Uzumaki - The Vortex

AKA: Uzumaki, Spiral, Vortex

Uzumaki - The VortexOriental horror films, without doubt, must rate amongst being some of the more bizarre productions in the modern horror market, either because of their graphic excesses, dark humour or surreal storylines. This particular one, Uzumaki (aka Vortex), is a Japanese effort and falls into the latter of those three categories.

Set in a small town named Kurozu, schoolgirl Kirie Goshima (Eriko Hatsune) becomes concerned about the local residents when they start developing a rather strange obsession with spiral objects.

It begins with her boyfriends father, who spends hours filming snail shells and then develops a strange taste for Narumon Rolls, because of their spiral pattern in the centre. Some of her classmates develop a fixation with the nearby lake because tornado's often touch down there, then one of the girls at school starts sporting a very bizarre permed hairstyle which appears to have a life of it's own.

When her boyfriend's father finally kills himself by spinning himself to death in the washing machine, she realises that something is definitely amiss, but aside from stories of an old curse neither she nor her boyfriend Shuichi (Fhi Fan) can find out what's affecting the town.

Based on the Japanese comic book of the same name, this is a bizarre, strange and extremely surreal film. It's not particularly gory, but is very visual in the aspects of its storytelling which was presumably done to retain the comic book feel. Should appeal to fans of Japanese horror films, but you might need to watch it a couple of times to understand it.

Overall marks : 5/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • The person pictured in the "Wanted" poster the cop is looking at near the start of the film was the creator of the Uzumaki comic book Juni Ito.

  • The films budget was $1 million.

  • This was the first feature film by director Hugochinsky (real name Akihiro Higuchi) who is better known in Japan for his work on promo music videos. Having won the "New Video Artist Award" in Japan in 1990 as well as being honoured in both the Fukui International Youth Media Art Festival and 8th FOTOPICA International Video Exhibition.

  • Actor Ren Osugi, who plays Schuichi's father, also starred in "Audition" by Takashi Miike.

  • Filming was completed in just 2 weeks.

  • Comic book author Juni Ito also created the "Tomie" series of books, which formed the basis for the ongoing series of "Tomie" films.

  • The film was shown before the Japanese comic book series had finished its run, and has a different ending, and explanation for the origins of the vortex that's affecting the town to the one in the comic.

Extra Info.

Cast & Crew.

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