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Spectral Filtering: Smart Television on the “Silver Screen” in Gore Verbinski’s The Ring

  • Larrie Dudenhoeffer
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Abstract

Technically, Gore Verbinski’s The Ring (2002) is a remake of the Japanese film Ringu (1998), a supernatural thriller about a videotape that curses those who watch it, so that they die seven days after the viewing. The Ring’s title seems to refer to the mysterious telephone message—the ringtone—that the victims of the curse receive minutes after they watch the tape, informing them that they will soon die. Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), the sister of one of the victims, investigates the cause of the deaths, watching the videotape and tracing its source to Samara, the otherworldly foster daughter of two ranchers, Anna and Richard Morgan. Samara, able to induce terrifying visions in others, drove Anna insane; moreover, Rachel, over the course of the investigation, discovers that Anna threw Samara down a well near the cabin from which the videotape came.

Keywords

Video Stream Television Screen Stereoscopic Image Ciliary Muscle Spectral Filter 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Valerie Wee argues that The Ring reflects “the tendencies of post-1970s New Hollywood,” meaning that, as it shifts toward “multimedia conglomeration,” it tends to steadily erode the “traditional boundaries” that separate “national cultures,” as well as those that separate different media formats and their respective aesthetics. See Valerie Wee, Japanese Horror Films and Their American Remakes (New York: Routledge, 2013), 98.Google Scholar
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    Jeffrey Sconce, Haunted Media: Electronic Presence from Telegraphy to Television (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000), 4.Google Scholar
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    Ibid., 142. Theodor Adorno, in a similar vein, writes in “Prologue to Television”: “It is hardly too far-fetched to suppose that …reality is viewed through the filter of the television screen, that the meaning given quotidian life on the screen is reflected back upon everyday life itself.” See Theodor W. Adorno, Critical Models: Interventions and Catchwords (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998) 52.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Paul Virilio argues that time-shifting devices, such as VHS, organize and capture “a time which is somewhere else,” effectively creating “two days: a reserve day which can replace the ordinary day, the lived day.” He also sets forth a theory of space-shifting, contending that these devices also open up “an electronic cosmography,” an “optoelectronic image” that, as one of the main “architectonic” elements of the cityscape, offers constant access to other dimensions. Paul Virilio, “The Third Window: An Interview with Paul Virilio,” in Global Television, ed. Cynthia Schneider and Brian Wallis (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1989), 187, 191–92.Google Scholar
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    John Hartley, “Less Popular but More Democratic? Corrie, Clarkson and the Dancing Cru,” in Television Studies After TV: Understanding Television in the Post-Broadcast Era, ed. Graeme Turner and Jinna Tay (New York: Routledge, 2009), 20–21.Google Scholar
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    Michael Z. Newman and Elana Levine, Legitimating Television: Media Convergence and Cultural Status (New York: Routledge, 2012), 131, 145.Google Scholar
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    Daniel Chamberlain, “Scripted Spaces: Television Interfaces and the Non-Places of Asynchronous Entertainment,” in Television as Digital Media, ed. James Bennett and Niki Strange (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011), 238.Google Scholar
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    Anne Balsamo, Technologies of the Gendered Body: Reading Cyborg Women (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996), 125.Google Scholar
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    J. Hoberman, Film After Film Or, What Became of 21st Century Cinema? (New York: Verso, 2012), 43.Google Scholar

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© Larrie Dudenhoeffer 2014

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  • Larrie Dudenhoeffer

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