The Aesthetic of the Macabre: A Critical Look at Junji Ito’s Horror of the Bizarre

Sweet Talk

Junji Ito has gathered something of a cult following here in America as of late. Already known among horror lovers in Japan, Ito is, in my mind, more closely aligned with the weird fiction of old than with the contemporary horror genre as it stands in this country. I read his masterpieces, Uzumaki and Gyo a few years ago, as well as a few of his short stories. I recently encountered a list of his works with links to each, and worked my way through a few I hadn’t heard of. We at Sweet Talk tend to lean towards social science, but I’ve been hoping we might plumb deeper into the humanities. Art criticism seems about as far from science as it gets, so with Junji Ito fresh on my mind I thought I might engage in a little.

I will start with Uzumaki, move to Gyo, and conclude with…

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“The Fairy Queen” vs. The Faerie Queene


As I read the first two acts of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I could not help but think of it as a bit of a satire of another work published around the same time: Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. Shakespeare’s work contrasts with Spenser’s on nearly every level, creating a series of humorous, parallel opposites. Whereas The Faerie Queene is a serious epic poem, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a lighthearted comedy. The Faerie Queene harshly denounces Catholicism; A Midsummer Night’s Dream embraces a variety of religions, ranging from classical mythology, to the worship of faeries (2.1.123), to Christianity—Catholic Christianity, no less (as we see expressed in Quince’s allusion to the Virgin Mary in 1.2.9).

In addition to these variations, Shakespeare’s “fairy queen,” Titania, is a much different character than Spenser’s is. Spenser’s faerie queen, Gloriana, colors but never actually appears in the poem, and remains a remote…

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The Year is 2030

“The Year Is 2030. Supreme Leader Trump has made it illegal for anyone under 35 to have an opinion. N/A, S. U. and S&M are three brave young presenters broadcasting various thought crimes and tunes of the Old World from an unknown mountain location. Wednesdays 11am  #burstradio#trump#radio #bristoluniversity