Japanese master of horror Junji Ito is teaming up with the genre studio Fangoria to produce live-action film adaptations of three of his stories from his horror manga collection Smashed: Junji Ito Story Collection. Kicking off the scares will be a feature based on the mangaka’s vampire tale Bloodsucking Darkness. Screenwriter Jeff Howard, known for co-writing The Haunting of Hill House, is set to develop the screenplay and executive produce on behalf of Fangoria.
“Fangoria Studios is going to adapt my manga! I’m so excited to see how it will turn out,” Ito said about the news. “I hope I get to see the trailer in my dreams tonight!” As he teased, Bloodsucking Darkness has some relation to dreams. The original story follows Nami, a young woman who develops an eating disorder following a bad breakup and begins vomiting blood. Things take an eerie turn when a boy in her class starts obsessing over her health and goes to horrific measures to help her out. She begins to have nightmares about blood raining down on her and a terrifying vampire face menacing her only to wake up with the bed covered in blood every time. It’s capped off with a classic Ito twist that’s downright vomit-inducing and feels right at home among his best work.
Ito didn’t start creating manga full-time until the 1980s, initially penning stories in his spare time between work as a dental technician. He really took off upon serializing his magnum opus Uzumaki in Big Comic Spirits (Shogakukan) in 1998, however, and he’s since been considered one of the best talented modern horror authors out there. He’s still putting out acclaimed works like Gyo and Smashed, along with a fun The Lighthouse synopsis manga, and has even been recognized for his talents in the U.S., earning multiple honors at the Eisner Awards including four Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia honors.
Adapting Junji Ito Is No Easy Task for Howard and Fangoria
Adaptations of Ito’s work, however, haven’t enjoyed the same success. Attempts to translate the mangaka’s stories to anime have now failed twice over with the poorly-received Junji Ito Collection and the mediocre Junji Ito Maniac on Netflix. One thing Bloodsucking Darkness has going for it, by comparison, is that it’s in live-action and Howard has the horror bona fides to justify his inclusion. He’s been a frequent partner of Mike Flanagan, working with him on The Haunting of Hill House, Oculus, Gerald’s Game, and the Netflix smash hit Midnight Mass.
“When I found out a live-action Junji Ito adaptation was going to happen, I chased after it with everything I had, because I just couldn’t live with anyone else getting there before me,” Howard said of getting the opportunity. “The combination of fear and feelings is where I always want to be.” Fangoria Studios SVP Armen Aghaeian concurred with his sentiments, adding “Ito’s stories and visuals are pure nightmare fuel. The team at Fangoria is honored to be working alongside Junji Ito. We are excited to bring the horror found in the pages of his work to life onto the biggest screens possible.” Aghaeian will produce with Tara Ansley and Abhi Goel under Fangoria Studios alongside Yasu Kutami and Tsubasa Yamaguchi of Amuse Group USA. Executive producers joining Howard include Kevin Nicklaus, Phil Wurtzel through Friel Films, and Ryan Lewis and Joe Riley from Zero Gravity Management.
Stay tuned here at Collider for more on Fangoria‘s Bloodsucking Darkness adaptation.