Scary True Stories
By Marcus Pan
The 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
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 last series, Realm of Specters, is by far the
scariest of the bunch and closes with Be Gone Crone!! a tale of a
young childs 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 wont
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, youll 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.
Dark Sky Films
Post: MPI Media Group, 16101 S 108th Ave., Orland Park, IL, 60467,
Click to Buy!