There are good horror films and then there is phenomenon known as Ringu (or more commonly known as The Ring in the US). What started as a trilogy of novels by Koji Suzuki (i.e. Ringu, Spiral, and Loop) became a Japanese television surprise hit and then the series of feature films (both based on the original first two novels and an extension of the original film) before becoming the Korean hit The Ring Virus and the American version The Ring (and its sequel The Ring Two). Denis Meikle delves into all aspects of the Ring phenomenon in his book The Ring Companion.
Meikle’s book is not just a breakdown of all the films that are associated with the Ring phenomenon but his book also delves into its place in the larger spectrum of Japan’s history in horror cinema most importantly in the way in which Suzuki’s novel changed the face of the wronged woman who returns to seek vengeance for her death (and birth of the long black haired ghost made famous in the first theatrical film).
For those who did not know there are two Ring television series (Ring: The Complete Edition, Ring: The Final Chapter), three Japanese theatrical films (Ringu, Ringu 2, Ringu 0: Birthday), the Korean remake – The Ring Virus, two American films – The Ring and The Ring Two, and the two films based on the sequel novel Spiral (Rasen and the television version of Rasen). The films have grossed over $200 million worldwide and jump started the American remake of Asian films which continues to this day.
Meikle’s book is most effective when it draws parallels from past films and novels while delving into what made Suzuki write the book in the first place. In fact, Meikle spends the majority of the first third of the book explaining the history of Japanese horror cinema (and its most influential films) in order to put the success of the Ring franchise in perspective for the reader. For those who love the Ring films this book will be an eye opener as Meikle puts all the films into perspective as well as takes each of them apart both for the good and the bad.