ENTER THE DEN OF SIN: COMIC BOOK SCARES – JUNJI ITO ON FILM

We decided to take a quick break from the suck and some of us ventured outside to notice that someone had written “You’re gonna die” on the sidewalk directly in front of our house in day glow chalk complete with scary face holding a knife. As far as we could tell no one present was responsible and our neighbors have yet to fess up. On a regular day it would be fucked up enough, but considering it was movie night I was a little freaked. Mind you though, it was in day glow chalk, so I couldn’t really be that scared.

I had already seen “Uzumaki” on a VHS dub a couple years ago, but my Fiancé had been holding out for the DVD and I have to say it was worth it. More than any other film I’ve seen, “Uzumaki” captures the feel of Manga and Ito’s work in particular with it’s unsettling hyper-reality. It is very colorful and CG is used subtly to create background effects. I also felt really special catching the Junji Ito cameo (he’s on a wanted poster as himself), although apparently he also made a cameo in “Tomie” which prompted my Fiancé to proclaim Ito “the Japanese Stan Lee”.

The story, like many Ito stories, deals with a curse on a small provincial town in Japan, this time a “spiral curse” (“uzumaki” means “spiral” in Japanese). Although lacking in classic scares, the film is marvelously and quietly creepy and the eeriness sticks with you for a long time. Damon felt it necessary to point out each background spiral as it appeared on screen for those of us not paying attention. The rest of us were waiting for Christopher Lee to show up and explain everything like his character in “The Devil Rides Out”, but the movie did a good job of becoming mightily epic all on it’s own.

Rumblings from the peanut gallery: I’m glad that Graeme called Damon out for his support of Andrea’s inane starfish theory because it isn’t true that “friends don’t let friends sound like idiots”. In a lot of cases it’s kinda what we hope for so we can keep bringing it up for years to come, providing ourselves with much needed amusement. My Fiancé as usual was unapologetic for the suckiness of “Tomie”, but those who stuck around for “Uzumaki” managed to get their money’s worth. Everyone else had to content themselves with thoughts of “Tomie X” where she is resurrected on a spaceship with a bunch of actors from syndicated sci-fi shows and replaces her bits one by one with cybernetics.

Someone, I’m not sure who, raised an interesting question about the existence of female Japanese horror auteurs to which I couldn’t really reply. It would seem odd that there wouldn’t be any at all, but none come to mind. If you know of any, please let me know because I’d love to check it out.

Mariko McDonald and her fiancé host a weekly film night in their apartment, affectionately known as the Den of Sin. It’s kinda like evil film school. Monthly screening schedules are available at http:filmgurlland.blogspot.com and if you happen to live in the Vancouver, BC area and are interested in catching a screening please drop her a line at filmgurl79@hotmail dot com. Suggestions, hate mail and cute pictures of cats also accepted.

And of course you can always offer up some juicy Back Talk>>>




Posted on September 1, 2004 in Features by
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