And the countdown begins in earnest! We are at one week until Halloween! Seven days to go.
Remember? Remember The Ring? That movie that was part of America’s love affair with remaking Japanese horror movies. You watch the creepy weird VHS tape, and then you get a phone call and a voice says, “Seven Days” and then exactly seven days later your face gets all messed up and you die.
Ring is the original book version of that.
Written by Koji Suzuki in 1991, it’s the tale of reporter Kazuyuki Asakawa and his investigation into the mysterious simultaneous deaths of four teenagers in Tokyo. His investigation leads him to the discovery of a surreal videotape, which includes the warning that the viewer will die in seven days. Desperate to avoid the death sentence, Asakawa investigates the video. He learns about a young woman named Sadako and her connection to the mystery, all the while racing the clock.
You might already know what happens after that, but I won’t ruin the way the story goes in the book. I found the story as Suzuki tells it much more emotionally satisfying than the movie. Actually, I liked the novel much better than the movie versions, Japanese or American (Ringu and The Ring, respectively). You get more backstory, more character development, and a nice swift pace with compelling storytelling.
Best of all, you get to just imagine what the scary imagery looks like, the mutated faces and girl crawling out of a TV and the scary video. As we’ve discussed, I’m a huge weenie when it comes to scary images, and the weird jerky video in The Ring broke me. Give me the novel any day, where I can be just as scared as I want to be, and no more.
Here is Sadako’s video as imagined by the makers of the American version of Ring , if you want to see it. Warnings for everything that might freak you out, including enormous bugs, weird lighting and shadows. Among many others.
And, uh, probably best to NOT answer the phone if it rings right after you’ve finished.