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The Asian Horror Genre Film Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 1259 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Asian horror films have created its own genre because it is not only something different from the usual Hollywood horror flicks but it caters to Asians and tells something about their diverse but quite similar cultures. Asian horror films cover the suspense thriller genre and horror genre all rolled into one. There are six main subcategories of Asian horror flicks; there are Filipino horror films, Hong Kong horror films, Indian horror, J-Horror or Japanese horror, K-Horror also known as Korean horror and Thai horror films. Out of the six sub categories, three are ruling the market mainly J-Horror, K-Horror and Thai horror.

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Japanese horror films dwell on murder, youth violence and ghosts coming from the grave that haunt the ones left behind. Japan’s horror flicks gained its prominence when Hideo Nakata’s Ringu more popularly known as “The Ring” hit the cinemas. The main target of the said film was supposedly high school girls but it somehow appealed to the rest of the world.

Japanese horror usually tackles angry and vengeful ghosts with long hair that cover most if not the whole face who come along with killer videos or phone calls. J-Horror as coined by its fans is not so much different from Korean horror films.

J-Horror started in literature and print, it is even seen in old sculptures. It was scary folklore that started these films, from the story of the Kabuki play “The Ghost Story of Yotsuya” in as early as 1825 to modern Japanese manga. The belief in ghosts in this country is something not unusual because ghost stories are deeply embedded not only in the Japanese culture but in other Asian cultures as well.

With Korean horror, the appeal of the said subcategory is much more apparent than the usual Japanese scare. With K-horror, the dynamics of the Asian family and the Asian culture is intertwined with how each Korean horror movie works. One great example of K-Horror is the chilling tale of “A Tale of Two Sisters”. This film however is also an example of Gothic horror. The said film, according to researchers and experts in the field is somewhat related to the story of the evil stepmother and her two daughters only more convoluted. The Korean film as with any other Korean horror flick goes back to the fairy tale with an obsession of flowers, the idyllic home located near the lake, themes that point back to myths and gothic fairy tales.

The 2007 Thai film “Alone” is an example of Thai horror. The story of Pim is somehow related to Korea’s “Tale of Two Sisters” because Pim is haunted by her conjoined twin whom she asked to be separated from so she could have her own life and get married. Before the surgical separation however, Pim and her sister promised each other that they will not leave each other’s side but Pim changed her mind and they were separated. As expected in most horror flicks, her sister died in surgery.

The movie” Alone “deals more with the haunting and if it is true or just psychological. Thai horror has the same theme that Korean horror is most famous for -mental deterioration and guilt.

Thai horror is more similar to Korean horror than to its Japanese counterpart. Korean horror is a mix of both Thai and Japanese horror films because K-Horror usually has a chillingly cryptic way of narrating its stories while Thai horror does it with the usual heart pumping scares. In the contrary, J-Horror ghosts are shown as very real and not a figment of the characters’ imagination making the movie more raw and chilling.


Sammo Hung

Talented actor Sammo Hung is not just an actor he is also an action choreographer and a director.

Sammo Hung is a very influential pioneer in the cinema scene of Hong Kong with more than 140 movies to his credit either as an actor, action choreographer or director. He is fondly called “Big Brother” in the industry and respected not only in filmmaking but has gained the respect of many people around the world as well. Hence, his massive fan base in Hong Kong and internationally. Sammo Hung not only made things happen for himself but he has launched the career of Hollywood actress Michelle Yeoh among others.

He went to the Peking Opera School alongside famous action star Jackie Chan and learned his skills in the said school which includes his impressive martial arts and acrobatics. Like many others before him, he left the Peking Opera School and worked for the film industry as a stunt artist and like his martial arts, his climb to the top of Hong Kong’s film industry was rather fast.

A few years later, after working as a stunt coordinator for various international artists, he agreed to do a stunt with his good friend Bruce Lee in the 1973 film “Enter the Dragon” making a big splash in the cinemas.

Several years later, Bruce Lee died while making the movie “Game of Death”. With Lee’s untimely death, Golden Harvest called Sammo Hung to take care of the fight scenes that were not finished by Lee by stepping in as the fight choreographer. He made it possible for the film to be finished.

A couple of years after that, Sammo Hung decided he should direct his own movie. His directorial debut with “The Iron Fisted Monk” in 1977 was a tribute to his friend Bruce Lee. He did not dwell on serious films after that though; he instead directed his own comedy in the unforgettable “Enter the Fat Dragon”.

“Enter The Fat Dragon”, “Snake in Eagle’s Shadow” starring Jackie Chan and “Drunken Master” launched Kung Fu comedy in cinemas. The said genre has become a mainstay not only in Hong Kong cinemas but in international cinemas as well.

In the ’80s, he directed a comedy with the collaboration of former Peking Opera Schoolmates Yuen Biao and Jackie Chan. The movie “Winners and Sinners” hit a record high in the box office. The three did not stop there; they collaborated several more times and became known in the Hong Kong film industry as the golden trio.

The movie “Wheels on Meals” matched up action sensation Jackie Chan with undefeated kick boxer Benny Urquidez. Kung Fu magazines hailed the fight as the best fight on film in the 1980s. Later on, the great Sammo Hung directed “Eastern Condors” which according to Oliver Stone paved a new wave for Hong Kong cinema.

The actor-director and action choreographer caught the attention of the world of cinema once again in his film “Ashes of Time” released a few years later.

Sammo Hung never took a breather though, he went on and directed “Once Upon a Time in China” starring Jet Li -the movie was a smashing box office hit. The Jet Li film was followed by “Mr. Nice Guy” starring Jackie Chan and co-produced by New Line Cinema.

Hung became the special action director for two Jean Claude Van Damme movies namely “Knock Off” and “Double Team. Sammo Hung’s Hollywood entry however was paved by his CBS show “Martial Law”. He later ventured to be the action choreographer for “A View from the Top” starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Mike Myers.

For Hung, that was just the beginning of it all.


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