Ring

Ring
Koji Suzuki

Not The Ring, which is where a more visually-oriented Hollywood film would take the franchise. Koji Suzuki’s novel is also leagues away from the 1998 wellspring of J-horror Ringu, which was a very free adaptation. It is still, however, a suspenseful thriller about a cursed videotape, and in some ways an even stranger story than its big-screen adaptations. The films, surprisingly, weren’t as interested in Suzuki’s take on viral technology, which is odd given its growing relevance (one can easily imagine the ring as a digital net). They also cleansed the story of its invocations of archetypal male dread: Sadako as succubus, surrogate, and sexual abomination. What they kept were Hollywood’s economic anxieties, making Suzuki’s story into a cautionary tale about the horrors of television and video piracy. Horror makes for great propaganda.