In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Friday, May 23, 2008


You know, the Japanese never cease to amaze me. At times, their culture seems so different from ours. I mean, no matter how many fucked up things I uncover (thanks, mostly, to the Internet), there’s always another layer of insanity waiting underneath. And by no means am I being derogatory when I say this, for countless things from the rising sun have made their way into my beloved lexicon of cool over the years. I’m just saying that a country that has vending machines that dispense soiled ladies’ panties can be a little hard to decipher now and then.

Anyway, that was a bloated lead-in to this…

I was at my buddy Darryl’s place the other day and he asked me if I’d read Junji Ito’s Gyo. My knowledge of printed manga is limited at best, so I told him no. I had some time to spare so he handed me the two volumes and I rifled through them that afternoon. Gyo is about a vacationing young couple that are one night, attacked by a fish. That, in itself, would not be so unusual, except that they were on land... and the fish had legs! As things escalate, all aquatic life invades the city, throwing the entire island into chaos.

I’m still not fully clear on how to READ manga. I know you read it backwards sure, but I’m more referring to how the panels flow. I sort of have to take the page in as a whole and go from there, which can be a little overwhelming sometimes considering Gyo’s subject matter. With every page turn (back not over, of course), the story becomes more fantastical, and often disturbing. Thanks Ito. It never once occurred to me that sharks could evolve to facilitate walking on land… Until now. FUCK! I won’t go into too much detail, as Gyo is one of those things that has to be seen, rather than explained.

The stuff nightmares are made of.

I agree with Darryl that Gyo would make a crazy movie, but I can’t even begin to imagine how it could be adapted. It has a ‘marine steampunk’ style that would be very hard to pull off practically and even harder with CGI. Takashi Miike is certainly certifiable enough to try and tackle it, but the logical choice would likely be Ukrainian director Higuchinsky, who brought Uzumaki – another Ito manga – to the screen in 2000.

Uzumaki is another story that’s hard to describe. I saw the movie several years ago and all I really remember now are images. It was a strange experience that included schoolgirls with fifty-foot curls and dudes jammed into washing machines. And lots and lots of snails, which would lead me to believe Ito has a preoccupation with all things slimy; kind of like Lucio Fulci and eye trauma.

Gyo was something I absorbed very quickly and I didn’t really have an answer for Darryl when he asked what I thought. The imagery must have subconsciously had an effect on me though because two nights later – much to my chagrin – multi-legged sharks invaded my dreams.

So, that was my recent foray into manga. If anything, it got me back into reading graphic novels again. I’ve heard many favourable things about Charles Burns’ Black Hole (David Fincher is already working on the film adaptation), so yesterday I went and picked it up. I’ll be sure to let you know how it is once I’ve dug into it, but I still have that pesky Dark Tower to get through before that can happen though.

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