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Sam Raimi On Japanese Horror

I was listening to the commentary track of the American release of the Japanese horror film "Ju-On" and Sam Raimi's comments about the difference between Japanese and American horror films struck me. He pretty much hits the nail on the head. I think his observation also works to describe the difference between American and Japanese cinema in general:

"For me the big difference between the Japanese horror movement that's taking place now in the late 90's and in the early 2000's is there's a much more subtle approach. I think they treat the audience with a lot more intelligence than American filmmakers do. They know they've seen these movies, they know they don't have to hit them over the head, that sometimes a creepy moment is so much more valuable than just a scare. It can get under your skin and really freak you out in a way that just a jolt can't."

"I think that's the big difference --the Japanese recognition of subtlety. Their ability to create subtle moments in the suspense and horror really is so much more effective that just--I think--the broader hit you on the head type of American approach."

"And I think that's what I learned --how subtle you can be and still really freak out the audience. ...I can imagine when the Japanese audience watches an American horror film--that they might react as though it were a little broad for their tastes--a little obvious--a little more set for children than for an adult crowd."



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