Oh, I’m going to be writing about Japanese urban legends later, believe me (along with more really creepy multi-media).
Let me back up a little. Urban legends scare the hell out of me, period, and that’s just the ones from the US. I accidentally discovered in 2008, via the wonder of You Tube, Japan has some real showstoppers, too. I’m a SME (subject matter expert) in several fields, a skill I kind of accidentally discovered through my passion for certain subjects. I’m pretty sure that all of them I can confidently claim are pop-culture-related. I don’t know how to drive a clutch, and it would probably take a very, very patient person to get me up to speed. I can’t even describe the difference between clutch and automatic (though I’m pretty sure there’s an extra pedal on the floor). However, I can answer almost any question about Elvis Presley’s life, music or personal. Ann-Margret, the same. My SME list has a few more (non-horror related) subjects that I actually even was paid or compensated in some way to give information on. Recently, I’m proud to say I recently caught a (rare) error Mad Men made during an episode.*
I’m an official subject matter expert on urban legends, but when I discovered this trailer, I realized there was a whole new set of international ones (many pretty fucking scary) I had no knowledge of. I also realized I shouldn’t have started to intensively research them after dark.
When it comes to urban legends, my knowledge has grown since 1980 (when I heard the version I did of ‘if her dog didn’t lick the girl’s hand in the dark, then who did?’ and what I think is called The Dead Boyfriend and the broken-down/out of gas car). Actually, the ones I heard from the time I heard my first urban legend until a few years later weren’t so much of a ‘learning experience’ as ‘a reason to sleep with the lights on, and get no sleep during slumber parties’. Later, though, I started hearing different versions. When I was a Freshman in high school, I even attempted to write my own book of urban legends I’d heard, which ground to a halt mainly because A. I hadn’t acquired typing skills yet and B. I ran out of legends before I even reached ten to write down. Then came the Jan Brunevald books, followed by the internet, and by the time I was thirty, I had the skill of knowing every legend, how and when it originated, different versions, but especially which ones were true and which weren’t.
That last aspect has done some harm as well as good; in a social situation, I learned the hard way that when someone begins to relate a story, interrupting them by shouting out “No, WRONG! That’s an urban legend! I can prove it!” when they’re less than 30 seconds into their story doesn’t exactly win you any popularity contests. I remember biting my tongue when my family doctor began relating a story to me that he said another patient had told him about; this patient (who lied their ass off) picked up a really trashed, used, vintage Harley Davidson, later got a call from Jay Leno offering 20 grand for the bike, and discovering the value was due to it being a birthday present from Elvis to Priscilla Presley. Another time, when I worked at Amazon.com, I was in the women’s restroom and saw a Xerox of an email someone was sent warning about the poisonous asbestos found in tampons. They’d taped it to the inside of the stall to denote its urgency (and used a red Sharpie to draw several arrows to the subject heading and key words, and also to state HEY!! READ This!!! TRUE!!! in case you missed it, God forbid.) I couldn’t squash down the smart-ass in me that time; instead I went to trusty ole Snopes.com, found the “InBoxer Rebellion” section, printed out the page clearly providing evidence this warning was a pack of lies, then taped the print-sheet underneath the first, with the False status hi-lited. Another time I’m fairly sure I damaged a blossoming friendship when I got an email sent to me telling an ‘inspiring story’ that was such an exceptionally stupid urban legend that I finally snapped and replied to all with a cut and paste of the entire Snopes page, with the introduction, “Sorry, but…”. To be fair, the email I finally responded to was the finale to a series of other email warnings (“READ THIS AND PASS THIS ON, IT COULD SAVE A LIFE!!!!”) about not flashing your head-lights because of gang initiations, not checking for change from a vending machine because some sickos were deliberately placing HIV-infected needles in there, checking your seat in a movie theater carefully before sitting because some sickos were deliberately placing HIV-infected needles in there, and not checking for loose change in a coin-return slot of public payphones because some sickos were deliberately placing HIV-infected needles in there, and checking under your car during the Christmas season because some crazy criminals were deliberately hiding under cars in shopping-mall parking lots, ready with a scalpel to slash your Achilles tendon so that you dropped your purse and all your packages for them to grab and run off with while you collapsed on the pavement, bleeding and screaming.*
OK, how about if I just fast-forward to what I was going to write, and save the huge amount of material on urban legends (one of the first ten categories I made for this blog). I’m a subject matter expert on urban legends, but when I discovered this trailer, I realized there was a whole new set of international ones (many pretty fucking scary) I had no knowledge of. I also realized I shouldn’t have started to intensively research them after dark.
Here’s the first trailer for Carved; I ended up using two versions of it, and adding the one I saw first-the “channel” the trailer was on is gone now, but I was able to find the now-rare, long version I watched before the shorter one. The below version of the Carved trailer has English subtitles and good picture quality. Here you go!
Now here’s the first (now-rare) one I watched. No subtitles, but it’s here. This would have scared the fuck out of me even without the surprise ending I’ll relate to you below the trailer. Make sure you watch till the very end for maximum creepiness effect (it fades out halfway through… but then comes back). The ending in the rain (I think that’s the rare part) made it worth including. I only wish I could find the original, which had subti– no, you know what? Scratch that. After a re-watch I just decided I’m fine with no English subtitles! I’ve got enough trouble sleeping as it is.
I distinctly recall the first time I discovered this trailer …and here’s why! At the time, the only computer we had was in the office, an eMac. There’s not much lighting in there, and it’s one of the few above-ground rooms of our house that doesn’t have a lot of natural light. The window is small, barred, and has a curtain, since neither my neighbors nor I have any interest in making awkward eye contact through windows while we are both at home. At the time, it was also after dark, and I was the only one awake in the house (or so I thought). Right at the very end of the trailer, with the looong shot of the girl in the rain, our two recently-adopted kittens also made a discovery: if they both slammed themselves against a closed office door with the correct placement and timing hard enough, they could enter that same room after the door crashed open with great force, accompanied by a very loud noise! They were too cute to yell at, but when I could stand up from the chair, I immediately went right to the bedroom, turned the light on, and hastily crawled into bed with my sleeping husband, all in one large motion. I didn’t even think funny later, not funny now.
Okay, okay. If you reeeaaallly can’t wait to know more about this legend, here’s some good info. BTW, this isn’t even the scariest depiction/explanation for Kuchisake Onna. When I find that, I’ll post it in a hurry! But here’s a good start.
* Example: I can’t sing, and I’m fairly certain a large team of patient, expert voice coaches whom I offered millions of dollars to if they could ‘cure’ my tone-deafness would give up after about a year. I can, however, tell you in detail about The Ramones, rattle off the name of every album and every song contained on it in chronological order, as well as tracks that didn’t make it onto the record. I could tell you set lists, and pretty personal details about every member (OK, not so much on Tommy, but my husband can fill in the gaps), including time I was lucky enough to spend with them individually.
**Betty’s MIL pulled out a Seconal to bite in half and ‘share’ with her grand-daughter. Seconals were bright red capsules, not tablets. Ah-HAH, gotcha Matthew Weiner! Guess you didn’t pay attention during Valley of the Dolls (or read the novel more than once) like I did!
***actually, that last one kind of makes me want to check under my car the next time I’m returning to it carrying shopping bags, now that I think of it.