DVD Review

“Scary True Stories”

By Marcus Pan

Scary True StoriesThe Japanese horror genre combines anime like cinematography and visions of supernatural horrors with long periods of Hitchcockesque suspenseful build-up before delivering terrible views of evil that sends fear shredding the length of your spine. Recent scenes you will be unlikely to forget displayed on American silver screens have come from Japanese horror films like The Grudge and The Ring.

One of the forerunners of this J-horror boom was a three part series made for Japanese television. Honto Ni Atta Kowai Hanashi (Scary True Stories) thrilled the Japanese audience in 1991 & 1992, setting the stage for imagery that has crossed the Pacific to even mystify stateside audiences and horror lovers.

Directed by Norio Tsuruta with screenwriting by Chiaki Konaka, the Scary True Stories DVD Release by Dark Sky collects all ten individual stories that came from the three part series the duo created – Scary True Stories, Scary True Stories: Night Two and Scary True Stories: Realm of Specters. These short ten films take you into the J-horror underground as you are shown what is supposedly truthful stories of ghostly hauntings.

Most will lead you for some time, taking lessons from Alfred Hitchcock and other suspense directors. The imagery remains dark of course, being ghost stories after all, but the images of the ghosts themselves are thrown at you after a long period of being dragged along by further heightening levels of fear and suspense which increases the fright that occurs swiftly at the climax.

The last series, Realm of Specters, is by far the scariest of the bunch and closes with Be Gone Crone!! – a tale of a young child’s horror from her window – My Friend at the Stairwell – a pair of classmates try to help the lonely spirit of a boy in a stairwell of their school – Paralysis – a woman finds herself tormented at night by a grotesque goblinesque creature who won’t allow her to move during his work – and The Black Hair in the Abandoned Building – some young folks are cursed after making mischief in an abandoned and supposedly haunted local mansion.

Also of merit is Mystery of the Red Earring, a story of two high school girls who must find the match for a mysterious red earring found in the bushes. This one in particular has a near-comical scene with a Bhuddhist monk who finds the whole situation of a ghost terrifying the girls looking for her earring to be hilarious. The Hospital at Midnight is strange, detailing some of the adventures of a young nursing student assigned to the midnight shift in her local hospital.

The Grudge and The Ring are ghost/spectre horror at its finest. And if you enjoyed those, you’ll certainly enjoy this Dark Sky Collection – Scary True Stories, which is one of the series that set fire to this brilliant ocean-crossing genre of modern horror. Done in Japanese with English subtitles and with the filmed aspect ratio unchanged to remain as true as possible to the original airing, the alternate language itself becomes less of a burden when watching as I actually found myself paying strict attention to everything on screen so as not to miss a beat. This, of course, made every nuance of the stories that much clearer and should serve to do the same for you.

Contact Information:
Dark Sky Films
Post: MPI Media Group, 16101 S 108th Ave., Orland Park, IL, 60467, USA

Click to Buy!
Buy It