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I’ve discovered lots of new fears thanks to the Japanese–the sound of a schoolgirl’s laughter…..teenage girl zombies….girl pop bands….unexplained visitors….and thanks to Uzumaki, I can add a new fear to my ever growing list of phobias.  SPIRALS.  Until now, I thought nothing of the spiral shape but suddenly….they’re everywhere….and they’re terrifying….

"Trust me when I say this is terrifying....."

Uzumaki is set in a small capeside town, where inexplicably the inhabitants start becoming obsessed with spirals.  Snail shells, vortexes, washing machines, whorls–nothing’s off limits here if a spiral is involved.  And speaking of the aforementioned things, they all factor in this movie, in one way or another.  People turn into giant snails.  A man commits suicide in a washing machine (did you know that was possible??  I didn’t.  And please, don’t try that at home, kiddos).  People are even slicing off their fingertips in an attempt to escape the evil evil spirals but alas, not even that can stop the towns peoples ever growing obsession and unique (and disturbing and sometimes disgusting) deaths.  At the center of it all is a young girl and her steadfast boyfriend who appear to be the only ones unaffected, the only ones who see the madness happening around them.  They try to save their families but….well, hell it’s a Japanese horror film, we all know how that’s going to go.

The movie is based on the episodic manga of the same name and while I’ve never read it, my research has shown this to be a fairly faithful adaptation, highlighting certain stories from the manga but having a different ending (it was finished before the manga).  There are some truly horrendous in an oh so good but oh so bad way special effects.  My favorite, was the tornado like spirals placed in the background that make it look like your t.v. screen is getting sucked away.  So….strangely….hypnotic….for some reason….

I personally think this was Japan’s answer to Terror Toons.   Doesn’t matter though.  It’s creepy, awesome, quirky, what the F— enough for me to want to add it to my collection!