Junji Ito creates manga adaptation of horror movie The Lighthouse

pages from manga adaptation of The Lighthouse by Junji Ito
(Image credit: A24)

Famed horror mangaka Junji Ito, perhaps best known for his work Uzumaki (which Newsarama named the best horror comic book of all time), has created an eight-page manga adaptation of director Robert Eggers' 2019 horror film The Lighthouse, to be distributed at the Japanese premiere of the film.

The Lighthouse, released in October 2019 in the US, will get its Japanese release on July 9. The film tells the story of a young sailor, played by Robert Pattinson, as he joins an experienced and eccentric lighthouse keeper, played by Willem Dafoe, on a remote island where mystical mysteries abound, and tensions mount to violence.

The Lighthouse generated some pop culture awareness following its release thanks in part to its unique black and white presentation and film aspect ratio, as well as the intensity of Pattinson and DaFoe's performances. Ito's manga aims to capture that intensity, as well as the stark black and white lighting of the film.

(Image credit: A24)

"The movie The Lighthouse was particularly impressive with the contrast of the black and white screen and the gloomy atmosphere," Ito tells Japanese entertainment site Natalie.Mu, which broke the news.

"Two lighthouse keepers, so to speak, are assigned to the mysterious island of Lighthouse, 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," he continues. "I wanted to reproduce the light and shadow."

The mysteries of The Lighthouse revolve around the lighthouse itself, as well as the island on which it rests. As Pattinson's character encounters mermaids, omens, and natural disasters, he also discovers his co-worker is almost obsessed with the lamp that powers the lighthouse, and may even be more than simply human. 

The tensions bubble over into violence as the two descend further into madness and isolation - themes that dovetail perfectly with Ito's usually stark and disturbing art, and his stories of bizarrely specific yet completely consuming nightmare scenarios that cut to the heart of our most inexplicable fears.

It's unclear if Ito' manga adaptation of The Lighthouse will be available outside of Japan, though fans can catch a glimpse of two pages from the story above.

Ito told Newsarama that his brand of horror excels by starting with the mundane before going into the supernatural.

"If you have the supernatural or the strange world right from the get-go, it doesn't really proceed anywhere," said Ito. "It doesn't really move forward. But if you have that stable ground of the everyday, the familiar, and then you become progressively weirder, yes. That's the way I tend to work."

There's plenty of manga, including stories by Junji Ito, available to read digitally. Here are the best digital comic book reader apps.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)