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Ju-On: The Grudge$
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Marisa Hayes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325291

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325291.001.0001

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New Curses Are Born – Legacy

New Curses Are Born – Legacy

(p.69) Part Four: New Curses Are Born – Legacy
Ju-On: The Grudge

Marisa C. Hayes

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the legacy of Takashi Shimizu's Ju-on: The Grudge (2002). The film's theatrical distribution in January of 2003 brought unexpected success in Japan and sparked a fury of activity that garnered momentum around the globe. Some Western critics were lukewarm about the nonlinear timeline of Ju-on: The Grudge, or even downright hostile. Despite its detractors, the film's domestic popularity resulted in Ju-on: The Grudge 2, released on the heels of its predecessor later the same year, while an American remake produced by Sam Raimi hit screens in 2004. This quick succession of titles in the franchise raised the profile of Ju-on's mythology and created recognisable icons of horror in Kayako and Toshio Saeki, ghosts who quickly joined the ranks of celebrated villains like Sadako, Michael Meyers, Freddy Krueger and company. Together with Ringu's Sadako, Kayako provided a veritable cinematic template for the contemporary Japanese ghost. The international success of the Ju-on franchise resulted not only in wider recognition of J-horror, but raised the profiles of other Asian films in the horror genre, including popular titles from South Korea (K-horror), Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia.

Keywords:   Takashi Shimizu, Ju-on: The Grudge, Ju-on franchise, Kayako, contemporary Japanese ghost, J-horror, Asian horror films

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