Hideo Nakata's 1998 film 'Ringu' almost singlehandedly changed the face of Japanese (and eventually all of Asia's) horror cinema. His ghostly antagonist Sadako paved the way for a glut of what horror aficionados call "angry girl ghost" movies, where the spirit of a wronged young woman comes back to seek vengeance. Almost all of the angry girl ghost films featured undead girls with pasty white skin and long dark hair obscuring their faces -- to the point where it was as much a cliche as the masked madman of countless American slasher films. 'Ringu's' paranormal avenger, Sadako, whose name was changed to Samara in the American version, was the inspiration for an entire movement.
Hollywood got in on the act, too – remaking 'Ringu' as 'The Ring' and even adding a sequel ('Ringu' has quite a few entries of its own in Japan, including a television series), but eventually the girl ghost phase ended (replaced in Japan by a return to gorier horror fare in films like 'Tokyo Gore Police' and in America by a more refined focus on torture porn films) ... until now.
Paramount, who acquired the American rights to the 'Ring' series from Dreamworks, announced plans for a 'Ring 3D' last April. Now Japan is following suit with yesterday's reveal that their own 3D sequel is in development. Could this lead to a girl ghost film renaissance?
Kadokawa Pictures announced the film, entitled 'Sadako 3D,' at a press event highlighting their upcoming projects yesterday in Tokyo. No cast or director have been attached to the sequel, but Koji Suzuki, author of the original novel on which the films are based, will write the screenplay. Suzuki has already promised that the new film will feature a scene of Sadako emerging from a television set – one of the most iconic images from the original film. 'Sadako 3D' is scheduled for a 2012 release.
Meanwhile, we haven't heard so much as a peep about Paramount's 'Ring 3D' since last spring. At the time, sources said the film would most likely be based on a screenplay by David Loucka. That film was supposed to "reinvent the franchise," meaning Naomi Watts probably wouldn't return and that the film would skew toward a teenage audience. Could news of 'Sadako 3D' spur Paramount back into action?
Of course, the biggest problem facing any 'Ring' film these days revolves around how to deal with the videotape that kicks everything off. Do kids these days even remember VCRs? Does a cursed Blu-ray have the same meaning? Those are the kinds of questions both films will have to answer as they move forward.