Dressed in white with hair down, reflecting the traditional burial look for deceased Japanese women, the yūrei was an ancient image that suited the fading VHS technology that would entomb Shizuko. Nakata combined the ethereal form with Hijikata Tatsumi's erratic butoh dance style, to create a J-Horror equivalent to Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees. When director Gore Verbinski brought the franchise stateside with 2002's The Ring, he kept the instantly recognizable, creepy look.
Less recognizable: the women behind the locks. Thanks to an elaborate wig, and in American versions, 10lbs of latex boils and grime, actresses who imbue Shizuko with haunting vengeance are rarely appreciated after the fact. Ghosts in movies: They're people too!
With the third American installment, Rings, hitting theaters this week, here's an introduction to the women behind Shizuko/Samara, free of the hairties that bind.