’s this fear of the unknown and unfamiliar that made Asian horror movies interesting and scary to western audiences. Anyway, for a while Hollywood took notice. They became interested and thought, “What a brilliant idea!” And then they decided to do their own adaptations of these films. Were they good? Some of them were pretty successful. However, for the most part, they kind of bombed and paled in comparison to the originals. Still, we’re going to talk about some of these well known Asian horror films as well as their Hollywood remakes.

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Before I go on, I should note that some of these films are hellaaaaaaaa old. Some of them actually don’t seem that spoopy to today’s standards. Some of them actually seem kind of funny for today’s standards. I legit laughed at one of them when I rewatched it recently. Still, they are pretty well known and popular films that did make an impact. Considering the times and technology, they were pretty damn good and spoopy at the time. We have some of them continuing their franchise even after nearly 15-20 years too. I’ve seen most of these, but there are a couple I haven’t watched. The ones I did watch, I watched a hella long time ago too. Anyway, onto our spoopy memory lane we go!


呪怨/Ju-On|Ju-On: The Grudge|2001
Japan

Synopsis

Ju-On is a grudge or curse born through extreme rage or sorrow. In Tokyo, there lies a small and seemingly quiet house. However, there was a famous case where a man killed his wife, child, cat, and then himself there. As time went on, a new family moved into the home. What they don’t realize is that the house has become cursed. Now whoever enters the house and those they’ve come into contact with are affected by the grudge. They are cursed to death by the spirits of the family that died in that house.

Yeah, we just went over this with the [Ju-On: Origins] post. This is definitely one of the most well known films in the list. 20 years later, it’s still iconic as hell. Again it started with two short films in 1998, and it just grew into a well known franchise. The main films about Kayako and Toshio started in 2001. It had a couple sequels and spin-offs. Hell, there’s even a movie where it’s Kayako vs. Sadako from Ringu. Of course, you already know the Ju-On: Origins serialization. However, that one is basically separate from the Kayako and Toshio story timeline. Still, it follows the same premise of a cursed house and how it affects those who enter it or come into contact with those who’ve entered it.

The Grudge|2004
Remake

This remake starred Sarah Michelle Gellar from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. This version had an American family who moved to a house in Tokyo and are trying to make a new life for themselves. Sarah plays an American care worker sent to care for the couple’s elderly mother. Unfortunately, house is cursed and they become victims of the grudge. I’d like to say it’s another one of the most well known remakes. Did I personally find it good? Nah. However, it did make enough impact to be pretty well known and get some sequels as well.

The Grudge|2020
Remake/Reboot/Sidequel

I was caught off guard to find out there was going to be a remake/reboot of The Grudge in 2020. It had John Cho starring in it, so I was like, “Oh. Cool.” However, I learned that this is apparently a sidequel to the 2004 Hollywood remake. Anyway, this version apparently brings the curse to a house in the US. I haven’t watched it, but I heard it wasn’t that great. Although they did apparently do a few nods to the original.


リング/Ringu| Ring |1998
Japan

The OG Japanese trailer seems hilarious cuz of the BGM LOLOL

Synopsis

A news reporter named Reiko finds out that her niece and her niece’s friends were found dead after watching a videotape with disturbing images. There’s an urban legend going around that anyone who watches the disturbing videotape will promptly receive a phone call. The phone call tells them that they have seven days, and it seems those who watch the cursed images are doomed to die within 7 days. Reiko decides to investigate and watches the tape with her ex-husband and soon receive the eerie call. Time starts ticking as they try to get to the bottom of the curse and how to break it.

This one is probably the OG when it comes to J-Horror fame. It’s one of the first titles people think of when they think of J-Horror or Asian horror movies. I like to think it’s what started this whole Asian horror remake craze in the west too. Admittedly, I have never actually watched Ringu. However, I do know it was incredibly popular. Like Ju-On, it’s franchise is still going on today. It’s had several sequels and spin-offs itself. They even have a manga series. Although, I’m sure the younger generation kids are going to be confused and all, “WTF is a videotape?” Before the age of streaming, and before DVDs, we had videotapes.

貞子/Sadako|Sadako |2019
Japan/Sequel

I honestly didn’t even know they were still adding to the Ringu franchise. I literally just stumbled on this trailer now as I was looking up trailers for this post y’all. Anyway, this movie on Sadako from Ringu came out last year.

The Ring|2002
Remake

Again, I didn’t watch this one. However, it is definitely the most famous J-Horror remake. I also believe it was the beginning of this trend of Hollywood remaking Asian horror movies. I think this one was actually pretty successful too. Maybe the most successful one on the list? Anyway, the story is pretty much the same with the female protagonist being a reporter who is investigating this urban legend. I think there were just a few minor changes, like the male protagonist being her ex-boyfriend instead of ex-husband. Again, I think it paved the way for remakes of Asian horror films. This was another one that had a sequel too.

Rings|2017
Remake/Reboot

Again, I had no freakin’ clue that there was another reboot/sequel (?) of the Ring franchise. 15 years later. Wow.


着信アリ/Chakushin Ari|One Missed Call|2003
Japan

Synopsis

There are cases where people have been getting a strange missed call from themselves with an unfamiliar and eerie ringtone. The most disturbing part, however, is the audio message left is the sound of the receiver’s moment of death. Soon enough, they meet their demise just like the audio message. These calls murders seem to be caused by a vengeful spirit. They all somehow also seem tied to a psychology student named Yumi.

This is another one of the earlier and pretty well known J-Horror franchises. It had several sequels, and a Japanese drama series. I actually remember watching the Chakushin Ari drama. It was definitely one of the more graphic and violent kind of dramas I had watched at the time. Anyway, it’s basically like your typical J-Horror with vengeful spirit meets Final Destination. The [ringtone] still creeps me out. The drama has a [different ringtone] that’s still pretty eerie. However, I think the OG one is the eeriest.

One Missed Call|2008
Remake

I remember actually watching this, but I honestly don’t remember too much of it. I think I do remember going “PFFFT” a few times though. Apparently despite being a remake of One Missed Call, the 2008 remake got alot of criticism for being a mix of The Ring, The Grudge, Dark Water, and Pulse meets Final Destination and Scream. The ringtone for the remake is different from the Japanese versions. It’s still eerie, but I think the Japanese one is still creepier.


ชัตเตอร์ กดติดวิญญาณ|Shutter|2004
Thailand

Synopsis

Photographer Tun and his girlfriend Jane attend his friend’s wedding. Everything seems to be all happy and fun until the drive home. While driving, Jane seems to have hit a woman by accident. It seems like a bad impact and the woman isn’t moving. Jane is in shock and unsure what to do. As she’s about to finally get out and check on the woman, Tun orders her to immediately drive away. They high tail out of the area, and the woman’s condition is unknown. That’s when their problems begin. Jane’s conscience takes a toll on her. She has nightmares, and starts to worry about the woman’s condition. Tun starts capturing weird shadows and images in his photographs. Both start to have very bizarre and frightening experiences as the woman seems to be haunting them. They try to investigate the woman and her whereabouts. However, things take a turn as the mystery starts to unravel and their lives may be in danger.

Ah, a film by my people. The original Thai title translates to “Shutter: Click to Capture Spirits”. This is probably the most famous Thai horror movie. The scenes and plot twist are still iconic to this day. I actually did a previous Spoop Fest post on this like last year, [here]. It was seen as a pretty spoopy film at the time. It was also well praised because of the plot twists. However, I personally found it more funny than spoopy. Still, I didn’t hate it.

Shutter|2008
Remake

Okay, I tried to watch this remake once. I didn’t finish it though. I’ll admit I disliked it before I even started it. It just rubbed me the wrong way that they decided to basically be like “All Asian horror is Japanese”. They literally took a Thai horror movie and made it another “It’s a Japanese ghost!” I get Thailand may not have been as well known as Japan. But you gotta admit, they just made it very basic by doing that. Keeping ties to the Thai culture instead would have made it stand out more. However, they could have honestly just stuck to a purely western setting with western characters. It actually would have still made perfect sense. But instead, they forced the setting to be in Japan with a Japanese ghost… It just felt like they lumped all Asians together. So yeah, as a Thai person, I was already like MEH!


장화, 홍련|A Tale of Two Sisters|2003
South Korea

Synopsis

Sumi had been in a mental hospital. However, she’s now finally able to be reunited with Suyeon, her beloved sister, and return to their country home. Their father was a widower and has now remarried. This has left the girls feeling quite resentful towards their new stepmother, who had been their terminally ill mother’s nurse. The girls try to resume living their normal lives, but strange things have been happening around the house. As these strange things occur, revelations come to light.

The Korean title is Janghwa, Hongryeon. The translation is Red Rose, Red Lily. This movie is very loosely based on an old Joseon-era folktale called 장화홍련전, or the story of Janghwa and Hongryeon. In the OG folktale, there were two beautiful sisters. Unfortunately their mother passed away. Their father remarried, but their stepmother hated and mistreated the two sisters. She was greedy and wanted all the money and power in the household. She concocted a plan with the sisters’ eldest half-brother. They planted a bloody dead rat to accuse her of having a miscarriage and being unchaste. The father fell for the lie and Janghwa, unsure of what to do, ran to the pond. Her oldest half-brother was ordered by the stepmother to follow Janghwa and push her into the pond. As she drowned to her death, a giant tiger attacked her brother, taking an arm and a leg (karma biiitch). However, everyone believed that Janghwa had committed suicide out of shame. The stepmother got what she wanted, but at the cost of her own son’s health. So she took it out on Hongryeon. Unable to deal with the abuse and her sister’s death, Hongryeon drowned herself in the very same lake. Each new mayor that came would die the day after he arrived. Soon a young new mayor arrived. He was met with the ghosts of Janghwa and Hongryeon. They explained that they just wanted everyone to know the truth. They asked him to help prove it by finding and splitting the supposed fetus. Thus he revealed that it was actually a rat and a part of the stepmother’s wicked plan with the eldest son. Years later, the father remarried a third time. This time being visited by the spirits of his two dead daughters. Since everything was settled, they wanted to return to him. Later, the third wife gave birth to twin girls. They were named Janghwa and Hongryeon, loved very much by their father, and were a happy family.

Yeah, except this movie version spoopy. I did watch this one because of Moon Geun Young. The movie version is set in a contemporary setting rather than the Joseon era. In this version, the stepmother was the nurse who had been in charge of caring for the ill mother. The two sisters are named Sumi and Suyeon. It’s kind of creepy, but more like a thriller (if I remember correctly). There are plot twists too. I admit I was kind of confused when I first watched it since I was pretty young and also new to Korean movies and whatnot. However, I thought it was a pretty good movie still.

The Uninvited|2009
Remake

The remake starred Emily Browning from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. This is another one that I tried to watch, but never finished. I just have a hella short attention span… However, I remember this one receiving pretty mixed reviews. They did change a couple things as well. Some of them were pretty big changes from the original too. I can’t really talk about it though, since it would spoil the remake and original one.


거울 속으로|Into the Mirror |2003
South Korea

Synopsis

A former police detective starts working security in a department store. The department store is currently being rebuilt as part of it was burned in a fire years ago. Although the re-opening is scheduled in a few days, strange and grisly deaths start to occur in the building. The victims had all been employees who seemed to have committed suicide in some bizarre and disturbing ways. The former police detective is suspicious of the police investigation and begins his own. Unfortunately, it won’t be easy since the officer in charge of the investigation still blames him for a past incident. As they uncover more clues, they realize these murders are linked to mirrors and perhaps there’s something more sinister behind these incidents.

I think this one might be the least well known one out of the list. Honestly, I can’t really say anything because I didn’t watch this one at all. I’m honestly not familiar with it. However, I think it’s an interesting concept. After all, there are beliefs that mirrors are gateways for spirits or can even trap them.

Mirrors|2008
Remake

Again, didn’t watch this one. Apparently it was originally going to be a straightforward remake. However, they decided to make a more original story that still used the basic idea of the mirrors, as well as a couple scenes form the original. Apparently critics had some things to say about the remake though. Still, it managed to get a direct to DVD sequel.


回路/Kairo|Pulse|2001

Synopsis

A college student commits suicide, and several people in Tokyo witness disturbing visions through the internet. More people start to disappear, and the internet seems to have more and more malevolent spirits. Three seemingly unconnected people each decide to investigate the mystery of the ghostly hauntings and apparitions on their computer screens.

Yeah, this is another one of the older classic J-Horror films. Also, I didn’t watch this one either. So I don’t got anything to say about it.

Pulse|2006
Remake

The remake starred Kristen Bell. I knew and liked her from Veronica Mars, but everyone now knows and likes her from Frozen. Again, didn’t watch this one. Thought about it cuz I did like Kristen Bell. However, I just wasn’t that interested at the time. Plus back then, I honestly wasn’t that into spoopy movies. Younger Minty did not like spoops.


仄暗い水の底から|Dark Water|2002
Japan

Synopsis

A newly single mom is struggling with a bitter divorce and battle to keep custody of her daughter. Looking for a fresh start, she moves into a new apartment. However, strange things start to occur as they see dark water and visions of a little girl’s spirit.

I think this was another pretty well known one. However, I didn’t watch this one either y’all. Although I have heard what it’s about…cuz Minty don’t care about spoilers… It reminded me of a segment from a Thai horror omnibus movie called ตายโหง/Taai Hong (“Violent Death”), aka Still. The movie and stories were based on true stories, or rather actual news headlines. Random fact: my stepdad’s friend was the owner of the actual nightclub that the nightclub story was about… I found out while I was watching it… Anyway, there’s a story that is somewhat similar to Dark Water.

Dark Water|2005
Remake

Yeah, totally didn’t watch it. All I know is that this is one of the somewhat known remakes. However, I don’t think it reached the same amount of attention and fame as The Grudge or The Ring.

見鬼|The Eye |2002
Hong Kong/Singapore/Thailand

Synopsis

A blind Hong Kong violist undergoes a cornea transplant. Having been blind since the age of 2, she rejoices as she’s now finally able to see again. However, that joy is short lived as she starts experiencing ghostly visions. She turns to a psychologist in hopes of finding out why she’s experiencing this. He deduces that it must have to do with the cornea transplant. The two then travel to the hometown of the cornea donor. However, the symptoms appear to worsen as they get closer to the truth.

Oh~ This another big name in Asian horror films. The film is a Hong Kong-Singaporean co-production. However, I also threw in Thailand since part of it was shot in Thailand, it has a Thai actress, Thai cinematographer, and the music score was also from a Thai team. So it’s interesting because this movie was a big collab from people in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand. I do remember watching this one. Although, it’s been so long so it’s kind of foggy for me. I do remember it being interesting though. It did well enough to also score two sequels, The Eye 2 and The Eye 10.

The Eye|2008
Remake

The remake starred Jessica Alba. I tried to watch it, but I could not pay attention to it. I just wasn’t interested. I came to find out that the remake did not do well. Apparently it received some rather negative reviews and seen as inferior to the original.


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Anyway, those are some well known Asian horror movies and their Hollywood remakes. By the way, I hate myself for doing this at 3 am. Too many creepy and loud noises and visuals before I go to bed… It probably also doesn’t help that I’ve been playing alot of Phasmaphobia with the BAYOG Bros and our friends. Why do I do this to myself every year? I don’t know. I just know that I never learn…l…ol I still hear Kayako’s death rattle in my ears…ugh… Anyway, have you guys ever heard or seen any of these? What was your favorite Asian horror film? Were you aware that the remakes were remakes? Did you like any of the remakes? Let me know in the comments, my SNS accounts, or Discord! Stay safe, take care, have a wonderful day, and enjoy your spoopy season~


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Hihi! I’m Minty! I’m Thai-American~ เป็นคนไทยค่ะ~ ยินดีที่ได้รู้จักนะคะ~
I’m BAYOG’s hella basic Asian chick, Real People Stuffs expert, and boba addict. I’ve been a part of the BAYOG Crew since 2017~ I fangirl and mostly blog about music, live action movies/dramas, manga/webtoons, and occasionally webnovels~ When I’m not blogging, I’m usually writing/singing Thai-English covers~

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BE SAFE. BE RESPONSIBLE.
WASH YOUR HANDS. WEAR A MASK.
SOCIAL DISTANCE. PLEASE.

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Take care y’all. Please stay safe and take care of yourself. All jokes and fun aside…please, please, please, pleaaaase always wash your hands, practice social distancing, and wear a mask! It’s better to be cautious than face irrevocable consequences of health complications or death.


BLACK LIVES MATTER

AS A GROUP OF BIPOC, BAYOG strongly stands with Black Lives Matter. We are all too familiar with the racism that we, our friends, and family have faced on a daily basis. Every life is precious. However, as BIPOC, we also recognize that black people are a group of people that face extreme racism and at a higher risk for their safety. We’ve individually done several donations. Of course, donations to support the cause and support change isn’t the only thing needed. Support for the cause and change also requires conversation and understanding. Make sure to have those conversations. Please remember to be an active supporter, be it through donations, sharing information, and/or conversations and speaking up.

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Keep it up fam!

If you can, please consider donating. I’ve donated more than once as well. For one of my donations, I donated through the BTS ARMY x BLM project. I recommend that if you’re unsure of where to donate. This is because the donation will be split amongst several different non-profit organizations. Of course, you can also choose a specific organization(s) if you wish as well. You can find that [HERE].

You can also check out the following:

Stay strong. Fight racism, brutality, injustice, and bullshit. Don’t lose sight of the goal. We’re witnessing and being a part of history. Be allies and make sure change happens. Once again, BLACK LIVES MATTER.

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SAY “NO! NOT TODAY!” TO RACISM Y’ALL

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