Japan is known for having particularly freaky taste in entertainment, but a recent baseball game in Hokkaido proved macabre beyond our worst nightmares. That’s all because the dead girls from Ring and The Grudge decided to show off their own terrifying take on one of America’s favorite sports. Yes, really. And here’s how it all went down…
The night of Thursday, June 2 started off much like any normal baseball game. Fans flocked to the Sapporo Dome in Hokkaido to see their favorite team, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, go up against rivals the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
The stadium slowly began to hum with life as unassuming supporters from both sides filed into the venue and awaited the start of the anticipated game. Little did they know, though, of the horrors that lay in wait.
Spirits were high in the arena when the Fighters’ cheerleading squad entered the field. They quickly began working the crowd into a jovial mood to the upbeat sounds of a J-pop melody.
But as excitement in the audience reached a fever pitch, the night suddenly took a darker turn. Without warning, the image on the big screen flickered out, only to be replaced by ominous static.
Shuffling into view came an image familiar to millions of Japanese horror fans: a girl with a curtain of black locks standing alone in a deserted room. Fear spread through the crowd as the figure slowly and agonizingly began to creep her way into the foreground.
The cheerleaders scampered off the pitch, overcome with terror. At that moment, the doors leading on to the field heaved open and a ghostly figure slowly emerged.
From the sidelines stepped out Sadako, the wraithlike antagonist of 1998’s Ring, who would kill anyone foolish enough to watch a cursed videotape. Though fans braced themselves for the worst, a pitcher’s glove wrapped around her hand hinted that not all was as it seemed.
Still reeling from Sadako’s appearance, the audience received another shock when Kayako – the monstrous villain of 2002’s The Grudge – made her entrance onto the field. And locked in the apparition’s left hand was – you guessed it – a bat.
Terror soon spread to confusion as athletes and audience alike tried to make sense of what they were seeing. The look on the Fighters’ faces showed that not even they knew what was happening in their own stadium.
Accompanying Kayako was her equally nightmare-inducing son, Toshio, who took a seat on the field to watch his mom in action. White as snow and sporting a deathly stare, he wasn’t quite the mascot Fighters fans were used to.
As Kayako stepped up to the home plate, it quickly became clear that this wasn’t to be a haunting in the traditional sense; instead, the two ghouls were there to deliver the ceremonial first pitch and start the game in the most frightful way possible.
Organized in conjunction with Japanese film studio Kadokawa, the stunt was a means to generate publicity for upcoming horror mash-up Sadako vs. Kayako, which sees the two iconic monsters teaming up to wreak terror in tandem.
Ring and The Grudge, of course, achieved Western notoriety thanks to American remakes in 2002 and 2004, respectively. The original Japanese films, though, are as popular the world over, if not more so – thanks in part to the two horrifying female characters now limbering up to on a Japanese baseball diamond.
Squaring off in the diamond, pitcher Sadako attempted to psyche out her opponent with some creepily effective head shaking from the mound. However, the moves probably did more to weird out the audience than her foe.
Though Sadako threw a surprisingly accurate pitch – even with a wad of hair blocking her eyes – that still managed to be upstaged by Kayako’s remarkably accomplished batting, which sent the ball hurtling over the field at a lightning fast 60mph.
Visibly drained after making the hit, Kayako was replaced by a suddenly animated Toshio, who readied himself for a dash to first base. Once safe, the rapscallion raised his arms in celebration as the crowd looked on in bafflement.
Loving son Toshio even gave his stricken mother a congratulatory high five; however, any chance of this being a touching mother and child moment was ruined by the sheer creepiness of the whole event.
Unsurprisingly, the whole experience also left Sadako feeling somewhat depleted. Fans in the stadium were treated to the insane sight of the stricken specter being helped off the field by a mascot in a squirrel costume.
With Kayako and Toshio waving their arms in the victory, stadium-goers sat in amazement contemplating what they had just seen. One thing’s for sure, though: if their new movie is anything as scary as this preview, it’s sure to be a hit with horror fans.