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Tales Of Terror From Tokyo And All Over Japan, Vol. 1 (2003)

DVD Cover (Tokyo Shock)
Movie Connections:
Tales Of Terror From Tokyo And All Over Japan
> Tales Of Terror From Tokyo And... (2003)
> Tales Of Terror From Tokyo And All... (2004)
Genres / Traits:
Horror, Horror Anthology, Psychological Thriller, Supernatural Horror, Urban Legends
Directors:
Eiji Arakawa Eiji Arakawa
Kei Horie Kei Horie
Hirokatsu Kihara Hirokatsu Kihara
Ryűta Miyake Ryűta Miyake
Ichirô Nakayama Ichirô Nakayama
Starring:
Kurume Arisaka Kurume Arisaka
Yôko Chôsokabe Yôko Chôsokabe
Yűko Daike Yűko Daike
Nana Eikura Nana Eikura
Chika Fujimura Chika Fujimura

5.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: October 22, 2005
This collection of horror shorts from Japan follows the same pattern as most other anthology films... get a few directors together, give each of them a chunk of time, and see what they can come up with. Unlike other anthology films, however, this one doesn't settle for just giving the audience three or four stories... no sir, there's an impressive fifteen stories contained on this disc. With the exception of one entry which runs for a whopping ten minutes, each segment clocks in at around five minutes long. With that in mind, I'm not going to go down the list and describe each one in detail; I think it would be easier on me, the writer, and you, the potential viewer, if I just gave an overview of the content of this disc. Sound good? Hope so.

Before I get into this review, I'd like to point out that this is not a film for the J-Horror newbies in the audience. If you saw Ringu and think that's how all of the horror films from the land of the rising sun work, you'll be quite disappointed with this purchase or rental. With the exception of just two or three stories, each of these follow the traditional Japanese method of story-telling. By that, I mean that they give the audience a chunk of storyline, they show us what could happen, and then they leave it up to us to decide what actually happened. If you like your movies to spell out exactly what happened to the hero of the story and if you don't like using the old thinking-cap, this is not the movie for you.

I enjoy this approach to film-making. With Hollywood films, you watch the movie, you see the credits roll, and that's that. There's no discussions with your significant other afterwards other than "neat effects" or "horrible acting", you don't think about the stories over the course of the week, and you never find yourself wondering just what happened in that creepy, abandoned hospital. It's all cut-and-dry, here's what happened, thanks for coming... but not in Japan. The first two storylines tend to follow the Hollywood approach, and although they work and do manage to pull out some of that creep factor, they're pretty forgettable. Then we have about eight entries on the disc which follow the style of film-making that I just got through describing, and then we have the rest of the entries.

The rest of the entries, in my view, were too open-ended. As I mentioned, I enjoy having to think about what happened to the characters, and I like how these movies don't spell out every last detail for the viewer, but these select few entries just go overboard with that idea. They feel as though they were missing vital pieces to the storyline, and as a result, you don't even know what's going on, much less what eventually happened to the characters. Instead of presenting themselves as "here's the characters, here's the story, here comes the ending... roll credits", it seems as though these entries are missing half of the storyline and all of the ending. As a result, these shorts leave you with a "that's it?" feeling when the next one begins.

Now, to be fair with this movie, each of these shorts was supposedly based on Japanese urban legends and ghost stories. Perhaps I would have "got" these select few if I was more familiar with the Japanese culture and such, but when this particular American compares the entries that worked (in my eyes) to the ones that didn't, well, there's really no excuse. In "The Elevator", we witness the ghostly happenings of the elevator in a young ladies apartment. Without going into detail (because it's insanely cool to watch), we find out what happens in this particular urban legend. Prior to watching this disc, I had never heard of this particular story... but the director managed to lay it all out for the viewer in his allotted five minutes and did a hell of a job with it. Perhaps these other stories had more detail to them and couldn't be condensed down to five minutes properly, or perhaps I just missed something. Either way, this is the only blemish on this collection in my view. On the plus side, the five minute running time on the stories works out nicely in this regard... if you don't enjoy whichever story happens to be playing at the time, well, it's probably over by the time you realize that you don't enjoy it.

If you enjoy the Japanese style of horror and want a disc full of bite-sized nuggets of goodness, this would be a good disc to start out with. There's four volumes in the series, and while I can't speak of the quality on those other discs, I can say that the initial entry in the series has made me want to track them down. 8/10.
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