One of the Junji Ito's short horror stories is set to be adapted into a live action film by Fangoria Studios. Bloodsucking Darkness, a vampire tale with a surreal twist, is one of three features based on Ito's work currently in development at the studio, though the other two have yet to be formally announced.
The film will be written and executive produced by Jeff Howard, best known for his work with Mike Flanagan on Netflix's adaptation of The Haunting Of Hill House and 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 told Variety, who first broke the story. "The combination of fear and feelings is where I always want to be.”
Although a director is yet to be announced for the project, Ito himself will serve as a producer on the film. He said: "Fangoria Studios is going to adapt my manga! I'm so excited to see how it will turn out. I hope I get to see the trailer in my dreams tonight."
Bloodsucking Darkness (sometimes printed as Blood Slurping Darkness and The Dark Drinks Blood) was originally published in the Voices in the Dark anthology, and then later in Smashed: Junji Ito Story Collection. In the story, a young woman with an eating disorder that causes her to vomit blood, is wooed by a mysterious young man with a dark secret. A tale of obsessive desire and vampire bats, it demonstrates the combination of body horror and dreamlike imagery that has made Ito such a respected mangaka.
Founded in 2021, Fangoria Studios is a newish offshoot of the long-running horror magazine. "Ito's stories and visuals are pure nightmare fuel," said Armen Aghaeian, the studio's senior VP. "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."
There's no word yet on when the film version of Bloodsucking Darkness will be released.
This is not Ito's first brush with the big screen - he has previously created a manga based on Robert Eggers' folk horror masterpiece, The Lighthouse.
In the mood for more tales of blood-chilling terror? Here are the comics and manga that inspired new series Grammaton Punch.