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Movies & TV Dramas (click on movie picture or name for more information)

Poster Movie Name / Year Comment
うめく排水管 - The Groaning Drain
(2004)

A low budget direct-to-video movie made from the comic of the same name.
マロニエ - Marronnier
(2002)

Presented to the 2004 SF Film Festival and a festival in NY in 2005.
富江 最終章 ?禁断の果実? - Tomie: The Final Chapter - Forbidden Fruit
(2002)

The trailer is no longer available through the Tomie website. The fourth Tomie film is different in theme and tone from all the other Tomie movies. Ando is a powerful Tomie. I've read some reviews which complain she isn't beautiful enough for the role of the character who drives men crazy with her allure. I think she actually is quite beautiful (more so than the Tomie from Tomie: Rebirth), but it doesn't even matter whether she is sufficiently beautiful or not -- it only matters that she is very effectively selfish and alien and convincingly obsessed over. The acting is uniformly good and although the sound quality is poor and the film stock only slightly better, the movie has a powerful melancholy determination which I think puts it above most other efforts to bring Junji Ito to the cinema.
富江:Rebirth - Tomie: Rebirth
(2001)

Kakashi, directed by the same director as Ring 0, has a sophisticated look and feel but very little substance to back it up. The plot, however, meanders around a village where people resurrect the dead using scarecrows but nothing really happens except some cheap scares and some close-ups on the pretty lead actress. The comic was a mixed bag, too, featuring many of the same quick-scare horror cliches, but at least it wasn't feature length.
死びとの恋わずらい - Lovesick Dead (shibito no koiwazurai)
(2001)

Lovesick Dead translates the collection of the same name to the big screen, with 'Mould' also making an appearance. The plot is a bit changed from the comic, the movie drops the cruelly optimistic ending of the comic in favour of a cheap sleight-of-mind and the budget was obviously quite low, but the overall ambience of the movie captures the spirit of the original comic and the director also was also lucky and smart to cast Ryuhei (of Gohatto and Party 7) for the movie. DVD is only available as a region 2 disc without subtitles. Amateur subtitles will eventually be made available here.
案山子 - Kakashi
(2001)

Kakashi, directed by the same director as Ring 0, has a sophisticated look and feel but very little substance to back it up. The plot, however, meanders around a village where people resurrect the dead using scarecrows but nothing really happens except some cheap scares and some close-ups on the pretty lead actress. The comic was a mixed bag, too, featuring many of the same quick-scare horror cliches, but at least it wasn't feature length.
押切 - Oshikiri
(2000)

Oshikiri is really terrible. The comic was good, but the movie catches none of the atmosphere of the comic, looks incredibly cheap - worse than that 80s Twilight Zone series - and it drags on way too long. I can't imagine an audience young or stupid enough to be entertained by this movie without being too scared by the (minimal) gore and cliched camera tricks.

The website advertises that by using high-definition digital video, Oshikiri makes the world of Junji Ito more real than ever. If by 'more real than ever' they mean that every wobbly set will be revealed and every awkward moment of bad acting from the star - who just happens to be a j-pop idol - will be faithfully captured, then they have a point, but personally I think they might have done better just to film the whole thing in black & white eight millimeter; at least it would have given the film some kind of atmosphere.
長い夢 - Long Dream (nagai yume)
(2000)

Long Dream is the second translation of a Junji Ito comic by director Higuchinsky. Long Dream was actually translated as a one-off hour-long TV special and consequently faced the constraints of a smaller budget, which unfortunately shows in the production. Still, Higuchinsky understands well Ito's humorous brand of horror and were it not for the 4800 yen price tag, the movie would be well worth purchasing. Amateur subtitles can be found here.. They require DVDSubber and the translation isn't perfect, but they ought to make the movie comprehensible for those who can't understand Japanese. Keep in mind the DVD is region 2, though.
首吊り気球 - The Hanging Balloons (kubitsuri no kikyuu)
(2000)

The Hanging Balloons is actually an anthology of three Junji Ito stories made into short movies for TV. The production standards aren't terribly high, and I thought that Demonology dragged a bit, but The Long Hair in the Attic was quite good and The Hanging Balloons is a funny and over-the-top bit of indulgence which succeeds despite not having the budget to really look convincing.
顔泥棒 - The Face Burglar (kao dorobou)
(2000)

Based on the manga of the same name, a reasonable, if easily forgettable, translation.
墓標の町 - Gravemarker Town (bohyou no machi)
(2000)

This is another of the adaptations made for TV during the Junji Ito Horror Collection boom of summer 2000. I've never seen it. Obviously based on the manga of the same name.
うずまき - Uzumaki
(2000)

Uzumaki is THE Junji Ito movie to see, and you can go almost anywhere to find out why. Higuchinsky captures the madness of Ito's Uzumaki comics in a hilarious, unsettling and trippy decent into an obsession with spirals.
富江:re-play - Tomie: re-play
(2000)

Tomie: Re-play is much more obviously a horror movie than Tomie, and it has its moments - like when the lead's father is seen repeating, 'bakemono bakemono bakemono bakemono' (monster monster monster monster). The plot also moves along much faster than Tomie, but the ending feels like a bit of a letdown, again, as it falls into some horror movie cliches.
富江:アナザフェイス - Tomie: Another Face
(1999)

Made around the same time as Tomie: Replay, Another Face was a three-episode TV drama starring teen idol Nagai Runa, who, a quick search on google shows, is now a regular on the Miniskirt Police. Not that that's really relevant except that it's hardly surprising for this kind of production and perhaps a bit ironic given the fanatical following the miniskirt police (and female 'models' in general) have from a certain creepy segment of the Japanese population. The episodic nature suits Tomie well and there's something to be said for the unambitious nature of the series, but it's just easy teenage slasher fodder without much gore. Not that I wanted gore. But what IS a teenage slasher without the gore -- a hokey violent love story?
富江 - Tomie
(1998)

Tomie starts well, has a classy look to it, but never really provokes any fear or malaise before eventually plodding to an unsatisfying and rather confusing conclusion. It does have a nice theme song, though, by Japanese band World Famous. The 'making of' 30 minute documentary included on the DVD features a joking Ataru Oikawa suggesting (to Junji Ito's amusement) that Tomie will become the first of a long series of Tomie movies, eventually resulting in a 'Tomie vs. Jason' movie. I wonder...
戦慄の旋律 - The Fearsome Melody (senritsu no senritsu)
(1992)