The moment I saw that Long Dreams was in this episode I KNEW that people would be getting exactly what they wanted from Junji Ito. Its one of the few stories I HAVE read and boy is it a good one for making you hell of a uncomfortable.
I really love how uncomfortable the animation makes me feel in these two stories.
To be honest I read Long Dreams ages ago and it put me off sleeping, I put it up as my second favourite horror story just behind Rampo’s Human Chair because it just effected me in the weirdest way. That vision of the guy in the bed when he finally sleeps his final sleep before he turns into dust, now I didn’t think they’d be able to make that as… I don’t even know how to describe it so I’ll just say harrowing as it was for me first time seeing it in the manga but it was pretty much just the same. It worked a second time. I can’t re-read that manga because looking at him at that point just makes me not want to sleep.
As for Fashion Model the second I saw the model I was sold on it. Its just that kind of drawing that Ito seems to do so well that just creeps me out without any need of description. Like it gets under your skin. Its exactly how the character describes it and the more you try to remember it or explain it the more stupid it sounds to others but the creepier it gets in your mind.
Now I’m not saying it is like Hollywood creepy, its not jump scare scary either.
When I say its creepy I mean its so weird to look at that your mind makes it more creepy then it is. For example the new IT movie when Pennywise does any of his scary things to me it isn’t scary because its too much. The model in Fashion Model is big and ugly but until we see her laugh there is nothing outwardly SCARY about her. We’re scared because she’s so ugly and so odd (and so BIG) but she isn’t painted as being evil and scary right from the off. The story could have gone two ways whereas you always knew Pennywise was going to be a murderous clown.
I don’t think it explains it well but like I said about the Human Chair why these two stories work so well is that its making something normal (a ugly person / dreaming) and turning it against you. Neither the model or the dreams on their own are scary and whilst the model ends up eating someone and acting creepy and the dreams end up killing the guy EVEN WITHOUT those endings I think the stories would have worked because it implanted a picture in your mind, a seed of what could be scary, and your mind will do the rest of the work for you.
Its all down to how its drawn and I’m happy that it is working in anime form.
The concept at the end of the Long Dreams is one that is even more scary.
Would it be a good thing to give those that fear death the chance of living so many different lives or is it a curse to pass it on? That is a question I might come back to at a later date.