From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Ju-On

Some of the creepiest Supernatural Horror Movies are made in Japan, and for me the top two mainstream best series have to be Tomie and Ju-on with the latter being the subject of this “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update in honor of the new Grudge film hitting cinemas this very month here in the USA! For those who are wondering, the Ju-on films here in the US are remade and called The Grudge and both series are very popular in their home countries, and I for one cannot wait to see what this new film in the series has to offer us American Horror fans. But for this update we will only be focusing on the film Ju-on and the Dark Horse Manga releases based on it! So if you’re ready, let’s travel to Japan and enter a cursed house and enter the creepy world of Ju-on.

We must first learn about Kayako Saeki, the supernatural ghost from the Ju-on movies and her ways of killing off humans dumb enough to cross her path. Kayako Saeki was a wife and mother who was murdered by her husband in their home, and her now vengeful spirit haunts all those foolish enough to enter the house where the killing took place. Kayako has many ways of dealing death to those she has cursed that include using her look to strike fear in the hearts of those who gaze upon her. She also can use the spirit of her deceased son as well as a black cat to lure people into her cold grip. She can also play mind games and cause her victims to see things. Kayako is very cold blooded and does not think twice about ending a human life. She is pure supernatural and for the most part an evil spirit who has no emotions and no remorse, she also uses her weird noises and appearance to terrify her human targets. Kayako Saeki is a spirit that seems to not have a weakness and her power comes from the house she was killed in as well as her sadness and want for revenge. I would say that Kayako Saeki could be one of the most dangerous killers we have looked at here on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update only rivaled by maybe the likes of Godzilla, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers. So as you can see, Kayako Saeki is super dangerous and one heck of a movie villain who while sinister also has a touch of sadness to her.

So as you can see, Kayako Saeki is one evil spirit that appears can not be stopped! But now that we have taken a look at the killer, we should now take a look at the movie she is from. I want to say that I will be taking the film’s write up from out friends at IMDB and it will be followed by my write up about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on it. So if you are ready, let’s enter the cursed home of Kayako Saeki and see what Ju-On is all about.

JU-ON (2002)

“In Japan, when the volunteer social assistant Rika Nishina is assigned to visit a family, she is cursed and chased by two revengeful fiends: Kayako, a woman brutally murdered by her husband and her son Toshio. Each person that lives in or visits the haunted house is murdered or disappears.”

Director Takashi Shimizu created a Horror Movie series in Japan that started with the direct to video film “Katasumi and 4444444444” in 1998 and was followed by “Ju-On: The Curse” in 2000 that as well went direct to video as did its sequel “Ju-On: The Curse 2” that was also released in 2000. In 2002, the series would get its first theatrical release with “Ju-on: The Grudge” and this would set the course for this highly popular series as the film was a success at the Japanese box office as well as had a small US run that did pretty well. And like any good Horror Movie, this loaded up on sequels that included “Ju-On: The Grudge 2” released in 2003 and in 2009 both “Ju-On: Black Ghost” & “Ju-On: White Ghost” were unleashed. In 2014 the next film “Ju-On: The Beginning Of The End” was released with the 2015 film “Ju-On: The Final Curse” following. And so far the final film in the original series, “Sadako vs. Kayako” that pitted our series main star Kayako against the evil spirit Sadako from the Ringu series. And then in America a remake series was made that started in 2004 with “The Grudge” that sparked two sequels, and this year (2020) a reboot has been released. When this film was released in 2002, it did well at the Japanese Box Office and brought in $500 million yen and even did over $3 million worldwide! The year it was released, it was joined by such other Horror Films as The Ring, 28 Days Later, Cabin Fever, Halloween: Resurrection, Red Dragon, Spliced, Wishmaster: The Prophecy and Hellraiser: Hellseeker to name a few. So as you can see, this series is very important to the history of foreign Horror and will go down as one of the better series of supernatural Japanese Horror Movies.

I first saw Ju-on on DVD when Lions Gate released it to try and cash in on the popularity of the American remake. I was home alone when I popped the DVD in and I can remember outside the sky was dark as rain poured down and could be heard hitting the widows as the wind was blowing hard. I remember pouring myself a big glass of soda and turning off all the lights to make the room even darker. This atmosphere made the film’s creepy moments even more creepy, and the scenes when Kayako would crawl down the stairs really did send shivers down my spine and my skin crawl! And at that moment I 100% realized that the original version was the better version and that the US remake tried to capture the spooky nature of the Japanese film but could not lock it fully. I first saw The Grudge, and while it was good, it paled in the comparison to Ju-on! I have watched the film a few times, and each time I find myself enjoying it more and more, this film is the perfect mix of Haunted House and Supernatural Horror and is a must see for fans who love Japanese Horror. Oh and over the years I have had many friends of mine who are into Horror that say this is one of their Top 20 Favorite foreign Horror Flicks. If you have never seen Ju-On, do yourself a favor and check it out.

So as you can see, this film and character Kayako Saeki are very iconic in the world of Horror Movies as they have left their creepy mark on it. Now it’s time to take a look at the Manga inspired by it. So I need to remind you all that I grade these issues on a standard 1-4 star system and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I also want to thank Amazon for having these books in stock and making this update possible. So if you are ready, let’s enter this cursed house and see what Kayako have in store for us.

Ju-On # 1  ***
Released in 2006     Cover Price $9.95   Dark Horse   # 1 of 2

Kayako Saeki is a woman who finds herself being stabbed to death by her husband who later turns his sights to his young son as well. This crime was so brutal it sends shivers down the spines of those who walk past the home it took place in years later. Mizuho is a young lady whose father was a realtor who was brutally murdered after selling the old Saeki house, and worse, the people who bought the house is Tsuyoshi, the grieving girl’s new boyfriend and his family! The delivery guys who deliver the family’s belongings even have an accident and die horribly thanks to the spirit of the murdered young boy of the house. The family also had to hire a tutor for daughter Kanna, who is a mean spirited young woman who seems to get joy in being mean to her mother and bothering her brother, but when the family all have to rush out of the house for errands, the tutor is left in the house alone and she becomes the next to meet her maker thanks to the ghosts. As Mizuho and Tsuyoshi are at baseball practice, sister Kanna is at the park with her friend and she becomes the next victim as a pack of wild cats shred her and even remove her bottom jaw, and the young girl before dying walks home and dies in front of her mother. Meanwhile something strange is going on as Tsuyoshi seems to be stuck in the school and Mizuho who is waiting for him is growing more and more worried. Meanwhile the father is at work and remembers back to when he was told the house he just moved his family into has a bad vibe and almost a curse, and after thinking about what he was told he heads home. Meanwhile the ghost of the murdered son is now at the school, and after Mizuho finds and frees Tsuyoshi from the locked baseball clubhouse, the ghost child stars to follow them, and lucky for the teens Mizuho’s psychic aunt Kyoko appears and the spirit leaves…but she warns her niece and Tsuyoshi that they need to get away as fast as they can. Kyoko does what she can and faces Kayako Saeki who in turn kills the aunt and then also possesses Tsuyoshi who then beats Mizuho to death with a baseball bat. Meanwhile back at the house, the father arrives to find his own wife cutting herself up causing her death, and he himself is left with nothing but a house that holds a grudge.

Ju-On is a great Horror Manga read that tells a twisted story of a family who buys a new home, and they and those who are around them being brutally killed by the spirits of a mom and her son that were murdered in the house they have bought! Mizuho is the main character, and she is a sweet young woman who loves her boyfriend as he and his family has been there for her after the killing of her father. She is very loyal to those she loves and she also is fearless as she wants to save all those she can when the bad starts going down. And because she comes off as such a normal and loving person, her brutal killing makes a big impact on me the reader. Her boyfriend Tsuyoshi is a hotheaded young man, but clearly cares about his girlfriend and her family and stands his ground to protect her from evil, but sadly he is also the one used to possess and forced to bash his love to death with a bat! The other character I really liked in this manga was Aunt Kyoko, who can see dead people and talk to them and tried to warn Tsuyoshi’s family not to move into that house, and even gives her own life to try and save that of her niece. The rest of the characters do a great job of pushing the story along and adding a little of all types of personalities to the story. Kayako Saeki and her son are pretty evil and yet sad spirits as they are part of a curse that they seem to want to escape from, but when they kill, they kill very brutally and painfully. This manga is packed with a few creepy scares of Kayako Saeki lurking in places and does have lots of blood and gore with one of my favorite kills being the death of Mizuho as the panels of blood, her broken body and the bloody bat is pretty great Horror Comic stuff. The over all creepy feel of this manga is high, and I read this during the fall around Halloween and it helped add to my season. The cover for this manga is pretty cool and has that Japanese horror look, the interior art is pretty great if you like the manga style. Over all this is a solid read and while it lacks some of the more creepy elements of the film, this takes a great look at the cursed house and the spirits that live in it. So let’s see what the second manga has in store for us!

Ju-On # 2  **1/2
Released in 2006     Cover Price $9.95   Dark Horse   # 2 of 2

Years have passed and horror actress Kyoko Harase is appearing on the TV Show hosted by Tomoka Miura. They go to the cursed house to talk about the murders and the curse surrounding it. Kyoko is a picks up on the bad vibes of the house once she is near it, but besides a loud noise picked up on the boom microphone, there’s nothing. After the shoot Kyoko and her boyfriend are driving and talking about her acting career as well as their up coming child! Meanwhile the host Tomoka and her boyfriend find themselves the victim of the curse, and they are hung from their ceiling and other TV Crew members find themselves being targeted for death. While driving Kyoko’s boyfriend loses control of the car, thanks to the ghost child that leaves him in bad shape at the hospital and Kyoko also lose her unborn baby…or does she. Things get worse for Kyoko when her mother as well passes away due to the curse, he boyfriend finally awakens from his coma and seems off, she gets the news that the baby is going to be alright and the TV Show producer visits her and informs her about the deaths of those who filmed the show. And after hearing all this, she has a vision of the murders in the house and this sparks her to go into labor…and she gives birth to the evil Kayako Saeki who kills all the doctors and everyone around.

In this second installment a pregnant horror film actress who is about to walk away from acting takes a gig on a TV Show about haunted locations and makes the mistake of entering the old Saeki house and cursing not only herself but also those close to her. The plot of an actress who is known for her horror movie performances is pretty cool when you take a cursed trip with her as she not only has to deal with the evils of Kayako Saeki but also that of her own life and choices. Kyoko Harase really is a good character and as a reader I found myself cheering for her to make it through and survive the curse. The TV production team befriend the actress, but sadly all pay the price of entering the Saeki house with their lives. And her boyfriend is a goof who loses control of their car while driving fast and crashes causing himself to go into a coma and later just wake up to be killed by the curse. Kayako Saeki once more is evil and seems to get more enjoyment in this second manga as she kills with no remorse and targets anyone in her sight. The issue has some great kills and does deliver blood and some gore with the issue’s best death being the murder of the reporter and her boyfriend as their hanging bodies are pretty creepy in panels. I would say that I very much did enjoy this issue, but did find it a little less creepy than the first and at times kind of felt like it was filled with lots of flashback filler and storylines that go nowhere like the fact all of Kyoko Harase’s family only have females when having a baby. The cover for this issue is pretty great and does capture the mood of Ju-On, and the interior art is solid and your typical manga style. Over all if you like the Ju-On movie series, like Japanese horror or just want to check out a creepy manga series I would say give these two a read as I think you might enjoy them. Check out the art below as I think it’s my favorite piece of art from it.

For me, both the movie and manga series of Ju-On are solid and show that creepy cursed ghosts have always been scary. I also hope that this update helped set the mood for you to go see the newest Grudge movie at your local cinema, as if you are like me I always go to the theater to watch the newest Horror Movie. But for our next update we are leaving behind the cursed house of Kayako Saeki and heading to space as we travel with the crew of the Enterprise to search for Spock…that’s right I will be covering Star Trek III: The Search For Spock and the DC Comics adaptation. So until next time avoid cursed houses, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Oh and remember to bring a flashlight for the next update as who knows were we will find Spock.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Jason X

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and our 5th in our countdown to Halloween 2017 and another in our “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” updates..  This time around we are going to be looking at Jason X, the tenth film in the super popular Friday The 13th series! This year on October 13th we fans and movie goers were supposed to be treated to the 13th film in the series, but Paramount Pictures dropped the ball and did not make the film allowing the rights to revert back to Warner Brothers, who, by most accounts, has zero interest in making a new film in the series. But this year while Paramount disappointed us, Rotten Ink won’t as we will explore Jason X as well as its killer Jason Voorhees and the Avatar Press comic based on it. So sit back and be ready to be scared as we travel to space and try not to become the target of the hockey mask killer Jason.

Before we get into the film and comic, we need to take a look at Jason Voorhees who is the killer not only in this film but most of this comic. Jason Voorhees was a young deformed child who drowned at camp at Crystal Lake when the counselors did not pay attention to the boy’s cries for help. After his mother went crazy and heard the voice of her son in her head, she kills all who try to reopen the camp.  This leads to her own death and the rebirth of Jason Voorhees, who returns as an unstoppable killer who knows nothing more than to murder those foolish enough to travel to his domain of Camp Crystal Lake or even just get in his way. Jason is indestructible and cannot be killed with guns, knives, toxic waste and even bombs as all these items have been used on him and none have worked to keep him down. Jason has superhuman strength and can dismantle a human body with his bare hands and cause death with a single punch. Jason also seems to have the power of teleportation as he is slow moving but seems to be able to pop up in order to get his victims showing that he is a supernatural being. When in space he is blown to pieces and falls into a medical machine that ends up healing his wounds and binding his undead flesh with metal creating Uber Jason, who is even more indestructible and can give way more damage to human bodies and even can withstand the pressure of space as well as the heat of atmosphere reentry. Jason’s weapon of choice is a machete that he brutalizes with.  He has so much power that he is able to kill with his hands with ease as well as he just can’t be killed! His weakness is the fact he is slow moving at times as well as the fact he is not all that bright and can be tricked and lead into traps that can render him out of commission for a while.  While he cannot be killed, he can be stopped and almost “shut down” as he is put out of commission. Plus he knows he is unstoppable and leaving him always pushing forward and leaving himself open to taking damage as well as the possibility of being stopped for sometime. So as you can see, Jason Voorhees as normal undead supernatural being and as Uber Jason is a force to be reckoned with and is one of Horror history’s most brutal and powerful slasher killers.

So now that we have taken a very brief look at Jason Voorhees, the killer of our comic and film, now it’s time to take a look at the film itself. The film’s write up is once more taken from our pals at IMDB, and after, I will talk about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on the film including the first time seeing it.

 

Jason X (2002)

“Set way in the future, Earth is no longer inhabitable, so humans have colonized in outer space. One colony receives two cryogenically frozen bodies, and when they defrost them, one of the bodies turns out to be…..who else? Jason Voorhees. No longer in the forest or Camp Crystal Lake, Jason stalks the colonists in a whole new environment.”

Jason X was released in theaters on April 26, 2002 by New Line Cinema and was directed by James Isaac.  It starred actors Lexa Doig, Lisa Ryder, Chuck Campbell and Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees for the 4th and sadly final time on film. This film was the second for New Line Cinema and was made in order to keep interest in the character as the “Freddy Vs. Jason” film idea had been stalled, and they wanted to unleash Jason on movie goers again as the last time they made a Jason film was in 1993 and that was Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday. The film’s idea to take Jason to space was thought up by Todd Farmer who thought the idea would advance the franchise into a new direction and even got him cast in the film. The film had a budget of $11 million and only brought in $13,121,555.00 and coming in at # 135 of the year and beat out such cult films as Frailty, They, Death To Smoochy, The Powerpuff Girls Movie, Auto Focus and Equilibrium to name a few. So sadly the film was a bomb for New Line Cinema. The film was panned by critics and by most fans at the time of release, and it would not be until years later that it would gain a following and respect from many younger horror film fans.

I saw the film on opening weekend and watched it with my brother Bryan and our good friend, the late great Andy Copp.  I can remember being super hyped to see it and them being lukewarm on the idea of Jason in space. I can remember that not a lot of people were in the theater with us.  I enjoyed it for the over the top kills and silly nature of Jason running wild on a spaceship, let alone how can anyone who loves slasher films not enjoy the kill of Jason freezing a woman’s face in liquid nitrogen and shattering it on a metal table, or the fact he fights a sex robot who is also strong and trained in fighting! Not to mention the double kill of naked girls in sleeping bags. Super silly stuff and all enjoyed by this monster kid! While Bryan and Andy disliked the film and thought it was dumb and silly, it still remained the first Friday The 13th film I was able to see in the theater.

While a bomb at the box office, Jason X did end up having its fair share of merchandise that was sure to please fans of Jason Voorhees, and even now Uber Jason is gracing products. This film and Uber Jason has graced t-shirts, posters, music CDs, action figures, comics, novels, cardboard standups, Halloween masks and even has made an appearance in the world of video games! With a rumored appearance in Friday The 13th: The Game for PS4, Xbox One and PC, a Nintendo Game was also made by Pacnsacdave that is a homebrew game that is lots of fun. So I am sure your wondering what I own from these products.  I own both video games, the soundtrack score done by Harry Manfredini as well as all the comics! I did always want the Jason X Uber Jason figure that was made by Mcfarlane Toys as part of the Movie Maniacs line but sadly never have gotten it. With that, take a look below and see some of the very cool items released based on this movie.

Jason X, just like Friday The 13th, makes for a good comic series, and I give Avatar Press credit for trying to make this happen just like Topps Comics did before them. This comic is also the Special # 1 and shows events that happen after the film and continues the crazy psycho killing journey of Uber Jason. As we drift around here in space, I can hear this echoing off the walls “ I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story”. And I also would like to remind you that if you would like to read more of me talking about Jason Voorhees in comics make sure to check out my write up for Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday in film and the Topps Comic adaptation. I also want to thank Lone Star Comics for having this in stock after I could not find my original copy I got from Mavericks when it was released. So prepared to be scared as we take a journey into the deep dark reaches of space with one of the world’s most brutal masked serial killer slashers Jason Voorhess.

Jason X: Special # 1 **
Released 2005   Cover Price $3.99     Avatar Press   # 1 of 1

The year is 2045 on Earth II and Uber Jason has just fallen from the sky and witnessed by two young adults who are turned on by the science of what they think was a meteor falling from space and decide to have sex, which leaves them both dead as Uber Jason smashes them with a tree! We soon see that this was set up by Kristen and Michelle, two young ladies who want to find a way to destroy Uber Jason and are using robots to find a way to do so as Uber Jason is really being held captive by a machine that allows him to think he is free and killing when in reality his captors are trying to figure out a way to kill him and use his cell structure to find a cure as Kristen and her sick husband Neil are both dying and the last of their kind and are surrounded by robots. Uber Jason is awakened by his mother Pamela Voorhees voice, and he escapes his mechanical prison and makes short work of Michelle and the other robots and sets his sights on Kristen who is trying her best now to use tissue samples to make her husband well, as time is running out as Uber Jason wants her dead and so does his mother. Kristen tricks Uber Jason and shoots him into space and as Neil wakens from his sickness and it appears the cure has worked we find out he is possessed by Pamela Voorhees and she kills Kristen and then forces Neil to commit suicide. Uber Jason’s ship lands on a larger ship that is hosting a party and this leads to him coming in and slaughtering all onboard.

Uber Jason slashed his way into the comic world with this special and sadly I would have to say that his outing of killing was just mediocre and felt like standard slasher comic fair. The plot has two remaining humans capturing and studding Jason in order to find out his secrets for eternal life and soon find themselves the target of his rampage when he breaks free and the voice of his mother urges him to make them pay! Uber Jason is a silent killing machine and while he gets to kill some robots and aliens his bloodlust seems not to be quenched as he clearly would not stop killing. His look is part metal and part rotten flesh and because of this its clear none of our human characters stand a chance against his rampage and that they would have to use their brains to escape him. The voice of Pamela Voorhees is present and for the most part is the real villain of the comic as she is the one who instructs Uber Jason to kill as well is the one who kills the humans as she possesses the make to commit a murder suicide! And when put together this combo of mother and son are brutal, ruthless killers who have no remorse for the acts they do and the lives they take. Kristen and Neil are two humans on a planet that is filled with robots that are both slowly dying and while they have the brains to outsmart Uber Jason they still are just weak humans who meet their match when pitted against the evil Mrs. Voorhees! The robots are just that mindless robots who are just in the way of Uber Jason and all get destroyed as they try and protect their masters from harm. The comic has some brutal moments but most of the kills really are to robots, aliens or illusions that are feed into Uber Jason’s mind when he captive and being studied, and while not as brutal as many of the Avatar Press New Line Cinema Horror comics it still does have lots of the red stuff. The cover is pretty cool and is eye catching to fans of Horror Films and Horror Comics and like always Avatar had a ton of variant covers. The interior art was done by Sebastian Fiumara and is pretty solid stuff and brings Uber Jason and his bloody ways to the comic world. Over all there is not much to say about this comic as its just kind of average in story, solid on art and a very cool piece of Horror Comic history. Check out the art below to see what the style of Fiumara is for this comic special.

So while Jason X: Special # 1 was nothing special, it still was a great way to continue the legacy of Jason in comics and introduce the comic world to Uber Jason. Avatar Press would also have a mini series that they used him in called “Friday The 13th Jason vs. Jason X” that pits Uber Jason against good old classic Jason, and yeah we will talk and review it on a future update for sure! So as we wrap up this update on Jason X and another From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update, we will jump into our 6th update in our countdown to Halloween 2017 as we take a look at the film WaxWork and the comic adaptation from Blackthrone based on it! So until we meet again, read a Horror comic or three, watch a Horror Film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update at the WaxWorks!