Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 29th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1991 & 1992
Director: Norio Tsuruta
Writers: Chiaki Konaka, Norio Tsuruta
Cast: Yumi Goto, Rie Kondoh, Akane Aizawa, Daisuke Ban, Ryuushi Mizukami
DVD Released: November 22nd, , 2005
Approximate Running Time: 138 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
DVD Release: Dark Sky Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98
Scary True Stories (1991)
Segment #1 “The Lonely Girl” Mariko is not as good as a swimmer as the rest of the class and one day she stays later to practice with her instructor while her friends leave before her. When she returns to the dressing room to shower and change back into her street clothes she is confronted by the ghost of a girl who had died at this location one year before.
Segment #2 “Spiritual Flight” A young girl is confronted by a spiritual force on her way how from school one day. Later that evening she encounters the same force this time in her room and she is taken on an out of body experience the leads her to a graveyard by the spot she walked by earlier that day. Only one problem there never was a graveyard there. Was someone from beyond trying to tell her something or was it all a dream?
Segment #3: “Mystery of the Red Earring” Keiko is afraid to be all alone and since her parents are out of town she invites her friend Masayo over for a sleepover. Keiko tells her about a red earring that she found one day while walking home and for the past two weeks she has tried to get rid of it only for it to reappear once again in her possession. Masayo not fully convinced of her friends’ tale soon discovers the truth thanks to things that go bump in the night.
Scary True Stories: Night Two (1991)
Segment #4 “The Gymnasium in Summer” Three friends Chima, Akimi and Yuma decide to break into the schools gym after they hear about an urban legend concerning a death that happened there last summer.
Segment #5 “House of Restless Spirits” Yuko and her family move into a new home after her dad is transferred to a new city because of his job. Each of the three family member encounter spirits who are not friendly and Yuko’s father hires a spiritualist to ride the house of these evil spirits.
Segment #6 “The Hospital at Midnight” Nurse Ogura during her frequent rounds on the midnight shift at the hospital encounters an invisible presence that appears to be almost as real as her as its grasp her in its clutches.
Scary True Stories: Realm of Specters (1992)
Segment #7 “Be Gone Crone!!” Yuka is visited by an old woman who knocks insistently at her window. Unable to ignore the woman’s knock Yuka soon comes face to face with pure evil.
Segment #8 “My Friend at the Stairwell” Yano and her friend Nami on their way to class one day pass what looks like blood a blood stain and a young ghostly looking boy on the schools northern staircase. Yano unable to get the image of this young boy out of her head wants to help him and when she offers a helping hand she soon discovers that she has taken on more then she can handle.
Segment #9 “Paralysis” A young women while sleeping one evening has a disturbing nightmare that leaves her paralyzed.
Segment #10 “The Black Hair in the Abandon Building” Three friends enter an abandon building and while going through the various rooms come across some discarded black hair. Takeshi one of the boys as the insistence of his girlfriend puts the hair they found back into the box they found in it when in the mirror where the hair was hanging a skeleton looking woman appears. The three friends then run for their life and try to escape the abandon building and its evil presence that is now stalking them.
These series of segments which are all reportedly base don true actual events is kind of like a Japanese version of the American show Ripley’s Believe it or Not. The sound design is extremely effective as is ads to the ambient mood of these stories and the eerie musical score that perfectly captures the tone of each segment. All of the ten segments are entertaining with my favorite segment being “Mystery of the Red Earring”. Scary True Stories is obviously a forerunner and major inspiration for the current horror boom in Japan. Scary True Stories is a stylishly directed series that reaches an artistic level that supersedes its shot on video limitations.
Dark Sky Films presents Scary True Stories it its original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio and this shot on video production which was made nearly fifteen years ago has held up well. The colors look moderately strong and flesh tones are natural looking. The black levels are strong and details are sharp through out. There is no sign of any print damage and the image remains stable through out.
This release comes with only one audio option the films original Japanese language track which is presented for this release in a Dolby Digital stereo. The audio is crystal clear as dialog is crisp and the music and effects sound evenly balanced. The music and effects for this sound mix have a lot of depth and give the front channel speakers a real workout. There are no problems with hiss, distortion or any other sound defect. Removable English subtitles have been included that are easy to read and follow.
Extras for this release are sparse and consist of trailers for Scary True Stories and Scary True Stories: Night Two. The only other extra include is a storyboard for the episode “House of the Restless Spirits” and it consists of thirty nine storyboard stills.
While the extras may be lacking for this release Dark Sky Films has done a wonderful good with the audio/video presentation of this DVD. Scary True Stories is a must have DVD for any serious fan of the current wave of Japanese horror films.
For more information about Scary True Stories and other titles released by Dark Sky Films visit their website.