In what seems like a Mad Libs conjured straight from my subconscious, acclaimed horror manga artist Junji Ito drew an 8-page manga summary of A24’s black-and-white masterpiece in madness, The Lighthouse. The film was slated for release in Japan in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the release to July 2021. The film stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as lighthouse keepers, or “wickies,” who become trapped together after a vicious storm.
The Lighthouse is full of surreal imagery. Director Robert Eggers shot on old cameras and used old lenses, as well as custom filters that emulated early-1900s orthochromatic stock, which didn’t pick up much red light. Because of this, every crag and cranny in the actor’s faces are visible. It’s a unique visual combination, and one that gels perfectly with Ito’s detailed manga style. Ito’s work capitalizes on body horror and the visions of delusional minds — two themes near and dear to The Lighthouse.
The first two pages of the manga were shared via The Lighthouse‘s official Japanese twitter, noting that the full comic will be exclusive to theater-goers when the film releases in Japan on July 9.
Recreating Light and Shadow
Ito, best known for creating horrifying images that haunt in our nightmares, was drawn to the project by its themes of light and dark.
“Two lighthouse keeper, so to speak, will be assigned to the mysterious lighthouse island, but the distorted exchanges in the hierarchical relationship, the delicate facial expressions of each other, and above all, the intense dominance of the movie screen. I wanted to recreate the light and shadow,” Ito said after news of the manga was released.
This isn’t the first time Ito has drawn a story about lighthouses, either. Chapter 9 of his horror manga Uzumaki, “The Black Lighthouse,” features a lighthouse that lures people inside only to burn them alive. He might just be the perfect person to recreate Eggers’ disturbingly beautiful vision.
Ito has been making quite a bit of a Stateside stir. Late last year, there was some disappointment among fans when an adaptation of his manga series Tomie was cancelled due to production company Quibi shuttering its doors. Thankfully, we still have Adult Swim‘s Uzumaki animated miniseries adaptation to look forward to. So even if you can’t get your hands on a copy of The Lighthouse synopsis manga, at least you can see “The Black Lighthouse” on TV when Uzumaki debuts in October 2022. Just don’t spill yer beans.
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