Prior To RING ; The History Of SHINREI-mono

by Hamasaki Hiroaki


After RING series was good box office, many horror movies released in Japan. They almost come under the head of SHINREI-mono.
SHINREI means the spiritual phenomenon, and most of SHINREI-mono is based on the true stories.
Though there are such movies in Hollywood,for example, THE AMITYVILLE HORROR or THE EXOCIST, the taste of SHINREI-mono is different from them. Most film makers of SHINREI-mono avoid to use clear and intelligible expressions. The obscure things is left as it is, and the mysteries never be solved. Perhaps its style is like Mr. Val Lewton's CAT PEOPLE or I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE. Mr. Lewton pointed out that some suggestive horror expression on ordinary sequence is so effective for horror movies. In other words, it is to trust the imagination of spectators. After Mr. Lewton ceased making horror films, Hollywood decreased to make such suggestive horror film, until THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT won success.

30 years old before, there was a TV show called Anata no shiranai sekai (trans. The World You Didn't Know). It is drama based on the true spiritual story which the viewers write for this program. I think it was the beginning of SHINREI-mono. It is said that Mr. Nakagawa Nobuo, a director of YOTSUYA GHOST STORY (1959), directed some episodes.

In 1991, Honto ni atta kowai hanashi was released as the movie for video. It is made in co-operation with the magazine which the reader's spiritual experiences, of course, the video movie is based them as same as "Anata no shiranai sekai". This movie was well recieved and two continuations, Honto ni atta kowai hanashi: Dai 2 ya and Shin Honto ni atta kowai hanashi: Yuugenkai, were released. This movie's director Mr. Tsuruta Norio and a writer Mr. Konaka Chiaki take the lead of present Japanese Horror boom. Mr. Takahashi Hiroshi, a writer of RING, admits honestly that some image in RING was referenced to this series or Mr. Tsuruta & Mr. Konaka's Norowareta bijotachi: Akuryou kaidan.

Mr. Nakata Hideo and Mr. Takahashi Hiroshi also made TV show Hontouni atta kowai hanashi: Jushiryou before RING. Besides them, Mr. Inagawa Junji, he was known as an ordinary comedian till then, told his spiritual experience on TV shows.

SHINREI-mono was growing up quietly on TV, video movie and magazines. It is compared to 'something evil stretching underground'...