The animations of Japan’s Studio Ghibli are amongst the highest regarded in the movie industry. Their delightful films rank alongside the most popular non-English language films ever made, with each new eagerly-anticipated release a guaranteed box-office smash. Yet this highly profitable studio has remained fiercely independent, producing a stream of imaginative and individual animations. The studio’s founders, long-time animators Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki, have created timeless masterpieces. Although their films are distinctly Japanese their themes are universal—humanity, community, and a love for the environment. No other film studio, animation or otherwise, comes close to matching Ghibli for pure cinematic experience. All their major works are examined here, as well the early output of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, exploring the cultural and thematic threads that bind these films together.
Successful in both Japan and the West, Akira had a huge impact on the international growth in popularity of manga and anime. Closely analysing the film and its key themes, Colin O'Dell and Michelle Le Blanc assess its historical importance, its impact on the Western perception of anime, and its influence on science fiction cinema.
Often subject to more cuts at the hands of the censor than a serial killer's razor, the horror film has a fascinating history, not only as film study but also as a look at what has been considered acceptable for the public to view, and what the state will allow its citizens to see. But for the most part horror films are about entertainment—consistently profitable, eminently enjoyable. From horror cinema’s beginnings in the late 19th century to the latest splatter films, from the chills of the ghost film to the terror of the living dead, there is more than enough here to keep fans awake at night. Among the many films discussed are the popular Dracula, Evil Dead, Frankenstein, Halloween, Ringu, Scream, and The Sixth Sense, as well as the more unusual Black Cat, The Living Dead Girl, Nang Nak, Rouge, and Les Yeux sans Visage. The guide also profiles such popular directors as Dario Argento, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg, Hideo Nakata, and Sam Raimi; as well as cult directors from around the world, including Coffin Joe, Jean Rollin, and Michele Soavi.