chapter  5
18 Pages

Video Killed the Movie: Cultural Translation in Ringu and The Ring

BySteven Rawle

In the final pages of Koji Suzuki's Ring, as the protagonist Asakawa rushes off to save his family from the effects of a cursed videotape, he takes one last look at a photo of the villain Sadako and thinks, You sure gave birth to something nasty. Unnatural reproduction, technology, transmission, and pathology merge in Sadakos hermaphroditic and tainted body. Sadakos disruptive body does not, however, problematize the psycho-medical construction of gender and sexuality, but reifies gender binaries as natural; anything else can reproduce nothing but horror. She spreads, contaminating millions, until ultimately in Loop her disease emerges from the virtual world and infects the real world with a viral cancer. She is not pathologized so much as she is pathology. For Sadako, socially mediated survival in Ring means passing as a woman while alive and self-replication when reborn, yet ultimately her individual agency can only be manifested through supernatural violence.