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— W.C.U.N — Pittsburgh!!

UZUMAKI (2000) Dir. Higurchinsky. Written by Takao Nitta, Chika Yasuo, Kengo Kaji based on a Manga by Junji Ito. Starring: Eriko Hatsune, Fhi Fan, Hinako Saeki, and Denden.

Based on Junji Ito's mindbending, gut-swirling manga of the same name, Uzumaki, the film, holds its place as one of the most unique films I've seen inside or outside of genre. The film's story and style is beyond strange even for Japanese Horror. Ultimately, we are bearing witness to a small Japanese village's descent into madness as they become obsessed with spirals so much so that one man stuffs himself into a washing machine in order to render his own body one. Another man gets ran over and is wrapped around the front tire in a spiral. Hair starts naturally spiraling, and then students at the local high school start turning into snails and that's about all I can say about that. Style, however, I can elaborate on because at first glance it might be easy to dismiss this one. There is a sick green patina over a world that already looks made for television. After a few scenes, however, the director makes this green TV world cinematic with his camera movement alone and we're left with a mash-up of two styles that should not work together, but somehow, in Uzumaki, do. The CGI of the time is, unfortunately, more cheesy than realistic and there are copious abuses of it here, but they are mixed with practical moments of real gore and high strangeness that somehow make the world of Uzumaki all the more real and unnerving. And then there are moments like the one captured in the GIF above simply illustrating a jealous boys voyeurism of the girl he desires. It's simple, funny, terrifying and utterly original - as if it came off the pages of the manga unspoiled by the typical process of cinematic translation. Uzumaki is a masterpiece of the weird and one you shouldn't miss. 

 

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