Momo, the disturbing sculpture-turned-fake viral challenge that impelled otherwise respectable journalists to totally lose their shit last summer, will soon be the basis of a movie. What took so long?
As you may recall, Momo is a photo of a scary-ass sculpture called Mother Bird (which is far scarier than “Momo”) created by a Japanese special effects company. But last year, Momo took on a life of her own when media outlets began warning parents of the Momo Challenge, in which children were allegedly ordered by Whatsapp users with Momo avatars to perform various acts, including violent and harmful ones. Unsurprisingly, there was little evidence that any such acts actually happened, but the internet’s gonna internet.
According to Deadline, Momo the Movie will be developed in partnership with Roy Lee’s Vertigo Entertainment and Taka Ichise, who are responsible for bringing us both The Ring and The Grudge, so you know they’re very adept at making terrifying ghouls out of long-haired women. Lee also produced It and the upcoming sequel, It: Chapter 2, which to my knowledge does not feature hair at all but maybe they’ll wrestle it in somehow.
Deadline posits that the as-yet untitled project “may widen the story beyond the contemporary digital age. [The artist] Aiso’s sculpture was rooted in the legend of Ubume, a venomous, child-snatching bird of Japanese folklore.”
Excuse me? That is a MUCH better storyline than a stupid (fake) internet challenge. That said, Wikipedia defines an ubume somewhat differently, saying that while her appearance varies,
“...she is most commonly depicted as the spirit of a woman who has died during childbirth. Passersby will see her as a normal looking woman carrying a baby. She will typically try to give the passerby her child then disappear. When the person goes to look at the child in their arms, they discover it is only a bundle of leaves or large rock.”
Between the meme and the folklore, there’s ample opportunity to make something either very, very scary or very, very ham-fisted. Personally, I don’t care which way it goes, because I after I saw Hereditary I took a solemn vow never to watch anything more hair-raising than The Good Place ever again. But you all have fun, you hear?