Death and Fear by Virus in Zombie and Ringu Films

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Abstract

The Zombie and “Ringu” films, two of the popular horror movie franchises, have common elements, the most important of which centers on people’s longstanding fear of the virus, substantiated or otherwise. At the same time, the audience’s fear originates in contrasting kinds of unexpressed phobia regarding a drive to selfness. The zombie film reveals a hidden desire for the breakdown of selfhood and society under the very guise of its sheer opposite, while “Ringu” foreshadows an intrinsic fear of completely losing one's humanness to the ever-advancing informational technology that processes the self, shears it of autonomy, and manipulates it as no more than the system's unintelligibly coded data. Both zombie and "Ringu" films thus potently expose today's underlying anxieties through the effect of horror.