Quibi continues their fake-it-till-you-make-it strategy and announced an adaptation of Junji Ito's infamous horror manga series Tomie. Adeline Rudolph, fresh off filming the final production of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, will play the title character. The new production will be written by Aquaman screenwriter David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and European horror producer-director Alexandre Aja, who came to fame for his French horror flick High Tension, will be executive producer with Johnson-McGoldrick, and probably be the director of the pilot at the very least. Hiroshi Shirota will co-produce. Sony Pictures Television and UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group will oversee the production.
Tomie: Junji Ito's Flawed Horror Manga Series
Deadline Hollywood reports that "Tomie is the story of a beautiful high school girl (Rudolph) who goes missing and pieces of her body are discovered scattered around a small town. But what starts out as a murder mystery turns into something even more horrific."
The manga series is one of the titles by which Junji Ito was best known for in Japan. During the 1990s, he kept going back to create new stories about the beautiful girl who drives men to murder so she can come back and haunt them in the worst ways imaginable. She's not a ghost. Nobody knows what she is. She just keeps coming back. Tomie is not the Last Girl. Tomie is the First Girl who will haunt you to your doom because that's how she gets her kicks.
The Tomie stories are a raw and direct expression of men's – possible Ito's – fear of women, of sexuality, of the way men can't control themselves and express their misogyny by murdering women. Tomie is a complicated symbol. She is a willfully manipulative and malicious figure who seduces boys and men and then drives them crazy with demands and neediness until she goads them into murdering her. Then she feeds on their guilt and fear of getting caught by coming back in mutated or mutilated form redolent of Cronenbergian body horror to haunt them to madness or death. She is very much a paranoid male fantasy. It's not surprising that this latest adaptation will be written and directed by men.
To Be Fair, Every Adaptation of "Tomie" Has Sucked
In the 1990s and early 2000s, there have been several live-action adaptations of Tomie in Japan. They were all bad. Shot cheaply on TV movie budgets, barely competently directed, they were at worst incompetent, at best barely adequate. There was a recent anime adaptation of one of the Tomie stories in the anime anthology series The Junji Ito Collection. At least Alexandre Aja is a skilled and accomplished horror director, but the Quibi format of chopping up a movie into a series of interrupted bite-sized chunks does not bode well for any potential impact this new version is going to have.
Tomie: Complete Deluxe Edition, which contains the complete stories by Ito, is published in English by Viz Media and now available.