“…You’ve heard the rumors, right? It gave me such chills when I heard about it…”
When it comes to frightening Japanese horror shorts, there’ s a lot of contenders. I’ve seen a ton of J-horror short this year, several so disturbing and creepy they left me badly shaken. Then there’s Keita Amemiya‘s Rattle Rattle (2006), which is the first segment of an arguably uneven J-horror anthology called Unholy Women (Kowai Onna). It’s the scariest J-Horror short I’ve seen all year (let alone all month), and that’s why I saved this for Halloween!
My advice is to watch Rattle Rattle on You Tube streaming, if you have the technology for that, and if you’re feeling especially brave, turn off all the lights. Seriously, I dare you. The first time I discovered and watched this–it was recommended to me by a trusted source– was after dark, on my lap top. I kept turning the sound down lower and lower as I got more and more creeped out, and by the last ten minutes it was down all the way. I didn’t have the nerve to watch it again until almost six months later, and since it was a sunny, cheerful afternoon, I got the nerve to watch it via streaming on our flat screen. It was still scary as hell (and also filled in a couple blanks in the plot; the first time I was too busy being freaked the hell out before to focus on every pesky little detail).
I’ve talked to other horror fans, especially those who love Asian Horror, and they agree with me that this segment embodies everything about J-horror that scares the shit out of us. Elements like not knowing quite what you’re looking at, which makes it all the more creepy and unsettling, things that aren’t supposed to be there, or move the way they do, never being safe from whatever scary entity is after you, no matter where you go, what you do, or how long you wait, finding out a horrible truth, then finding out another horrible truth on top of it. Most of the time you don’t even have to do anything wrong, or anything stupid, all you have to do is show up, and you’re fucked . It never forgives …it never forgets, as one of the taglines for The Grudge correctly assures us.
At first the story in Rattle Rattle seems like the familiar–but always creepy on varying levels– theme of an innocent, frightened young woman being pursued ruthlessly and horribly by an onyro (a vengeful female ghost such as Kayako Saeki or Sadako from Ringu; here’s a great, thorough article I highly recommend if you want to learn a little more). As I said, it’s hardly a new theme if you’ve seen a couple J-horror movies; I hear a lot of people say thery’re sick of seeing the pale, skinny ghostly girl with long black hair hanging over her face bla-bla. However, in nine out of ten cases, I’ve noticed those same people continuing to see Asian horror and admitting they’re scary when done right.
“Someone did jump from here recently…”
Anyway, that’s what I thought this short movie would completely consist of. Don’t get me wrong, I was already terrified and my heart rate was up. Then, though I didn’t think it possible and already was regretting my decision to watch the movie after dark as I knew I’d have to really apply myself to relax enough to sleep, I got even more frightened when I turned out to be wrong… and wrong a second time…
OK, I don’t want to talk this little-known gem up too much, so I’ll just tell you if you want a real scare for Halloween (or any time), invest half an hour and watch one of the most frightening J-horror shorts you’ll ever see. That’s why I saved this for Halloween. Watch this till the very end—there’s a moment when it looks like it’s over, but isn’t. You’ll know it when it’s over, trust me… Happy Halloween!
- Horror Boom Halloween Treat – Giant Ju-On Gallery, Featuring Kayako Saeki! (horrorboom.com)
- Name That (Horror) Frame – Week of 10/21/12 – Special J-Horror Edition! (horrorboom.com)
- Halloween: Scary book picks from EW staffers (ribellephoto.wordpress.com)
- The Horror Icon Alphabet by Mike Boon (firewireblog.com)
- Name That (Horror) Frame – Week of 8/28/12 – Halloween Edition (horrorboom.com)