Ok, so everyone knows the Japanese horror movie style? They tap into an anxiety about the everyday and the transformations wrought upon it by various forces. I have mentioned Dark Water before in the context of real estate agents. Now. I have noticed a disturbing trend. A number of tv ads seem to have been made according to this Japanese Horror Movie Style in an entirely post-ironic way. More on that below; first, what is ‘Japanese Horror’?
Japanese Horror Films are something of a cultural phenomenon. Not unlike turbocharged hi-tech ‘imports’ the films have a level of sophisitication one step up from their US counterparts. It is summed up well in this article:
Audiences who had grown tired of hackneyed devices and betting on which token minority would die first had spoken with their wallets. A girl with hair over her face had never been so creepy, and the movie gave rise to the Americanized Japanese horror film. The move also killed the chance of most moviegoers ever seeing the original Japanese version of the movie.
From a National Geographic article on it:
“There’s an acceptance of the unexplained and the irrational in Japanese horror movies that was never very big in American horror films,” said Patrick Macias, author of Tokyoscope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion.
Later in the article:
“Since then I think horror movies have begun tapping into the unease many Japanese feel as the ills of the [outside] world have encroached on Japanese life.” he said. “For instance, Japan is no longer the fantastically safe country it famously once was, and the slumping economy has destabilized the notion of lifelong job security.”
In Japan this unease is impolite to express in public, Galbraith said, but the anxiety is reflected in Japanese horror movies. […]
“Japanese horror operates on a much more dreamlike level and has given Hollywood the license to not make sense,” said Lucas Sussman, a Los Angeles screenwriter who specializes in supernatural thrillers. “This actually works well for horror, because horror is about not being in control.”
For a pisstake of this distinctin between US and Japanese modes of horror film see this review of The Audition. Anyway, Cultural Studies scholars are interested in some aspects of it.
Does everyone know that ad for Toohey’s Dry (the one with the washing machine, fridge(??) and vacuum come to life and fight over a bottle of beer)? Oh, indeed. Single male has the horror of the automated domesticity coming to life and attempting to consume the symbol of his masculinity (beer).
What about the ad where the young girl (daughter?) prints a photo of a man (the father?) and turns it back and forth, but the photo is sooo ‘real’ that we see the man prone on the ground and then flung back and worth as the photo is turned? Perhaps the father is dead and what we have is the cursed photo printer printing cursed photos that actually animate the dead Pet Semetary style, but the problem here is that the father isn’t dead (yet). A critique of the mode of parenting whereby the chief task is the production of a childhood entirely constituted by events that would qualify as ‘Kodak moments’. Althought this ad is for Canon I think. Yes, digital photography is already cursed, and, yes, the father is already a puppet of his child’s future memories and hence becomes animated by the photo…
Then, lastly, there is the Macca’s ad inviting us to all be gullible children and go eat their food (in a world that reflects our narcissitic infant-stage of development where we can’t differentiate the world from our mothers or is it an invasion of little devil aliens that are already living inside of us but we don’t know it until the devil children are activated by music that sounds like every lullaby we haven’t heard??). Yes, little ‘child’ versions of adults open doors on the chests of their adult versions and the children climb out (‘inner child’). The children then go to Macca’s and get fat, oh, I mean food, which they have seen in heaps of ads during prime-time kid’s cartoon tv show time. Of course neo-liberal capitalism wants us to unleash the narcissitic alien devil children so we consume and turn into massive fat bastards. From the above linked newspaper ad, oh, I mean newspaper story:
“This campaign is an opportunity for us to remind customers we have changed and that we are only at the beginning of our journey and we are committed to giving them more choices,” said the company’s marketing director, Dion Workman.
Why not make a spoof of the Macca’s ad and have that lovely huge guy from Celebrity Overhaul on it. He could have some huge little kid attempt to get out of his chest, but gets stuck cause he is so fat. Then we could have a close up of his fat little legs pumping in mid-air trying to dislodge his fat little hips. Lastly the lullaby soundtrack record stops playing so all we hear are the muffled cries of a narcissitic child-man lamenting his inability to shrug off his obese adult skin so he can pursue, with pure abandon, an unquenchable desire for the commodity-spectacle in late capitalism. Go narcissitic morbidly-obese child-man. Go…
Is this not the exemplar post-ironic move of capital? To turn what should be the horror of everyday life into a spectacle to be consumed?!?!