Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Happy New Year and a Quick thing on Resolutions and Comparing to my current trend of them now.

Ok everyone! Happy New Year's. Now that the New Year is here, let's get down to business. Now nothing is either more motivating or more loathed by than the New Year's Resolution.

Some claim if you we're going to change, you should've done it when you wanted too. That's true. And there are some who claim that no one can change because it's psychologically easy to go back to being the same. This is also true.

But the point is, can we really stick to our resolutions. Well... not really. And that's evident in my own personal resolutions. Let's take a look down memory lane at the beginning of the New Year and see what went right and what went wrong.

Ok. So I had 4 basic resolutions. Very Simple, general and a little specific.

"1) Lose some Weight. I have no real or clear goal but I do want to lose some body fat due to last years munchies and feasting due to some emotional and economic hardships and reanalyzing. So I'm hoping to lose 10 pounds overall in general if possible as I'd like to enjoy the upcoming 2018 Anime Expo again as I loved last years but I have to save up and really pay off some debts.

2) Pay off Debts. I got a lot to add onto but I know that I will fully pay of one I owe personally to someone else. I can't go into specifics in order to protect peoples Identities and for personal reasons. Also I plan to pay off more of my Credit card despite usual payments on to pay for car repairs.

3) Write More Often. I've been very lazy on completing my works and so I hope to finish 3 short stories, 1 play and a full draft of one novel. I'll be planning to write the 3 short stories soon with possible revisions later and I will be announcing my debut hopefully if I decide to though my original plan is to publish independently and then grow mainstream.

4) Read More Books. I have a lot to do with reading but I'm planning to read at least 6 books this year and work on 12 next year with a book a month unless I finish reading a book. So far on my list are The Vampire Lestat, We The Living, Nichomachean Ethics, Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, and The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty. All of various genres seen from Philosophy to Gothic Romance and Horror to Erotica."

Ok, now that I refreshed your memories. Let's look at how I did.

1) I did NOT lose any weight. I hate to say it but I gained weight and now I'm towards 179 to 180 pounds which is 10 lbs close to my old weight of either 189 to 191 lbs. There were days I shirked going to the gym and didn't get the grasp until later last year around August when I got to my aunt's gym since she's pretty much the fitness lady in my life. And trust me, eating a bar of candy a day didn't help either.

2) I did pay debts. I paid of quite the few but now I'm currently down to half of what I owed from the begining of last year though with some extra increases, I currently owe about $5,600 which is not too bad compared to most people around my age accumulating college debts of around $25 -$50-$100,000 dollars. ($25,000 to $50,000 I mean.) This is has been one of the more successful because I pretty much paid debt off every month because I have to with my credit card so kinda obvious but this year Might go better since this month, I'm finishing paying off one of my debts so that's good.

3) I didn't write as much as I should've. I haven't finished one short story. But honestly, I'm not losing too much sleep because I had to take care of responsibilities with bills, visiting my Great-Aunt and my current Lyft work first before hand and usually I have to jam all my resolution stuff in the morning. (A.K.A. writing and the gym) Even my blog posts are down because last year, I wrote about 23 articles compared to 65 but many of the 65 were pretty short. But also with the advent of me starting to work for The Gaming Lad, I also just began writing articles for video game reviews and I might expand upon maybe Opinion columns with them if I can request it. Oh also, just so you know, I'm going to be doing the Kingdom Hearts 3 review. Also NO SPOILERS! IF YOU DO SPOILS KINGDOM HEARTS 3 IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM, WE ARE NOT FRIENDS AND I SPOIL THE OTHER THINGS YOU LOVE: MILK, CHEESE, MOVIES, SHOWS, COMICS, MANGA, ANIME, AND ANYTHING ELSE I CAN THINK OF! I will repeatedly warn you all! Ok, now that's out of my system, on to my final resolution.

4)I read 5 books last year. The Vampire Lestat, Rebecca, Nichomachean Ethics, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, and Wuthering Heights in that order. So not 6 books but I did a good job. Compared to ... well I don't know the average number of novels people read in a year but I swear that 25 pages a day did help and despite long breaks between books, I did have a good time with reading them in the morning though now I'm debating about writing notes in them but I'm a book purist (keep them clean) so it's highly unlikely.

So what's my point. My point is, If we made the effort, we would've done our resolutions at the beginning of when we noticed a deficiency in our lives. Remember that success is habit but habit is is sure foolishly easy or painstakingly difficult to create and/or break. Some of us still have bad habits, others just are pushing through because of will and mentality. Don't let it discourage you though because you always have something to work on. I'm still trying to get past my procrastination and it's not easy.

And so now you're wondering what are my resolutions? Pretty much the same just without too much to focus on because really I got a lot to do this year too. I'm helping my grandfather retire, cleaning out our dirty and unkempt garage, paying back debt that's mandatory, my Kingdom Hearts review coming up at the end of the month, But in the end, it all depends on where my choices I do take me. I might change different things or I might stay the same again from last year. But remember this one thing as you make your choices this year everyone, ...


(Love your Fate)

In other words, once you make your choice, accept both it's beauities and tragedies it causes. I know this pretty philosophical for those who you just started to follow me but this is sage advice. It's a form of peace with oneself and to me, philosophy helps us both live and die well. So I hope you might take it to heart. Especailly since this year, I'll be reading the philosopher who said this quote. So now I'm gonna see my aunt, Read Good Omens, and try not to stress myself out too much this month hopefully and enjoy my fate.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Fragment of Horror 3

I usually dedicate this blog to Video Games so it should be no surprise that one or two should come forward on this list for our entertainment. And I do have one in mind. But let's talk about the history of horror games by focusing on a main problem that early video games had that tried to bring horror to the table.

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(Title Page to Ghosts and Goblins, one of the first known examples of horror video games)
With the picture, you think I might talk about this but since you know I want to surprise you guys, It's not the main feature. For Ghosts N' Goblins helped with shaping the horror video game landscape, it wasn't as scary with what we now expect from our Resident Evils, Silent Hills, Parasite Eve's (Go give the game a look; it has a pretty cool science fiction horror concept and a great score.), and Amnesias. Most video games of that time gave us a spooky level with monsters and zombies and a scary looking boss. But nothing that gives the aspects of horror the same appeal. With games like Ghosts' N Goblins, you get the full horror game but not the same survival horror aspects we associated with those games now. The elements of fighting the monsters are there but it's the subversion of power, the helplessness in taking away our power fantasies is what sells and makes a horror video game, a horror video game. And the game and the series I'm going to introduce features the beginning of those survival horror aspects. It's influenced two successors and both of them feature art from a die hard fan who finally accomplished his dream of making his own game. A game featuring the infamous Scissorman. My latest fragment of horror is ...

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(Box Art for Clock Tower for the Super Famicom, only released in Japan)

... The Clock Tower video game series and Spin-Offs

(The Concept Art of the Barrows Mansion in Clock Tower: The First Fear)

Clock Tower came out around the time of Resident Evil would come out (1995) so you guys know this was the very beginning of what modern Survival Horror would be based upon. (Although there is a debate on which horror game came with survival horror first, I prefer to thing of more that a group of games created the atmosphere needed. The Big 3 being Parasite Eve, the cult classic with deals with bio-horror, Resident Evil, the Zombie horror dealing with Claustrophobia in a twisted mansion, and Silent Hill, the town with cults and devils abound.) Now Clock Tower is a cult classic due to some weird things with how it was distributed and how each game eventually came out.

First, there is Clock Tower, usually referred to as The First Fear because when the west and other countries got Clock Tower, we got Clock Tower 2, the sequel to the first fear. But then it's learned that The First Fear was also remade, but the remake is pretty mixed. But the general aspects of both remained the same. It was a click and point game focused upon escaping the stalking murderer, Scissorman.

In the first two Clock Tower games (We'll just call them the Clock Tower Canon for short because everything else has been sister sequels on name alone with some reverence in 3 (the official sequel of 2)) the game play is simple, you are stuck being followed by the Scissorman as he tries to kill you. But interestingly enough, the game has a bit of a background plot more explored than other killers. Scissorman is actually Bobby and Dan Barrows, the children of Simon and his murderous wife, Mary (insert Anti-Virgin Mary horror trope here) and the Barrows (Burroughs in 3) are a family interconnected with Satanic rituals and sacrifices and Jennifer, the main character of the first two games, must solve the mysteries behind them while surviving the best she can.

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(If you play the emulation of First Fear, please get the perfume bottle mentioned)
Unfortunately, Clock Tower does suffer from some bad aspects that I do want to warn you for any casual horror game players here. You can only get the game through emulations for the SNES copy and the game play is SLOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! I'm not kidding, You have to be patient. Or run by double clicking where you need to go. And it will be annoying because running makes you lose stamina in The First Fear. (In 2, you don't need to worry about that!) And if Scissorman ambushes you and you don't have enough stamina, you die! It's cursor is a turn off for casual horror games usually and when you saw in the above picture about how I talked about the perfume. It's true. There is no notice about investigating important items until you find them so places that might take 30 minutes to an hour for speed players, will take a couple of hours to be extra sure that you're doing things right. (And you might not be sure if you're doing it right!) And this becomes prevalent when I talk about the positives. And in Clock Tower 2 you must suffer bad voice acting! THE MOST SCARIEST PART OF THE GAME! MWAHAHAAHAHAAHA! OH It feels good to manically laugh!

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(The Most Effective Weapon to Dilute attention and stop Scissorman. THE ... bedsheets? ... Seriously?)
But beside the clanky controls, the bad jokes I'm making, and some insufferable acting, the games have one thing right! Atmosphere and Horror tension. There are some jump scares, but instead of being forced upon us like FNAF (Five Nights at Freddy's for those who are unfamiliar with the acronym) and Spooky's House of Horrors, they build on the tension and the way Scissorman is avoidable by running but hearing the music change to a frightening theme is what really adds the pressure to escape insurmountable odds. Scissorman appears with some jump scares when you investigate locations you need to search very closely. But the horror is not the jump scares themselves but the tension as he creeps closer and closer waiting for you to make a mistake or run out of energy. In both Clock Tower 1 and 2, he does this with efficiency and skill. In Clock Tower 2, it feels even more random at times, and that's a good thing. But the replay ability is what makes these games work. You can have different scenarios and a host multiple endings from the worse to S or A Rank Best so you get to replay the game and maybe find a new story line you didn't expect to see. Of course, talking of the first two Clock Towers is incomplete without talking about the influences behind the game.

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(Dario Argento's Phenomena, the hugest influence for Clock Tower)
Hufumi Kono, original director took his inspiration for the game from his obvious love for horror and we can see it through the love of Italian Giallo Director, Dario Argento. (I admit Italian Giallo is a repetitive because Giallo is usually synonymous with Italian Horror) The film Pheonomena (Creepers here in America) has been the greatest influence due to Jennifer Connelly's appearance and character in this move. Jennifer Corvino, yes Jennifer C. plays Jennifer C., is a girl who can communicate with animals of all kinds, mostly insects, and solves a mystery and SPOILER ALERT! it's criminals are an insane mother and her disfigured child. Coincidence? I THINK NOT! And the character of Jennifer Simpson is modeled after Connelly in this film.

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(All the more Captivating. On the left: Jennifer Connelly in Phenomena. On the Right: Jennifer Simpson in Clock Tower)

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(Another influence was this Cult Classic Horror called The Burning and has the pair of Hedge Scissors inspire Kono to create his weapon for his assailant.)
For the symbolism of the game, I think it's interesting to note that Scissorman isn't a traditional killer. What I mean is, sure Freddy has his Claw and Jason the Machete and Leatherface, the chainsaw, but all those monsters, when they were first created (The 80's) were all metaphors against teens having premarital sex. (But obviously that didn't help, but it sure is a common trope where the killer kills the couple having sex.) Their weapons all representing phallic imagery usually penetrating women commonly. (I don't even know how this was made as being a metaphor when one penetrates with pregnancy and one actually pierces your guts and isn't fun. But then what about the guys they kill?)

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(All the Serial killers symbolizing teen sex who murdered guys)
Scissorman is just a maniac. (For the differences between Maniacs and the crazies, Maniacs will stab people with scissors to death, a crazy person stabs people with scissors to death but wears a Bugs Bunny suit. THANKS George Carlin!) And that's pretty much it for symbolism but if you want to know why Kono chose Scissors, it was generally to make the victims be tortured longer than anticipated. A Shank to the stomach and a gunshot is pretty cut and dry but Kono goes for sadistic torture porn style executions with Scissorman, although it's usually off-screen or Implied by some Game Over screens.

But now let's get to the Sister Spin offs. There are 3 but I say 5 because the main game series did inspire two spiritual successors. So we got Clock Tower 2: The Struggle Within (Or GhostHead in Japan), Clock Tower 3 done by Capcom, and Haunting Ground for the first spiritual successor. Then you have two fan successors. One by Hifumi Kono called Night Cry and the other by one of the head artists and a favorite of mine Chris Darril, who developed Remothered: Tormented Fathers.
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(Box Art for CT2:TSW)

All I can say about The Struggle Within is ... it's bad. But I don't think it's as bad as people like to say. To be honest, the main disappointment comes from the later parts of the game. The beginning is filled with good tension and horror anticipation. Though it's weak plot and the overly abundant confusion of the Hospital area in the game, it's generally ok. It plays regularly to the Clock Tower game. But there's a lot more cheesy voice acting. I hope you like House of the Dead Games and other cheesy voice acted games guys! But the Golden Radio award goes to the great Roger Jackson, who voices Bates in this game. If you're wondering why I haven't explained the plot, it's that it gets kinda weirdly melodramatic.

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(Bates (Alyssa's alter ego) explores her cousins room. )

Basically you play Alyssa Hale, who visits her family after being moved to them. However, we learn she has a split personality named Bates. Her family is later revealed to be an adopted family and that her adopted father actually gave her biological father a cursed statue with a bacterium that creates zombies and they've been released upon the city. But the cursed statue also serves as a weird mcguffin since the player destroys the Statue but it leads more to discussing the Maxwell Curse (Alyssa's real name is Lynn Maxwell and her father is George Maxwell who has a family curse of twins who cause harm to the family and they bury the children alive.) Look I'm not gonna sugar coat this because the plot is ok. It's not twisted but it is kinda dumbly confusing with the unnecessary plot twists like how Alyssa is adopted which doesn't necessarily add to the horror. But let's get to the next game so we can get on.
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(The Dark Gentleman appears near the Hamilton Mansion, the main hub of Clock Tower 3)

Clock Tower 3 has only 2 references to the original canon. This was the situation with the surname mentioned of the family of evil, The Burroughs (originally called Barrows in translations of the first 2 games but in the earlier clip comparing the Clock Tower Dubs from Japan and the West, they say the BURROUGHS mansion not the BARROWS mansion like the Western dubs. And the second is their not so well done tribute to the Scissorman characters, now instead of serious stalker serial killers, they're (it's a set of twins, one male and one female) portrayed as Jester Insane Killers who wield scissors and just carry the name though the game does give a little exposition.
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(The Corroder, a former human who dissolved humans in corrosive acid and now tries to kill Alyssa, the main protagonist)
Clock Tower 3 was the first non Human Entertainment game made with Capcom making the game. However, this meant that a new team would be made and new ideas implemented. Involved in the making was the late Kinji Fukasaku, a famous Japanese screenwriter and film director, who helped give a film theme to the game, giving an extra depth to the game with mo-cap blocking helping the 3D team develop the game. (It especially helped that his last great film was the controversial and popular Battle Royale, now a video game genre and novel genre with Fortnite and the Hunger Games being iterations of this film concept.) But sadly despite this help and assistance with a good script and atmosphere, the game ended up leading to poor sales. Probably a big one being those who critiqued the shortness of the game and the mechanics feeling weak and out of place despite those who have played Clock Tower know this was part of the strength of the game. But you can't replicate everything but at least Capcom tried. And try they would again.

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(The Main Cast of Haunting Ground (Left to Right) Debilitas, Daniella, Hewie, Fiona, Riccardo, Lorenzo)
Their luck would be on Haunting Ground. Another game with mixed reviews but this one had a different atmosphere. This one based on helplessness and Objectification. Poor Fiona Belli witnessed her parents death and has been kidnapped by a mysterious master of a castle. The place is owned by the mysterious Lorenzo, an alchemist. And apparently, his homunculi children, Debilitas, a Frankenstein monster with a childish persona, Riccado,  Lorenzo's clone and son, the maid Daniella, a beautiful woman who can't feel pain, all want Fiona dead to reclaim different aspects of how they view her.
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Belli Castle, where Fiona's nightmares take place.
The atmosphere of Belli Caslte also helps with the telling of the story. It goes back to the First Fear days of a confusing and kerfuffled manor. And the taking of another Gothic house adds to the game's design and horror elements, tracking back to classic gothic stories like The Castle of Otranto. But as I said earlier, Fiona's objectification is what sells the horror of the game. Her helplessness in only having Hewie, a dog who serves as companion throughout the game. However, the game heavily relies on the scenes where she can't be with her pooch friend. Seeing them treat her as a doll (Debilitas) a female trophy (Riccardo), the only way to get to be human (Daniella) and an object to obtain immortality (Lorenzo), each of Fiona's stalkers lends themselves into having her for lustful, envious, or even toy like reasons.

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(Concept art for Night Cry)

But then we have the final two selections. The recent revivals of the Clock Tower mechanics. We have Night Cry, where our Scissorman character is finally back with a new design and the identical MO. But sadly this game got mixed to negative reviews but if you are a fan of the Clock Tower series, it would still be worth having in your library. After all Hifumi Kono did develop the game and one of the main artists did help in creating the final game so far from the spiritual successors of Clock Tower. Remothered: Tormented Fathers.

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(Logo Art of Remothed, done by Chris Darril)
Remothed: TF was originally supposed to be a remake of Clock Tower with added stalkers and just as creepy an artistic style and with updated mechanics and a new soundtrack. Now you've noticed the art of Night Cry in the last pic and this logar art is similar because Chris Darril, producer and art designer of Remothed, also did Night Cry and other game art all the while pursuing this goal of making this game. The game has received positive reviews and one has called it "The Clock Tower Successor You've been waiting for!" And now that part one is released, hopefully this will persuade him for getting the remaining two parts. And with that, we shall put the scissors away.

Thanks for enjoying this article.

Here's some resources and fun videos on the Clock Tower Franchise.

Remothed: Tormented Fathers on Steam

JonTron's Clock Tower Review and Look

Nitro Rad's Clock Tower 2 Review and Look

Clock Tower 3 (PS2 Review) from Stop Skeletons from Fighting

How Haunting Ground Scared my Teenage Self by ValkryieAurora

Monday, October 8, 2018

Fragment of Horror 2

Since it's Halloween, all the theme parks and Halloween inspired locals from all over the U.S. and the world will be opening up. Knott's Scary Farm, Halloween Horror Nights, the Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride in Pennsylvania (Running 28 years! Congrats guys!) Terror on the Fox in Winsconsin, Thrillvania in Texas, and others opening their doors and getting ready for a new season of terror and fright. But the most common of all these places is that at least they all have a big haunted house. And the idea, since the early Victorian Literature era, has influenced pop and high culture for so long.

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(Concept Art for a famous attraction. Read further for the reveal of my second fragment of Horror)

Like the concept that we in this picture for the haunted house we'll see in this article, many stories either have ghosts or Gothic drama that happens and that gives a home/manor, a haunted house atmosphere. You have manor houses like Northanger Abbey, Manderlay from Rebecca, Shirley Jackson's Hill House (Soon to be a Netflix series and the trailer looks great. I hope the re-imagining of the story is a success.), Collinswood from the series (NOT THE MOVIE!) Dark Shadows, and who could forget The Overlook Hotel and Rose Red from Stephen King. But my second fragment of horror was a collaborative effect. One so famous that the concepts and ideas had so much that they had to find ways to remake the ride from a walk through, to a museum holding weird and creepy objects, a home to evil and treasonous people from history, and had a Bluebeard type wife killer. But it all eventually came to a simple philosophy about the ride "We'll take care and clean up the Outside, and the ghosts can take care of the Inside." This was said by Walter Elias Disney and the concept art you're looking at is ...

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(The Haunted Mansion in all her Southern Gothic Antebellum Glory)

The Haunted Mansion, my second Fragment of Horror.

You're probably wondering, why the hell is this on here? It's not a scary ride. Well it scared me when I was young and I took thinks literal but don't insult me for it! But this article is more about the concepts and the impacting legacy of one of the most rumor and fan theory laden rides and sadly a dying part of a great theme park. A true and somber Gothic tale in it's own right. But most don't know that the concepts for this Haunted Mansion went as far back as the first days of Disneyland. In fact, Walt Disney himself wanted such a house in the most oddest of places.

In the early days of acquiring some orange groves, Anaheim would be forever changed by the vision of Walt Disney himself, his 9 Old Men animators and newly solidified cast of artists and designers who though, never made theme park attractions before, would now begin with innovating technology and ride ideas to make a theme park in Walt's vision. From a simple train ride though his Burbank back lot to grow ever bigger into the theme park we know today, Disney's original concept pitch for the mansion would be to put it, in all places, Main Street U.S.A.

The concept art you saw earlier was supposed to be in Main Street U.S.A. with the house on a hill, (All the Haunted Houses are on Hills, what is up with that?) And so you got a Haunted House near Main Street scaring the kids before they got into the park in contrast to the happy and nostalgic view of Main Street with late 19th-early 20th century America. But the main issue was how would this ride be sold to the audiences? Enter one Disney's greatest concept rivalries, Claude Coats, animator and set designer, who wanted a scary haunted mansion which would be attributed to how Disneyland would promote innovation and design in creating a new standard for theme parks, and Marc Davis, legendary animator and one of the 9 old men, who wanted a silly and family friendly ride since Disneyland's main attraction was to be sold as an experience for all to come.

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(And our first two major players are here. Claude Coats, Disney's Gentle Giant)
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(And Marc Davis, working on art for Pirates of the Carribean)
This rivalry happened for quite a long time. Two major and important members of the Disney staff, influencing the tone of what would be a beloved E-Ticket Experience. But in the end, we got a combo of both but this doesn't end the main problems of this ride. After all, it did take 16 years to get it all together. And 3 were without the main man at their side. But with a concept finally revealed, now it was the time to get the settings and illusions ready for the mansion. And with that, we have two other guests to introduce but here's a picture of my favorite illusion that stumped me for a while thinking ghosts did exist.

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(The Ballroom Scene, depicting the famous stage and ghost illusion The Pepper's Ghost Trick)
Another reason why the Haunted Mansion works so well is because the Illusions are surprisingly effective and timeless. Though the illusions were developed by 19th century phantasmagoria thanks to magicians and illusionists who were popular at the time. Pepper's Ghost, the effect used in the ballroom. was commonly used in theatrical productions of A Christmas Carol, Macbeth and Hamlet, and other plays that feature ghosts. (If you wish to know more about Pepper's Ghost, click this link. It features a talk with Rolland (Rolly) Crump, one of the two illusionists and designers of the Mansion.) The Endless Hallway is another such illusion of the 19th century. (A Mirror being used and the lighting and darkness to make it appear as endless.) But with 20th and 21st century technology, we have the animatronics and the Holograms (some even describe holograms as perfected Pepper's Ghosts because they are inspired by the same technological idea but have more clarity for realism or whispiness for ethereal-ism.) that are made to look real towards us. It combines so well with the dark lighting to make the illusions realistic to make the haunting real towards us.

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(Yale Gracey attending to the Hatbox Ghost)

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(Rolly Crump taking a Tiki Room Tiki out of Disneyland)
All of the original Illusions came from the two guys who experimented with it, (Yale Gracey (who many attribute to being the surname of the owners of the mansion due to the Gravestone Tribue) and Rolly Crump (designer and Disney Legend)) And Rolly helped design some of the concepts for what would be included in the Mansion, The Museum of the Weird and it was as weird and scary for it kept Walt Disney awake and in his clothes the next day after he witness the designs.

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(A Candle-holder Lizard and a Vampiress Statue)
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(A Gypsy Caravan: A possible influence for Madame Leota)

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(The Fortune Teller's Room with a Grandfather Chair. One would be in the Haunted Mansion in Disney World.)

Spooky isn't it! You Couldn't possibly imagine that people would accept this stuff in Disneyland. In fact, showing you this is actually part of all the concepts of the Haunted Mansion. You had the Museum of the Weird but some of the few mentioned usually focused upon Captain Gore. And God it was a lot bloodier than imagined. He was a Pirate who would tie into the Pirates of the Caribbean ride as a bloodthirsty pirate whose wife, Priscilla, learned of his pirating ways and would be silenced forever. The WDW tombstone tributes has a slight reference to this Bluebeard style evil with having a mausoleum an actual  Capt. Bluebeard have 7 wives who would die one after another except his last wife who would kill him.

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(Concept Art from Ken Anderson of Gore and Priscilla)
But now for the rumors and theories. One of my favorites is why it took so long for it to come together. People actually thought it was so scary one person had a heart attack and that the Disney animators did their job too well. Some have also claimed in the trial run of the ride, someone tried walking out of bounds and fell into a snake pit and got nearly poisoned to their death. (I Learned about this one recently!) Another too scary theory goes into one of my favorite characters of the ride, the renewed variation of The Hatbox Ghost! Some people have wondered whether it was an illusion or just a Disney Secret that they had experimented with gone wrong and was too scary. It was seen in media of the Mansion but never made an appearance. It turns out it was there but it was removed because the head removal and reappearance trick didn't work out too well in the dark.

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(Because nothing Screams Walt Disney and The Happiest Place on Earth like Suicide, Murder, and over morbid Death)

And now for the theories. One popular theory claims that you actually die in the Haunted Mansion. When you first enter through the doors of the mansion, you see simple tricks of the light and optical illusions, nothing too concrete. But one you finish your seance with the Madame, you are brought to the Ballroom to see the ghosts who vanish and reappear before you. After the Bride scares you, you fall down to your death from the attic and the reason the Caretaker is so scared is because he sees new ghosts to join the fray! And the Graveyard swinging wake opens ups to welcome you as newly made members and residents of The Haunted Mansion. Another is that people actually believe the mansion is actually haunted with real ghosts. The mansion is a popular resting place for beloved one's ashes and are usually distributed around the ride illegally and some have claimed they see ghosts that weren't audio animatronics. One lady spread her son's ashes saying this ride was his favorite and she would love for him to officially rest in peace here. (I mean The Haunted Mansion was advertised as a Retirement home for Ghosts.)

But yes, it's a lot to take in with everyone involved and it was a primarily collaborative effort. But in hind site, it references and is a sad reminder of what now happened to Disneyland. For this ride was one of the last remaining original Rides that would be in Disneyland. Think about it, most of the rides are all based on Disney properties. It's not a bad thing but it reflects a creative drive now gone that has to be molded to the style and appearance of that attractions property. Tom Morris (another Imagineer who retired in 2016)  confesses in this article some days back that "Walt allowed all of these people to show their own style. It wasn't a big corporate guidebook or style guide. Walt allowed there to be a Marc Davis style, a Claude Coats style, a Mary Blair style and Rolly — Rolly is definitely one of the Disneyland styles." Disneyland was the allowing of multiple artistic and aesthetic styles blended beautifully together and sadly, the Parks have mostly forgotten this. And this is why I noted this is a tragedy in the similar style of a Gothic Romance because The Haunted Mansion is truly the ghost of a Concept of Disneyland far forgotten. The last original Ride was Big Thunder Mountain with Tony Baxter (my favorite Imagineer) helping conceive the ride altogether.

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Tony Baxter helping Shape the E-Ticket Ride, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
It's a dying art that Tony might be one of the last Imagineers to have his own style to the parks. In fact he himself shaped the European Village aesthetic most of us grew up with and don't even realize. So let's take a look at this Haunted Mansion with a new appreciation. A Gothic Southern Belle, like in "A Rose for Emily", reflecting days since past but instead of living in the past truly dead, let's live it up like the Ghosts and have a swinging wake of a time, with all the creative and artistic freedom to truly make wonderful things.

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(A Panorama View of the mansion. And no that hearse wasn't carrying Brigham Young for his funeral.)
Thanks for reading this little gem. I would go on longer but there is so much more about this and would need a second article to reference more.  (From the Sister Mansions of Phantom Manor and Mystic Manor, to the expanded Dutch Colonial cousins that have a Library, Music Room, and in one, a room that M.C. Escher would love. And of course, the cast of voices to chill your spine and even the awful film (but it did have beautiful set designs) and also the new Ryan Gosling and Guillermo del Toro and other fun facts too. Even two different comic book series.) But enjoy the following YouTube posts and articles referenced and cite sources for this article.

Chef Mayhem's Doombuggies: A Tribute Site to the Haunted Mansion (You'll need to run adobe flash)

David Oneal's Haunted Mansion Documentary

LA Times: An early Disneyland designer won over Walt Disney with his rebel reputation. Now he laments: ‘The park is gone’

Disney's Haunted Mansion (Florida) Behind the Scenes Tour with Tony Baxter

Check Out Offhand Disney's 31 Nights of Halloween to some Haunted Mansion facts.

And for some Gothic Horror, here's the fan story Nuptial Doom: The Haunted Mansion and the Bride in the Attic. It features Kat Cressida, voice of Constance Hatchaway: The Black Widow Bride.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Marcos' Fragments of Horror: Fragment 1

Welcome Foolish Mortals to my Fragments of Horror. 13 articles of Halloween/Horror/Spooky topics I want to discuss with you! I see you are very intrigued by it by clicking on this article. Well, let's fall down this rabbit hole and get down to brass tacks shall we?

So let's discuss my first one. SO I have a question to ask before we get to the meat of our situation. What makes horror compelling? How does something so visceral ... so grotesque... so utterly unnerving get so much of our attention, in both the Halloween season and out? Well, there have been some reasons why. One is The Paradox of Horror as presented by Noel Carroll
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(Cover of The Philosophy of Horror with the Grotesque Saturn Eating his Children painting)
Although I haven't had the time nor the chance to read the book, (and the copies are damn expensive) one of the main theses that Carroll promotes is the paradoxical nature of Horror. Horror is characterized in how the visceral, grotesque, and unnatural is what makes it psychologically appealing to us. So yeah, its a common sense reason but it's how it's primarily marketed. The Unnatural happenings of the Overlook Hotel persuade us to read The Shining, the grotesque murders of Hannibal Lecter and Jame Gumb (Buffalo Bill) gets us to follow Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs, and the visceral body horror seen as the Antarctica scientist team fights The Thing. But one of the most prolific and grand auteurs of this philosophy is H.P. Lovecraft, the voice of Cthulhu Mythos altogether and writer of spectacle horror fiction. But we aren't going to talk about H.P. Lovecraft. We are going to talk about another author who takes direct influence from Lovecraft with his paradox of horror and investigative spectacle horror. And here he is!
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(Ladies and Gentlemen, Meet Junji Ito, My first Fragment of Horror)

This is the Manga Artist and Writer Junji Ito. A Pioneer and creator in making his own style of horror. It's a interesting mesh and combination of horror techniques from people like H.P. Lovecraft with Spectacle Horror and taking elements of Body Horror from people like David Cronenberg and Surrealist/Monster Horror from H. R. Giger, the creator of Alien. His style is the combination of the words I mentioned for horror. Visceral, Unnatural, and Grotesque. And to make his fame even more infamous, he is collaborating with Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro for Death Stranding, the video game they have collaborated upon since Silent Hills was canceled. In fact, one important detail that stems from such hyperrealistic depictions of body horror in his works stems from his work as a dental assistant while also inking his own manga shorts to Manga Papers.

Now this article will be dedicated to 4 of his stories that I find best detail the psychological and body horror elements. I have the look at "The Library of Illusions", the "Ribs Woman", "The Enigma at Amigara Fault" (Please click on them in order so you can read the stories and have an extra step into understanding his world and also, it wouldn't be fun to analyze his work if we don't read it right?) and the only long story to be considered a novel Uzumaki. These stories I have chosen have been ones I have read and researched as well as have gotten with my sources to help with the stories! But to let you guys know, about two paragraphs will be dedicated to a simple summary for refreshment and I'll go into what makes these stories tick as well as what makes them pretty profound in Ito's themes and common tropes.
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(The cover page of Library of Illusions by Junji Ito)
"The Library of Illusions" is featured in his anthology New Voices in the Dark: Splatter Film. (This is a rough translation since mostly independent translators and fan translations primarily have translated the title as well as many of his works other than his more popular ones like Gyo, Tomie, and Uzumaki or his more modern anthologies like Fragments of Horror which my article series has taken tribute from. However, I feel in order to get the full experience from these stories, I would like my readers to find them first. I will include links to the stories so you may read them. Then once you're finished with the first 3, you may decide or not to read the 4th but it depends on your time and your tastes because Lovecraftian Horror is quite spectacle-driven and the imagery is a lot more gruesome due to the length of the story. (Honestly, I find it a bit gruesome to finish. Uzumaki that is but we'll get to that later.)

So in this little yarn, a young couple, newlyweds, are living in the husbands family house. The husband, Goro, inherited a massive library owned by his parents, 150,000 books of all kinds inside with first editions galore and has preserved them wonderfully. When two books disappear, both his parents favorites, he freaks out and Goro and his wife, Koko, search for them. But then he shows up with both love and affection and later clawed and scared when he claims the two books came to life as personified people affecting him differently with his mothers favorite book, Wintertime for Rene, symbolizes the joy and happiness Goro had with his stable family before his mother divorced his father. But his father's story is a psychological monster horror called Hellskin, and Goro's father would abuse his son every night with reading passages.

After fighting the ghosts of his past, and the books, with reciting their respective books back to them, Goro wants to make extra sure that he never loses a book again. But how does he manage such a feat when he organized and memorized the location of each book? By reading all 150,000. Encyclopedias, Atlases, Horror, Fantasy, Dictionaries, Histories, ... all become part of his mind. But as soon as he starts this mission, he already descends further into insanity, a fear his wife was constantly noticing with his neglect upon himself and her. But now once he finishes his goal of all 150,000, he has completely, lost his psychological/mental humanity. His obsession consumed, he is now at the mercy of his library, reading and reciting knowledge repetitively but normal speech patters and remembering his own name and wife are foreign to him. Trying to make sure the library doesn't consume him, Koko burns the library. However, Goro stays behind and is burned to death along with the library his family preserved. But now that the police arrive, Koko explains the unbelievable accounts and even says that the only surviving relative is Goro's father in the hospital, and in the final panel, we see what could've happened to Goro, a shell of a lost man, with only a library obsession holding him together.

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(Goro and Koko are about to be stalked and worse with Hellfire on the loose)

So while you're digesting the imagery here, you've noticed the worse that Ito has done with inking his stories is the creepy Hellfire with his shriveled face and the father who looks pretty similar to the book he used to abuse his son. As I said earlier, this is but a taste of what's to come but I wanted to suggest this more for the psychological horror than the monster horror. As a voracious reader in my past, (and sometimes today) reading this story affected me more than usual, especially as an analyst and a reviewer. And using the books as a obsessive way into insanity makes it more compelling on my end but why? Well, it's in part of Ito's philosophy on horror. When Ito makes a story, he focuses on a mundane event or item in life in general, usually with a positive connotation like with book reading for example, and turns it on its head for the madness and show to begin.

With Ito's work on The Library of Illusions, we see the simple and enjoyable task of reading a book, and many of us love a good story, and takes it further with making it a task that could lead to insanity with pursuing knowledge, even if it is to destroy psychological monsters from your parents favorite books, just with how Ito makes Obsession lead to Insanity. But that draws us in because of how Goro is falling into the spiral of madness. Goro attempts to fight against his monsters by pulling further into the void and thus he becomes it, enraptured and becomingly enamored by it. And this is an important aspect of Ito's work that comes from his big influence, Lovecraft,: the spectacle story.

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(Goro listening to his own madness and beginning to lose both identity and sanity.)

The spectacle story isn't like a traditional narrative due to how the main characters aren't fully dimensional and are caricatures. We know nothing of backgrounds, personality traits other than general madness from Goro and concern from Koko, and even their looks, and we see this a lot in Ito's works, are very generally plain and simplistic. But this element from Lovecraft is done paradoxically, making us ever enamored into the story. And maybe it's for the better that we don't get too sympathetic with our characters. If we do, once they die, we have no interest in the story anymore. The connection is gone. But with the spectacle story, we get the opposite for the spectacle in of itself is what draws us closer to each characters fate, and luckily Koko is one of the lucky characters for many of Ito's characters often must succumb to their fates of punishment, insanity, torture, or even death (and it's usually a death that rivals the fate worse than death).

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(The Title Art Picture for The Ribs Woman story by Ito. The two protagonists, Yuki and her brother Keisuke)

"The Ribs Woman" features more of the body horror elements that many fans of Ito expect and the tale is as mysterious and vile as the titular character herself. While also being an urban horror myth style narrative, the "Ribs Woman" also adds another element of Ito's work, social commentary. But this commentary, though predominantly applicable to Japan, has some parallels to even the West's issues.

In the Ribs Woman, Yuki is jealous of her brother, Keisuke's girlfriend Ruriko. She loves her but she's jealous about how she has the perfect frame and decides to have cosmetic surgery to remove her lower ribs to have a more appealing frame. A couple of nights after her meet up with a specialist, Rumiko keeps claiming to hear a mysteriously creepy song from somewhere, unlike any instrument she's heard but stalking and horrifying her. As they follow the sounds, Yuki and Rumiko lead the way, Keisuke hears nothing but tags along for protection, to the park and find a mysterious woman playing a strange harp with one string and bent weirdly. She laughs and disappears but they find that the peculiar harp is a rib bone with piano wire tied to plunk it. Rumiko destroys the rib and makes sure that her boyfriend and sister never tell about this strange occurrence. But after she destroys the rib, the next day she doesn't appear at school and it would be a couple of days later that Rumiko would be found dead with all her ribs taken out of her.

Despite all the shock to her, Yuki still goes to her specialist and he reveals the revelation that he was the one who help with Ruriko's rib removal surgery, thus giving her the new body frame. But he also mentions, quite oddly about another patient he had, his first ever and his first failure apparently. Yuki is pleased with her new body and look but it's not to soon when she hears the music again. Yuki travels alone to find the mysterious harp player. This time she reveals the new rib harp she's playing is Yuki's own, just like when she played with Ruriko's earlier. But then she reveals her purpose and nature for attracting them both with a swan song. The titular Ribs Woman opens her blouse to reveal a mesh of Rumiko's rib bones and piano wires that disturbingly turned her into a human harp. Calling out to the doctor who helped Yuki, the Ribs Woman wants Yuki's ribs inside her body. Complying he agrees and Yuki is nearly killed but Keisuke finally comes to her rescue and the doctor is arrested. But the Ribs Woman is still at large and if you listen on eerie Tokyo Nights, you can hear her demented rib harp play out.

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(The intertwined ribs of the Ribs Woman)

Hehehe. So this tale now goes into the elements of Ito's hard work and hyper-realistic detail when it comes to his body horror. That rib cage she has sure does scare one out of their skin. (Hopefully once you're out of it, she doesn't try to steal your ribs ladies.) The story has elements of urban legend, kind of similar to a more modern take on horror, the Creepypasta tales of now. The tales are kind of similar to spectacle stories of Lovecraft, with the monster and or the event in question being the similar circumstances of leading our readers into the abyss of horror. But it also goes deeper with social commentary, mostly dealing with Japan's issues on beauty culture.

For in the manga, Yuki so desperately wants to have a thinner waist and thinks that removing her rib bones are the way to go. Now doubt a foil to our Ribs Woman, but instead of going obsessive to murder other women for their lovely ribs, Yuki wants a gratification and recognition of beauty on a tamer level. In fact, some of Ito's works do feature social commentary and warning through his stories but some are interpretive. One that I won't go into but you may read for your own terror is The Hanging Balloons, many have used it as a metaphor for Japans growing problem with Suicide. And those who know the main issues of the Japanese Culture of Collective Harmony vs. Individual Cohesion as well as overwork stress, and any form of dishonoring has lead people to commit a horrible act and is a huge blight that Japan still deals with and tries to solve.  But going back to the beauty metaphor of Ribs Woman, in Japan, there is a constant cultural critique of beauty and how it should be applied to young women and mothers. The popular Kawaii (cute) culture has been such a problem with young ladies and mothers with being adorable from all parts of society. It's a slight parallel but pretty potent if you know the social news and issues of Japanese culture.

Ito himself, with his reclusive nature, brings all kinds of things to the table with the social parts of his tales. It's not always prevalent like with other stories like the upcoming Uzumaki, "The Circus is Here", "Bubble Blood Bushes", and "The Beautiful Boy at the Crossroads." But all still feature the common trope of taking the mundane and everyday and spinning it on it's head into a horror story. In fact, Amigara Fault deals with another common occurrence in Japan, as well as here in my native California, Earthquakes.

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(Cover Photo for "The Enigma at Amigara Fault")
"The Enigma at Amigara Fault" features a combo of body and psychological horror. Dealing more with playing around with fate and fatalism as well as being interpreted as a metaphor for Freudian Psychosis, "Enigma's" Tale is just as enigmatic as the story claims but the details are far more gruesome. Featured as a small distraction from the madness of Gyo, Amigara Fault focuses upon the recent break of the fault after an earthquake, and the people who are called, with an instinctual premonition, to check it out.

The story focuses on Owaki, a young boy (featured on the cover picture) and Yoshida (the girl on the cover behind him) as they both go to Amigara Fault. However, their small little curiosity of the fault get smacked into dark implications as Yoshida explains how she sees her hole in the fault, and many holes are there which has gotten Japan's Geological Society investigating why the peculiar human-shaped holes are there. Following a dream Owaki has, it's inferred though not fully that the people who come to Amigara are all supposed to be into this fate and go into their holes and day by passing day, more and more people break down into insanity as some try to pry them away from the holes but they all exclaim the same thing after they strip to their underwear. "This is my hole!"

Hoping to get past this nightmare, Owaki and Yoshida room together, the last ditch effort to fight the impulse and struggle for survival. But when Yoshida disappears, Owaki discovers she has allowed instinct and her own negative thoughts to pervade her. Depressed, he drops his flashlight and in an even more disturbing and fated response, the light flashes onto something that looks like it could be his shadow; his own personal hole. Owaki is also fated to join the others and thus he slips right into the abyss of the hole. Months after the geologists discover the back of the fault but what protrudes from the holes is mentally scaring to them as they see the fate of the humans who went inside, their bodies contorted and crushed by the fault lines now a very far cry from their human selves.

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(One of the fated people about to enter his hole)

The "Enigma at Amigara Fault" focuses on the horrific body horror at the end similar to how "Library of Illusions" presents itself but with a twist on how deformed the bodies become. Physical bodies now deformed thanks to a curse that made reincarnated people go inside to be tortured. In fact, it should be noted that the word Amigara comes from two Japanese words meaning Empty Shell, reflecting their newfound loss. But this is where interpretation is a bit more interpretive as to why and what could the story possibly tell. As I mentioned in The "Ribs Woman" not every one of the Ito stories has a definite interpretation, such as the social commentary of the destructive powers of the beauty industry and self image. And some like "Library of Illusions" are just pure spectacle. No deep analysis or message really there other than to psychologically question our own sanity. But in the story, we see the struggle of Yoshida and Owaki with trying to bring meaning into their lives.

Yoshida has been neglected by both family and friends. Parents barely showed attention, friends didn't pay too much mind. Her depression leads her to a symbolic suicide through Amigara Fault. Although it seems like all are alive and conscious though they are hardly recognized as human. In fact, this story uses her, Owaki, and other minor characters of the story to portray a concept from Freudian psychoanalysis, Eros and Thanatos. (I'm not a psychologist so this is a brief and general explanation and we won't go into the Id, Ego, and Superego much when talking of these two drives.)

Eros is the Life Drive of Freudian psychosis. Named after the Greek equivalent to Cupid, Eros Drive focuses upon life driving and survival instincts. Sex, Food, Family, Philosophy, Religion, all these and more supplement the life drive in the promotion of making humans more rational and life affirming. Such is necessary for them to live and flourish and create something of themselves. We see this with Yoshida and Owaki's romantic attraction and when he covers the hole of Yoshida so she doesn't get called into it. But also when they spend the night together, one might look to sexual and romantic confirmation of the two being together in surviving their ordeal.

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(The Final Panels of the Story with the newly metaphorical zombie coming out of the crushed faults of Amigara.)
But Thanatos, named for the Greek God and Personification of Death (some might think of him with a scythe but that's actually Kronos, Zeus' Father. Thanatos is Nyx (the Night's) son.) Thanatos is the Death Drive but his death drive doesn't always mean literal death like how none of the characters actually die but face a fate worse than death. Thanatos Drive is characterized with the emotional instability of wanting life, (envy, hatred, anger, depression, and other such emotions) tangling at us to destroy the Eros drive and return to the Primitive times of man, simple but with little to truly affirm a true sense of life. (One can argue and make parallels to one of my personal favorite concepts to talk about: Nietzsche's Ressentiment.) The characters give in to their emotional issues and commit to a physical type, emotional, and psychological suicide by allowing fate to seep into their subconscious and allow the fault to fragment them into the creatures we see at the end of the story. Empty Shells who have allowed fate and compulsion to overtake them. And now, the best for the last, now that we look into the ideas of Ito and parts of his personal philosphy to enter the main masterpiece, Uzumaki!

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(Cover of the Uzumaki Special Complete Edition featuring the Hair fight scene in the manga)
Now we come to the final part of our first article, Uzumaki. I had to save the best for last and it will feature the most visceral pictures of the bunch so viewers discretion is advised. But let's foreshadow the plot with the picture and see what do you think the foreshadow is. For those of you who know Japanese, this is a piece of cake. If not, well just look very, very closely.

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(The First and one of the few Color Inked Pages of the Uzumaki Manga. Note the foreshadowing in the grass.)

Yup. All those spirals. All in the grass and that's but the tip of this iceberg. You're probably wondering how does he turn a spiral upon its head. Well maybe hear what he says about the inspiration for choosing the spiral for the central driving force of the story. To summarize, he noted how in traditional Japanese media, the spiral is a general symbol of rosy cheeks and happiness. In general, its a positive force.

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(Shuichi's father, a pivotal character, collects all the strange and unnatural phenomena of the spiral from sculptures, nature, pottery, etc.)
But in Uzumaki, that is drastically changed. All the spirals you see in the above pic are all about to make you feel even more at unease as you look further and twirl down into the spiral of this story. The story itself is an episodic nightmare, slowly delving further into insanity and twisted body and psychological horror. In fact, I sometimes feel the episodic plot reminds me of Dante's Inferno. Not fully in the whole traveling through hell but each new chapter introduces us to a new form of punishment and perversion of human life every time so it's not always the same thing over and over again, with Ito finding new ways to use the universal spiral, as a universal form of punishment.

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(The Medusa Spiral effecting one of the girls in Uzumaki.)

Every Chapter in the story focuses upon two protagonists, lovers Kyrie (pronounced Kyr-E-eh) and Shuichi (pronounced Shoe-E-Chi). Kyrie wishes to leave her seaside town of Kurozu-cho, (pronounced Kuro-Zoo-Cho) a seaside town in Japan. (This is where Lovecrafts similaries come in for Lovecraft made most of his stories in New England and the story The Shadow over Innsmouth is a parallel to Kurozu-cho's seaside locale from the town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts.) Both of them discover more and more about the phenomena of the spiral from Shuichi's father and it seems like every, new natural and human made spirals surround the city until the intents and purpose of the Spiral's grand plan unravels.

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(The Spiral Absorbs one unfortunate girl. Even looking at this makes me both nauseous, dizzy, and creepily disoriented.)

And As I said with making a parallel in the episodic style of the Inferno, it feels like we ourselves are like Dante, with Kyrie being our Vergil and going down the timeline with a new punishment being made around the spiral in some way. Shuichi's father loves the obsession he has with the spiral he contorts his body into it as his final wish. Shuichi's mother sees it everywhere and tries to get rid of the spiral (Cutting finger and footprints off) once and for all but it still haunts her even til death (I'm gonna let you read Chapter Two: The Spiral Obsession to see what I mean). Natural Disasters like Hurricanes and Whirlpools cause the attacks and deaths of people. Hair is tangled into Medusa like control, the spiral can literally eat someone and disappear in a few moments. People turn into snails slowly and painfully and anyone who messes with the newly transformed snails gets turned into them. Pregnancy isn't even safe and vampiric mothers take corkscrews to screw out holes and eat the blood of all types of people. And people rip themselves out of their bodies, with their spines turned into coils and springs to hop around.

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Note how all of these use the spiral in different ways. A new punishment for each new story. And each picture you see incorporates that feel. Body and Psychological Horror are used to the up-tenth to display the Lovecraftian turn of Ito's masterpiece. Ito creative uses for subverting the spiral have been well done to accomplish his inversion goal: unique, creepy, and psychologically haunting. But this goes with all his stories. Maybe they don't require the same attention Uzuamki or Amigara needs for body horror. Maybe they don't always have a more veiled message like "The Hanging Balloons" or "Ribs Woman." But all in all, Ito has allowed us into his world of fatalistic and maddened protagonists as the spectacles of their lives either haunt them or have already killed them.

Thank you for reading and enjoying my first Fragment of Horror. But don't leave so soon. I have 12 more articles for you to enjoy and I hope I do my best in promoting them. So comes to the end of Fragment 1: Junji Ito

And for further looks as well as some great videos/works cited for me:
 Check out two of my favorite YouTube Channels: Ragnar Rox and Tale Foundry

RagnarRox is an analytic media YouTuber focusing on horror  in video games and movies. Check out some of his work on I Have no Mouth and I Must Scream the game and his Monsters of the Week Series for some great content. He's also done these two great videos on Junji Ito that have been so well polished.
Junji Ito: Spiral into Horror
Junji Ito's Amigara Fault & The Horror of Compulsion

Tale Foundry, on the other hand is focused on analyzing the tropes of story styles and for beginner authors like me, I love the research and focus for new types of stories from examining Ito and Creepypasta to Weird Fiction and Celtic Lore. And each analysis comes a short story written by the team to listen and enjoy.

Ito Videos
Do Junji Ito's Characters Actually Matter?
3 Ways Junji Ito Disturbs Us
Sillouhettes: A Short Story

And check out my last suggestion and video
How Media Scares Us: The Work of Junji Ito