Junji Ito is a very weird and gross dude. The manga artist is a horror icon whose recently translated collection just won an Eisner Award. He has an instantly recognizable style with an ability to create horrifically surreal imagery that worms its way into you. Honestly, I would’ve loved to have seen 80’s Cronenberg tackle some of his stuff.
Very close to that hope, however, is to see Alexandre Aja follow up Crawl with his own bloody stab at Ito’s most adapted work, Tomie. Thankfully, it’s happening, and I’m very interested to see how the High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes (2006) director will tackle some truly insane images like this:
Weird demon slug girl? That’s something I need on the big screen, stat, and Aja has proven with perhaps one of the best remakes ever that he doesn’t shy from grueling and nasty content when adapting from source material. There is, of course, one mighty big catch that brings this excitement train to a big ol’ screeching halt.
This isn’t going to be on the big screen. In fact, this is going to be on the smallest possible screen you have.
In what might be the least talked about side-effect of our forthcoming streaming service glut, Tomie is almost certainly dead-on-arrival due to the fact that it’s going to be strapped to the very misguided-sounding Quibi service.
Yes, the short-form (but don’t call it short-form) content provider that intends to give us Stephen Spielberg After Dark (let your imagination run wild with that title) will make sure Tomie languishes in obscurity.
For those not familiar with the hello-fellow-kids mentality of the streaming service, Quibi expects you to pay $5 (with ads) or $8 every month for series that you will watch in under ten minute chunks, and they really want to pretend that a video streaming service doling out bits of a story in short episodes has never been done before and hasn’t been the basis of series on YouTube and even Newgrounds since the beginning of streaming video.
Oh, also for some reason Quibi will restrict these series specifically and only to your tablet or phone. It sounds like a super dumb idea, but maybe I’m the one who’s out of touch. It apparently has secured more than $1 billion in funding, but MoviePass was also made of money at one time.
The adaptation itself sounds pretty straightforward with Tomie following the story of a small town in which a beautiful high school girl is found murdered with pieces of her body scattered around, and the mystery only becomes more horrific from there. That gives something of a Twin Peaks vibe, which is neat. Don’t get me wrong, this is something I want to be all-in on, but Quibi is absolutely standing in the way of that enthusiasm.
There’s no set release date yet for Tomie, but chances are it will launch with the service, which is due out sometime next year.