Asian Horror by Andy Richards (2010)
Asian Horror is a short, but useful summation of the unique stlyes of horror film that have emerged from East Asian countries over the course of history. Richards is particularly interested in exploring the development of the horror genre in Japan, and begins the book by detailing how pre-cinematic art froms such as Kabuki theater and classic literature would later influence storytelling in Japanese horror movies. For my money the strongest part of Richards’ book are his descriptions of classic Japanese horror films from the 1950’s and ‘60’s, such as Tales of Ugetsu, Godzilla (1954), and Jigoku. This is mostly just personal preference, as I knew less about these classic horror films going into the book so this section of the book provided me with the most new and useful information. While this title is certainly focused on Japan’s horror output, it still contains respectable chapters on the horror films of Korea, Hong Kong, and Thailand. For good measure Richards even includes two short chapters at the end of the book about Hollywood remakes of Asian horror films and survival horror video games. Asian Horror is simply too short and cursory for me to call it an essential and definitive book on Asian horror cinema, yet with that said I think it’s an excellent primer for those who are interested in learning more about the subject. While seasoned horror veterans and connoisseurs of Japanese cult film won’t find a ton of new information in this title, I can’t think of a better place for a budding horror fan to quickly develop a sense of the contemporary Asian horror landscape.