Today in class we discussed how J-Horror and western horror differ. I think we touched on a few key points:
1. Western horror needs a hero and a villain. We need evil to hate, and I think a lot of that does come from religion. In christianity god, the good force in the world, battles the devil. In most western films there are clear sides as well, Indiana vs. The Nazis, Luke and the Rebels vs. The Empire, Ferris Bueller vs. Mr. Rooney. All of these things have a clear person to root for and someone to take you through the story. In Japanese horror there is a very blurred line about what is evil and what is good, like the movie we watched today in class. The snow spirit woman killed a man in cold blood (get it?) but also has a very motherly instinct. The man who was scared of her at the beginning longs for her at the end. I think a lot of this has to do with, again, religion. A lot of Buddhist ideals believe that good and evil both come from the same source and that it is human choices that decide outcomes, which is really exemplified in J-horror.
2. We talked about society today and how the individual is viewed in both western and Japanese culture. In American movies going against society is rewarded (again, Luke against The Empire) whereas in Japanese stories it doesn't turn out so good. Like in the bronze mirror story were read, because the one woman went against society and didn't give up her mirror with good intent, she had turmoil.
3. A very clear difference is that J-horror focuses on the psychological as opposed to the physical. Where America has slasher movies, Japan has psychological terrors.