Junji Ito’s manga series “Uzumaki” is one of those things where, once you read it, you’ll never be the same. And now, Adult Swim is ready to drag us all down into the spiraling pit of doom with an animated adaptation set to debut on the Cartoon Network programming block in 2020.
The plot of “Uzumaki,” a manga series that dates back to the late-90s, coils around a town of people who basically go insane over increasing obsessions with spiral shapes — patterns in the clouds, everyday objects, hair, insects, skin, the gamut of prosaic horrors. There is no one villain or particular reason offered up as to the source of this collective mass, well, spiral; which makes it all the more terrifying. Leave it to the practitioners of J-horror to make the mundane utterly horrifying, and it’s no spoiler to say that much of this story ends up in hysterical suicide, murder, and ghosts of the past coming up for air.
The series will be directed by Hiroshi Nagahama, and will feature an original score by “Hereditary” composer Colin Stetson, who did the nerve-plucking soundtrack for Ari Aster’s 2018 film about people similarly being driven insane and to their deaths by terrors unknown. He also recently penned the music for the video game “Red Dead Redemption 2.”
“Uzumaki” was previously brought to the screen as a live-action movie directed by Akihiro Higuchi in 2000. The film sees a town of people become infected and terrorized by malevolent spirits that leave spiral shapes in their wake. It’s a weird, icky, grotesque film that’s difficult to shake off, in all its Lovecraftian, Cronenbergian horror. The AV Club wrote, “‘Uzumaki’ progresses like the life cycle of a butterfly, only the subjects begin as human beings and contort into giant snails, powerless to stop their bodies from betraying them.” This is required viewing for J-horror fans looking to add a little Lynchian spice to their evening.
Check out the trailer below for the Adult Swim series “Uzumaki,” which will unspool across four parts next year. This is the latest production of Adult Swim’s Toonami in partnership with Production IG USA.