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hideo nakata
Hideo Nakata

" . . . . Everything we should fear is right in front of us, present on the screen. There's no monster waiting off-screen, no murderer ready to make a visit when we supposedly expect it least. When the demonic Sadako emerges from the TV, it is at a very slow pace. We see her coming . . . . we know what's going to happen . . . . yet it chills us from head to toe."

-- - "Ring", The Dark Side 91, 2001 by Julien Seveon

Date Title Source IMDB DVD Reviews
1996 Joyuurei / Don't Look Up / Ghost Actress DVD IMDb
1998 Ringu / Ring DVD IMDb K
1998 Ringu 2 / Ring 2 VCD IMDb DVD
1999 Kaosu / Chaos DVD IMDb Review
1999 Garasu no nou IMDb
2000 Sadistic and Masochistic VCD IMDb Review
2002 Honogurai mizu no soko kara / Dark Water VCD IMDb K
2002 Last Scene VCD IMDb Review
For a complete filmography go to the IMDB

Born: 19 July 1961, Okayama, Japan

While majoring in applied physics at Japan's top ranked Tokyo University, Nakata attended a seminar on cinema given by a professor who was also a renowned film critic. Influenced by this, Nakata switched his major to liberal arts and began watching movies feverishly. Upon graduating he landed a job at Nikkatsu Studios as an assistant director, and spent the next 7 years working on dozens of productions for a variety of filmmakers, including Kumashiro Tatsumi and Kudo Elichi.

Eventually Nakata began directing a documentary. However money was tight and he didn't have enough to complete the project. Badly in need of money he wrote several synopses for horror films and submitted them to Takenori Sento (who would later produce RING). One of them was GHOST ACTRESS, and it became his first feature. Unfortunately the film was an utter failure, but after it came out on video, it started to get good word of mouth.

One of those who watched the movie was RING author Koji Suzuki. A best selling book, RING had already been adapted as a TV movie, and its publisher was looking to turn it into a motion picture. Nakata and scriptwriter Hiroshi Takahashi were asked to take the job and between them decided to strip the story down to its basics and present it with constant forward motion. Through meticulous attention to its structure, Nakata sought to create a film that unsettled viewers, rather than one utilizing traditional shock tactics and startle effects. Perhaps the best example of of Nakata's method can be seen in his creation of the "revenge' video of the story's ghostly antagonist, Sadako. The mainstay of the narrative, this tape leaves its viewers dead of fright a week after viewing. Nakata knew this element was key to the film's success and had to be truly disturbing.

"The video was a major part of the RING production" Nakata explains. "In the book, it runs about 20 minutes and has a concrete story. I decided that it should not describe anything in solid terms, as it would play several times in the film. I felt that if it were too explanatory, it would become boring after repeated viewings. Only eight shots long, it took two days to shoot. I then spent 24 hours editing and processing it using computer effects. The sound was important, and I underlaid several unsettling noises that added to the visuals. The video in itself is not scary, but it's unnerving and leaves the audience feeling anxious"

Nakata confesses that he considers himself not a horror director, but a celluloid craftsman who believes that the careful assembly of scenes can make viewers experience a wide variety of emotions. "As a professional filmmaker, I look at it as a challenge to describe on film whatever feeling the story demands. To me, describing love, laughs or screams are not much different. By playing with expectations, I found I can create a multitude of base feelings - in the case of RING, total fear."

When queried on the state of modern horror, Nakata is quick to reply. "Horror as a form has changed greatly over the past 20 years. I don't believe that blood, ugly creatures or scary monsters work any longer. The reason is that young people have become accustomed to not only overstimulated movies, but to true terror as well. In Japan we have a rising tide of children killing parents, parents killing children, as well as killer cults. As a result, if I create a monster for a film, even if it is effective, young people will see it in relation to this true terror and respond with laughter. Horror in the future should address not specifics, but concern itself more with the construction of the terror of the environment and a horrific atmosphere.
---- - Fangoria 200, 2001 by Norman England