Sunday, 17 June 2012

Ghost Stories from Japan



There are dozens of these very short ghost stories out there. Some are pretty good, most fairly so-so. But it's  noteworthy that Japan - unlike the UK - has no problem mass-producing TV ghost stories. Here it's a major project for the BBC to do precisely one. This has perhaps as much to do with the decline of the one-off drama as a TV art form as to a perceived lack of demand.

5 comments:

Iain said...

My suspicion is that the BBC consider that anything like this has to be 'an event', like the recent (and poor, in my view) Oh Whistle And...

Would be better if someone was (or better yet, a whole string of people were) given a commission to knock off a couple of dozen 10 or 15 minute ghost story films for BBC4. No expectations, no big name actors, no big budget.

Some of them, I'm sure, would not work well...but in amongst them, it would throw up some interesting work.

Oscar Solis said...

I wasn't aware of these. I went and saw a few and they're pretty fun. What I like about these is that the stories aren't dragged out. You invest five minutes of time and then you're out or off to another story. You don't feel like you've wasted a lot of time on a story that turns out to be pointless (even if some of these are). Also, there aren't overly long scenes where the characters just walk around. Watching The Woman in Black yesterday only compounded the idea that the long buildup and creeping around scenes are a very tired staple of the cinematic ghost story (in the classic The Innocents, scenes of that type are kept to a minimum).

Filmed ghost stories, IMHO, work best when they are short, because one isn't dealing with a lot of false suspense which, unfortunately, seems to be the case with the many of the feature length filmed ghost
stories of late.

valdemar said...

I agree, Iain, that the BBC doesn't take risks with that kind of thing any more.

Oscar, I agree about walking around scenes. Ironic, given the resources available to film makers, that they end up filming so many inherently dull things.

Oscar Solis said...

I always find myself speeding through the walking around, waiting for the big "boo" type scenes. Let's face it, so many of those scenes exist that they no longer seem relevant to the story and exist to fill out the run time. And according to Solis' rule of movies if one has to speed up the story at any point then one is watching a bad movie, regardless of the budget or pedigree involved.

In watching the classic Night of the Demon, I realized that films of that intelligence in the supernatural field are so far and few between that it's easy to get distracted by design and camerawork in the recent ghost stories that unfortunately rely too much on the tried and true formulas.

valdemar said...

Yes, Oscar, those are my feelings more or less exactly. I think shocks need to be 'earned' by good plotting, dialogue etc, but instead we get a few basic directorial tricks and plotting tropes.