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Step into horror manga artist Junji Ito’s haunted house

ANN/THE STAR – “Hold onto the rope. And don’t look back…” Those are the last words you hear before you enter the twisted world of renowned Japanese horror manga artist Junji Ito.

The recently-opened immersive exhibition in Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia is billed as an unique “haunted house” experience.

As you journey in a group of eight, holding only two pieces of rope so that your group doesn’t separate, it becomes clear that you’re not merely an observer, but a character who completes the narrative of the horror house.

In those moments, it’s important to keep your eyes peeled, as danger lurks in every corner, and strange creatures are just waiting to pounce when you least expect it.

For fans of Junji, this is their chance to become part of his world.

From creating a world renowned manga collection that led to a popular Netflix series, the 60-year old’s work – including original art – is now on show for the first time in KL.

This Junji Ito Haunted House exhibition will be showing at Lalaport BBCC until November 30.

Visitors at Junji Ito Haunted House exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. PHOTO: THE STAR

BIZARRE CREATIONS

Using scenes from Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales Of The Macabre and Uzumaki: Spiral To Horror, fans can come face-to-face with the artists’ bizarre creations, including The Hanging Balloons.

At the exhibition, there are two halls for you to choose from (you can pick up a bundle ticket deal to view both).

Both halls include iconic scenes – spread across more than 10 rooms – from Junji’s anime and archives that come to life through a creative fusion of artwork, installations and special effects.

The two paths eventually lead to the gallery, where participants can further immerse themselves in the creations of the artist. Finally, there are also plenty of exclusive merchandise for you to get your hands on.

HORROR AND IMAGINATION

Just like the recent The World Of Tim Burton show in KL, the exhibition experience – immersive or not – needs to give the more discerning pop culture fans a chance to connect.

It’s not all about taking killer photos or videos for social media.

The Junji art exhibition is bound to appeal to manga fans as it showcases some of his preliminary drawings for his iconic characters such as Tomie and Souichi.

His influence in the horror genre transcends geographical boundaries, leaving an indelible mark across Asia and beyond.

With an extensive portfolio of over 100 horror stories, Junji Ito has established himself as a master of seamlessly blending the everyday with the uncanny.

His remarkable ability to transform ordinary scenarios into unsettling and eerie landscapes, where the enigmatic and the horrifying converge, also sets him apart.

The long queues to get into the Junji exhibition at Lalaport BBCC recently also offered a glimpse of the artist’s popularity in the manga scene and beyond.

This impact is further underscored by his multiple awards, earned for his adaptations of classics like Frankenstein and the short story horror collection Venus In The Blind Spot, solidifying his position as a luminary in the genre.

Despite competing with heavyweight titles like Jujutsu Kaisen, One Piece, and Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War, all of which are making waves in the manga community, the tales of Junji still manage to leave a lasting mark on fans.

A visit to his haunted house will remind you of his special place in the horror genre. – M Irsyad

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