Curse, Death &
Sound: C+ Extras: C- Episodes: B-
The original Ring films, Dark Water and
their silly American remakes have put writer/director Hideo Nakata on the map,
but little of his other work has surfaced in a big way. AsiaVision has issued a set of three Horror
pieces from his TV days called Curse, Death & Spirit, an anthology
of stories which show the early seeds of his work. Like Roald Dahl’s Tales Of The Unexpected (reviewed
elsewhere on this site), taping the shows and doing them right allows the
makers to walk a fine line between terror and the unintentionally funny, though
the horror wins out when done right.
The Cursed Doll is a nice take on the usual
devil doll story without the “Chucky” wisecracks, while The Spirit Of The
Dead is a forerunner of those Ring films, though a better work. That leaves The Haunted Inn, which
has the characters trapped in a deadly time warp that is no match for Kubrick’s
version of Stephen King’s The Shining (1980) though is at least
ambitious. Together, the three run an
hour, which says something about these newer genre directors trying to stretch
out simple ideas to feature length. We
still want to give Nakata’s other work a chance, though we can confirm that
anything he is doing right is not translating well in Hollywood.
The 1.33 X 1 image was shot on analog NTSC format
videotape and shows its age, but the look is good. The Dolby Digital Japanese 2.0 is simple stereo at best and has
some background noise throughout.
Subtitles are optional. Extras
include stills, weblinks and previews for three AsiaVision DVDs coming up,
which we look forwards to covering here.
- Nicholas Sheffo