A strong double-bill pays with both clever concepts and effective visual horror.
This recap of the Netflix anime anthology Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre Season 1 Episode 5, “Intruder” / “Long Hair in the Attic”, contains spoilers.
“Intruder”, taken from the ninth volume of Horror World of Junji Ito, Hallucinations, has a clever concept that is horrifying in a low-key, imaginative way, and makes a good pairing with “Long Hair in the Attic”, from Flesh-Colored Horror, which is another high-concept little horror short that actually feels like it has an underlying theme and wants to be about something.
Junji Ito Maniac Season 1 Episode 5 Recap
“Intruder” explores the concept of duality and alternate dimensions. Oshikiri can hear strange footsteps in the house he lives in alone, and through chance, he meets a bunch of other students who’re into strange occurrences and the paranormal, and he invites them to his home they quickly theorize that the house hides a portal to an alternate dimension.
While this seems like a good opportunity for played-out haunted-house shenanigans the episode takes a more interesting turn, introducing an “alternate” version of Oshikiri himself burying corpses in the back yard, suggesting that perhaps he is hiding evidence of his crimes in his own world in this one. In a predictable development, though, the kids discover that the bodies he’s burying are theirs, and eventually help him cover up the corpses to keep the problem out of sight and out of mind.
This is one of the few instances in this collection where I feel like the episode’s brevity is a bit of a detriment. I’d have loved to have seen more exploration of this concept, but what we get is a fine little short.
“Long Hair in the Attic”, though, is definitely better. Here, Chiemi, a put-upon woman with a boyfriend who clearly doesn’t care about her, can hear rats in her roof. She wakes up to find a rat dead in her long, black hair, and in a moment’s notice the rat seems to have beheaded her.
The strong elements here are the visuals and how Chiemi’s fate loops back around to torment her boyfriend, who begins, after her death, to receive crank calls that sound very much like the sound of her grinding her teeth (or the scraping of rat claws.) There’s a striking visual of Chiemi’s father having died of fright after exploring the attic and finding Chiemi’s severed head suspended from the rafters by her hair, and that hair takes on a life of its own as it creepily walks the head out of the house.
The episode ends up Chiemi’s boyfriend being strung up and eventually pulled to pieces by the hair, as hear the grinding of teeth and see long, black locks draping all over the apartment.
You can stream the Netflix anime anthology Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre Season 1 Episode 5, “Intruder” / “Long Hair in the Attic” exclusively on Netflix.