Skeletons in the Closet


an integral part of their daily lives. In the program, Japanese filmmakers, Hollywood producers and scholars talk about the traditions of horror in Japanese writing from the past, which often featured demons, hell, vengeful spirits and other supernatural entities. (From the US, in English and Japanese, English subtitles)

The ubiquitous ‘Japanese Horror’ boom is a film world phenomenon. What is this fascination with J-horror? The origin of J-Horror can be traced to the ghost story classics popularized during the Edo period known as Kwaidan. Indigenous to Japan, “Kwaidan culture” has a history of over 1000 years. Belief in ghosts and demons has been deep-rooted in Japanese folklore throughout history. SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET will demystify the extraordinary thousand year history of the supernatural as experienced by the Japanese and celebrate this “culture of horror” that has always been an unrelenting part of Japanese life.
Coproduced by NHK/Plug-In2

This 90 minute English-language documentary was a co-production of NHK Television in Japan and a Canadian production company–I actually appear in this film, as myself, along with film producer Roy Lee (THE RING) and other scholars and J-Horror luminaries. It is a weird film…

The thesis put forward by the producers (which I totally agree with) is that the J-Horror boom of the 1990s and early 2000s was a modern iteration of the collections of ghost stories that were compiled by the likes of Lafcadio Hearn–a contemporary folk mythology. So, to explore that idea, they have an actor playing Lafcadio Hearn in a sort of mini-biopic–and then that leads into an Amicus-like horror anthology film that turns some of Hearn’s stories into short ghost movies, which are then woven into a more traditional documentary about J-Horror films that has talking heads (like me) and behind-the-scenes footage of the making of some of the films… and faked “behind the scenes” footage of a made-up film used as a generic example.

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