When The Ring first burst onto our screens in 2002, it was very different from a lot of the other horror films we were watching at the time. The adaptation of a Japanese movie brought the supreme chills that Asian cinema is known for, doing it in a creepy way that was at odds with the cheesy teen horror flicks we were used to. It even brought you as the viewer into the film, suggesting that just by watching it, you too might end up getting cursed.
It spawned a sequel in The Ring Two, but we had to wait a long time for the third instalment. Rings has been plagued with delays, but was finally released in the US on the 3rd of February. Now we have three full films of terrifying material, as well as two films in the Japanese version of the franchise – which means that there have also been a lot of terrifying moments behind the scenes. The images that we have gathered here for you are a collection of shots from the making of the films, as well as a handful of images that you might just get to see on screen.
Make sure that you read this article in a nicely lit room, preferably during the day, and with someone else around to stop you from getting too freaked out. And, just in case, you might want to pass the curse on by sharing it with your friends (or, you know, people you don’t like too much).
15. The Cupboard Girl
Ahhh, the girl in the cupboard. This one is a classic shot from The Ring, in which a schoolgirl who was Samara’s victim was discovered curled up as if to hide and escape from her fate. Rather than making it out alive, however, she was frozen in this position for all time, with a hideous grimace revealing her fear at the time of her death. This behind the scenes shot shows the actress having her make-up done while she sits in the fake cupboard that she will be filmed in later. It’s somehow even worse to think that it was all done in this tiny section of wide boarding, with boxes and bits of filming equipment strewn around her, and with the rest of the set fading away into darkness. You can already see the colour of her skin has been changed to a green-grey, in comparison with the make-up artist’s arm and hand.
14. Climbing From The Well
Samara’s legend has already been cemented to contain a few constants. There’s her creepy look with long black hair and an evil stare. There’s her ability to contort her body in horrible ways, as well as the torn finger and toe nails that were caused by her attempt to leave the well. Finally, there’s the well itself, which she climbs out of in order to terrorize her victims. In this early shot from Rings, we were given the confirmation that she would be back to doing what she does best in this film. Fans of Samara can certainly look forward to more of her trademark tricks if this shot is anything to go by. The central design theme of the franchise – the white circle formed by the mouth of the well – is also back in full force. There’s a lot to get excited about here for fans of the original movie, and the sequel.
13. Naomi Gets Direction
This shot is taken from the making of The Ring Two, and it shows Naomi Watts alongside director Hideo Nakata. He’s presumably explaining what he wants from her in the next scene. The reason this is creepy is because she is just casually standing there in Samara’s well. She might even be kneeling, given her height – which implies that this particular part of the set is just an illusion. But knowing what we know about the film, it’s really easy to imagine her holding on with one arm while her legs dangle over a dark abyss below, filled with horror and a dead body. She even looks a little bit unsettled, most likely because she is trying hard to take in the instructions that she is being given. It always seems weird to watch people acting normally on the set of a movie like this, which is about as far from normal life as it gets.
12. A Dark String
This is a shot from the early publicity about Rings, and it is definitely unsettling. It shows one of the characters drenched in water, as if coming out from the shower or a bath. She is obviously in a lot of distress, and seems to be pulling a black string out of her mouth. Since we know that the character of Samara tends to inhabit watery spaces, and that she has long dark hair, the conclusion is immediately obvious. This character is pulling a piece of Samara’s hair out of her mouth. It’s creepy enough that she could have a piece of hair this thick in her mouth. But the real question is, what is going to be on the other end? It almost doesn’t bear thinking about. This taps in to a very real fear that most of us have. Having something alien in your mouth and down your throat has been used again and again in horror movies because of the disturbing thought of it happening to us.
11. She’s Behind You
Rather than the Western franchise, this still is taken from the original Japanese film, Ringu. It depicts the female character just about to be captured by their version of Samara. There’s nothing about this image that is not disturbing: the innocent woman who has frozen in fear with the knowledge that she is about to be killed; the bloody and disgusting fingernails which creep towards her face; the long dark hair and grey skin of the ghost; and finally, her mad eyes, which suggest nothing like logic or reason can be used to deal with her. This is the moment right before disaster strikes for this unfortunate character. It’s certainly not a situation that you would like to be caught in yourself, or to witness in front of you. Imagining those fingernails suddenly coming into your vision is enough to give you chills, even without the consequences which are sure to follow!
10. Creepy Bust
This small bust looks to be a model of Samara, complete with creepy eyeless sockets and wrinkled eyebrows. It gets even creepier when you can finally tear your eyes away from the bust, hoping that it won’t attack you when your attention is elsewhere. That’s when you see the eyeballs sitting on the desk. There are five in different sizes – two pairs, and one large eyeball just sitting on its own. Each of them is covered in red lines, and no doubt one of the pairs will be inserted into this bust. It’s all just too realistic, and it almost makes you imagine that someone’s eyes have really been plucked out and laid on the desk there while they wait for their new home. This is not the kind of workshop you would want to wander into by accident.
9. Board Of Victims
Here’s another shot from the new instalment in the series, Rings. This shot at first doesn’t seem that creepy at all. Here’s a female character just walking around a room, taking a look at what she sees there. It’s done in the traditional grey-blue palette which has been used throughout the series, but that’s nothing new. But the creep factor really ramps up when you realize what you are looking at. The plot of this film centres around a researcher who has discovered people that have seen the tape of Samara and then died, and who decides to undertake some experiments to see if he can successfully pass the tape on and avoid his group of volunteers being stalked by Samara. The faces that we see on the wall are no doubt those who have seen the tape, and have either died or are about to die at Samara’s hands. That’s a lot of people for a single ghost to take out, even in those kinds of circumstances.
8. Samara’s Chair
This shot is just so creepy. We all know the character of Samara by now – the revenge-hungry ghost who likes nothing more than to climb out of your television screen and literally scare you to death. She’s back in Rings, to the delight of most fans, and will be terror-stalking a new set of characters all over again. This photograph was taken on set while the actress playing Samara waited for her turn in front of the camera. She is already fully done up in the make-up and wig for her character, and looks fittingly creepy. One of the worst things about Samara has always been her ability to contort in strange ways, and this photo taps directly into that. It’s also scary to see the make-up on her arms clearly – when she’s moving on film it’s not so clear, but here you can make out the veins and bulges as well as her claw-like fingers.
7. Arjen Tuiten
This photograph shows Arjen Tuiten, who is a makeup and special effects artist. He is known for working on films such as Pan’s Labyrinth and Maleficent, and was brought on board to work on Rings as well. This shot is an official publicity shot that he has been using, and you can see it or a variant of it on his profile page on IMDb as well as other industry sites. But this was actually taken behind the scenes while he was working on effects for Rings. While he stands confidently in the front of the frame, we can see some disturbing imagery behind him, such as the large skull painting or photograph on the wall. But for fans of the Ring franchise, the creepiest of all is Samara’s wig just casually hanging on the mannequin head in the background. It’s enough to make you feel as though the whole shot is haunted.
6. Partially Made Masks
Masks are creepy, but it’s even creepier when you see them being made. This shot from behind the scenes shows the process of making the prosthetics which adorn the actors’ faces. They are all made to fit using several moulds, as you can see here. The material is stretched to fit over the relevant parts of the face, and then patterned to look like real skin. The shape is kept by the mould as it dries and sets into the right position. The effects artists can then peel off each individual piece and apply them to the faces of the actors bit by bit, joining them together for a realistic effect. Here we can see both cheeks, a chin, and the upper part of the forehead and eyes. There is another piece of the mask just in the shot which we can’t quite make out, but which presumably would complete the face by positioning over the nose and upper lip.
5. TV Climb
This images shows us that Rings is set to bring the franchise right up to date. It shows Samara climbing out of a modern flat screen television, a little different to the older and bulkier models that she was using back in the first two films. It’s good to see an older film getting an update without having to reboot the entire series. This is also a good indication that you can expect lots of Samara attacks in the new instalment. The floor is slick with water that she spills out as she climbs, which only serves to make the encounter all the more deadly – especially when the TV set is right on the floor too. This moment is right before Samara looks up to claim her victim, as she contorts madly to make it out of the screen and onto the floor even in an odd position. Is it possible that the screen was laid down on the floor to prevent her from getting out?
4. Haunted Artist
This shot takes us right back to the first film, before we really knew what Samara was capable of. Unbeknownst to the character here, she is sneaking up on him from behind. As the audience, all we can do is scream at him to turn around and hope that he will do so before she catches up to him. But with this particular haunting, there’s really nothing that you can do to get away. You can run as fast as you can, but Samara can simply use her flickering video powers to move closer and closer to you when you least expect it. This shot shows another of those terrible moments when you know exactly what is about to happen, but there’s nothing you can do about it. It wasn’t long before this character was laid out on his chair, with an expression of fear on his face and an odd grey-green pallor over his skin.
3. New Headshot
One of the problems with creating a sequel so long after we were first introduced to a character can be with recreating the same kind of suspense and fear. Particularly when it all centres around a specific person, it’s tough to get it right after that person has aged or become too old for the role. In this case, that’s exactly what happened – the 12-year-old Daveigh Chase from the first film was certainly no longer a child, or even a teenager. But this first look at the haunting new visage of Samara proved that they had stayed true to the same vision with Rings. Just as we expect, we can see Samara with her grey-green skin, her long dark and matted hair, and her baleful eye just about staring out. It’s the stuff of nightmares for sure. You would never want to see this creature approaching you in real life.
2. The Mirror
Finally, here’s one of the creepiest images from the new film. Rings sees the return of Samara, and don’t we know it – this still really sums up the fear that Samara can bring. The main character is looking into a dirty old mirror, and is obviously horrified to spot someone behind them. It’s her, coming to claim her victim as penalty for not forcing anyone else to watch the video. She is blurred out of focus here, with no real detail to be seen, but even seeing her like this sends a shiver down the spine. It’s easy to imagine looking in the mirror to see her ghost moving towards you, with no idea of who she is or how she got there, unaware that you are about to face your own demise. That’s truly creepy stuff, so it’s no wonder that the studio made the decision to revive this franchise after so long.
1. Watch Me
The real star of the show, when you think about it, is the video tape. Here’s the vessel which carries Samara’s spirit onwards, haunting more and more people to claim as her own. If you never watch the video, then she can’t kill you. But as soon as you have watched it, you had better beware. If you don’t convince someone else to watch the same tape before the deadline is up, she will be coming for you. It’s fairly creepy to think of someone leaving the video for another person to find, knowing that they will be condemned to the same fate – but knowing it’s the only way to save themselves. The tape here is old and battered, with dirt and scratches over it. Even the ‘watch me’ label has seen better days, proving that this one has passed through more than one set of hands. If you found a tape like this, would you watch it?