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Lost in translation? Ghost music in recent Japanese Kaidan films and their Hollywood remakes

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Western audiences in recent years have been intrigued by the cinematic phenomenon popularly known as J-Horror. Critical attention has been paid to more to the Hollywood remakes than to the original Japanese films. Comparing such Hollywood films as The Ring, The Grudge, and Dark Water with their models, this essay focuses on the various soundtracks' use of a particular ghostly noise. It argues that whereas the soundtracks of the Japanese Kaidan films in various ways sustain an aesthetic/theatrical tradition that is centuries old, the Hollywood remakes miss an important point by appropriating the sound but not its context.

Keywords: J-horror; Japanese; ghost story; kabuki; kaidan

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Sydney.

Publication date: November 1, 2010

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  • Horror Studies intends to serve the international academic community in the humanities and specifically those scholars interested in horror. Exclusively examining horror, this journal will provide interested professionals with an opportunity to read outstanding scholarship from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including work conceived as interdisciplinary. By expanding the conversation to include specialists concerned with diverse historical periods, varied geography, and a wide variety of expressive media, this journal will inform and stimulate anyone interested in a wider and deeper understanding of horror
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