Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

More Martin

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

In addition to the GOT spinoffs, another George R.R. Martin adaptation is in the works. The Syfy channel just greenlighted a pilot based on his supernatural 1980 novella Nightflyers.

A team is “setting up a writers room to generate backup scripts in preparation for a potential series pickup,” reports Deadline Hollywood. The pilot script is being written by Jeff Buhler, known for the horror films The Midnight Meat Train and the upcoming remake of Jacob’s Ladder.

Variety describes the story as following “eight maverick scientists and a powerful telepath who embark on an expedition to the edge of our solar system in the hopes of contacting alien life. They travel aboard The Nightflyer – a ship with a small tightknit crew and a reclusive captain. But when terrifying and violent events begin to take place they start to question each other, and surviving the journey proves harder than anyone thought.”

The Nerdist adds “After all, if the night is dark and full of terrors, just imagine what untold horrors lie in the inky blackness of space.”

On his blog, Martin says it is “one of my SF/ horror hybrids … a favorite of mine (especially the longer version that I did for BINARY STARS), and I think the show could have a lot of potential… especially if you like a little horror in your SF.”

The novella was adapted into what Den of Geek calls “a schlocky, limited-releasefilm in 1987. The novella itself is collected in Martin’s 1985 Nightflyers, now out of print.

Martin, who has an exclusive contract with HBO, is not involved with this new project.

Even More Stephen King

Monday, May 1st, 2017

9781501143793_cfb83It’s a good time to review your inventory of Stephen King’s backlist. Yet another adaptation of one of his novels is on the way.

Deadline Hollywood reports that Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) is adapting Firestarter (S&S/Pocket). This will be the second adaptation, following the 1984 version starring Drew Barrymore as a young girl who “develops pyrokinetic abilities and is abducted by a secret government agency that wants to harness her powerful gift as a weapon.”

In “Rereading Stephen King,” The Guardian acknowledged that the novel is often listed among King’s Top Ten works, “It’s early King, when (collective wisdom has it) he was still writing exciting, original novels, playing in the ballparks of horror-SF that his diehard early readers love.” However, objects their reader, it is “a very thin narrative, stretched over a pretty big book” and call it “easily … the least effective of King’s early works.”

Tor.com did a re-read as well, opening with the comment that it is “the most science fictional of King’s suspense novels, spawned a flop movie and its reputation has become tarnished with time,” concluding “Far from being one of his ‘meh’ books, approaching Firestarter with an open mind reveals it to be one of King’s most fascinating.”

This is now the 7th King adaptation in the works.

It is coming in September. When the trailer was released Deadline wrote that it “set a 24-hour global record with close to 200 million views.”

The long delayed Dark Tower is due out this summer. io9 wrote about the first footage shown at CinemaCon back in March, saying “It looked like a huge amalgamation of all of Stephen King’s books with plenty of original story worked in. This is not a straight adaptation. No, it’s a new take on this story. Almost an alternate dimension.” Look for a trailer arriving this weekTrailer Track predicts it will be shown ahead of this week’s screenings of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Adding to the list, The Mist is coming on June 22nd. The TV series based on Mr. Mercedes is currently filming. In post-production, but with no release dates yet, are 1922, based on a short story, and Gerald’s Game, based on King’s 1992 novel.

To Screen: THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE

Friday, April 21st, 2017

9780143039983_6ad77Netflix is adapting Shirley Jackson’s iconic horror novel, The Haunting of Hill House into a series reports Variety. It is being described as “a modern reimagining.”

Mike Flanagan (Hush, Oculus, and Ouija: Origin of Evil) is on board to direct the planned 10-episode run. This is his second horror adaptation for Netflix. He is currently in post-production on Netflix’s movie adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game.

GQ is excited about Flanagan’s role, saying “he knocks it out of the park every damn time … [and] has already been responsible for beloved modern horrors … The Haunting of Hill House is a tense, almost unbearable book at times. It will be great to see how the director works with dread over the course of several episodes rather than just a few hours.”

io9 says “Flanagan’s flair for making even ordinary things intensely spooky—this is a guy who made a sidewalk tunnel into a place of sheer terror in 2011’s excellent Absentia—suggests he’s an ideal choice for this project.”

Jackson’s novel is considered a classic of the genre, and has its own Penguin’s classic edition to prove it. Published in 1959, it was a finalist for the National Book Award. The story follows four people who spend time in the creepy halls of Hill House, known for its supernatural phenomena. One of the four becomes subject to the house’s menacing hold.

Stephen King wrote, in the introduction of one of the many editions of the novel, “it seems to me that [The Haunting of Hill House] and James’s The Turn of the Screw are the only two great novels of the supernatural in the last hundred years.”

Tor re-visits the novel on the 100th anniversary of Jackson’s birth, writing “It’s a masterpiece, truly, and for myriad different reasons—but above all else it’s frightening, a slow and anxious and steady sort of frightening.” The Guardian says it is “a chilling and highly accomplished piece of writing.”

It has already been adapted, twice, as feature films released in 1963 and 1999. The Netflix’s version will be another marker in the recent up swing of attention to Jackson, who also wrote the masterful short story “The Lottery.” A critically acclaimed biography of the author was published last October, Penguin is issuing Classics versions of her work with introductions by authors such as Francine Prose, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Kevin Wilson. Last year “The Lottery” was adapted into a graphic novel and Random House issued a collection of previously unpublished and uncollected works, Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings.

THE BEGUILED, Trailer

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

A new trailer for Sofia Coppola’s upcoming movie, The Beguiled has been released in advance of the Cannes Film Festival, where it has been entered into competition. Starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning, and Kirsten Dunst, it is based on a 1966 Southern Gothic novel, A Painted Devil by Thomas Cullinan.

Set during the Civil War, the plot involves a group of women sequestered in a girls boarding school in the South, whose lives are turned upside down by the appearance of a wounded Union soldier. The movie is scheduled to debut in theaters on June 30th. Based on the trailer, IndieWire ventures that, “Coppola might just have the indie hit of the summer on her hands.”

Cullinan’s book was adapted before, also under the title The Beguiled.  Released in 1971, it starred Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page. Considered a flop, it reportedly has developed a cult following since. The trailer for that movie works hard to attract audiences to the story of “a man who becomes prisoner to these man-deprived women, these man-eager girls.”

Coppola told Entertainment Weekly earlier this year that hers will be quite a different movie.  She shifts the focus away from he soldier to “the dynamics between a group of women all stuck together, and then also the power shifts between men and women.”

Little information is available about the 1966 novel, which has been out of print for 30 years. For the upcoming tie-in edition, the publisher quotes Stephen King from his book on horror novels and films, Danse Macabre, calling it “[A] mad gothic tale . . . The reader is mesmerized with horror by what goes on in that forgotten school for young ladies.” There are a few, mostly positive reviews on GoodReads, from film buffs who managed to snag out-of-print copies.

The Beguiled: A Novel (Movie Tie-In)
Thomas Cullinan
PRH/Penguin Books, Trade Paperback; OverDrive
On Sale Date: June 6, 2017

IT Closer To Screen

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

9781501156687_c02cdStephen King’s horror classic IT is getting closer to its release date, one of them, that is.

The 1986 story that made a generation terrified of clowns is being made into a 2-part movie.

Part one follows a group of teenagers, members of the Losers’ Club, who live in a small town in Maine and fight against an ancient and shape-shifting evil that terrorizes the town every 27 years. Part one of the film version follows those kids. It releases on September 8, 2017.

King, never shy about sharing his views on adaptations of his movies (he famously hates Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining), let it be known that he was happy with what he has seen so far. His message board now has a post reading that “he saw a screening of IT today and wanted to let everybody know that they should stop worrying about it as the producers have done a wonderful job with the production.

Part two will follow those same terrorized teens as adults, as they once again stand guard against the recurring evil of It. Filming is about to begin, a surprise to the film fan site BloodyDisgusting  , which thought the studio would wait to see how well part one does, “We figured cameras wouldn’t start rolling unless/until box office numbers came in, but it seems we were quite wrong about that … filming will begin March 17, 2017 on the second film, under the secret title Accordion.”

Andrés Muschietti (Mama) is directing and Swedish actor Bill Skarsgård plays the evil clown Pennywise. One of the producers is Seth Grahame-Smith, known for launching the mashup craze with his books Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.

The producers were clearly holding their breath for King’s reaction. Muschietti posted on Instagram, “Not a humblebrag. A brag! Mr King, you had us at ‘stop worrying’.

Entertainment Weekly posted a creepy picture of Pennywise, calling the character a “bloodthirsty jokester — just one incarnation of a shape-shifting evil that feeds on fear, misery, and the occasional child.”

A mass market tie-in edition, It (MTI): A Novel, Stephen King (Pocket/S&S), comes out on July 25, 2017. Cover art has yet to be released.

THE PASSAGE Trilogy Heads to TV

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

After a flirtation with the big screen, Justin Cronin’s post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy trilogy is now headed to the small screen via a pilot order by Fox for a possible 10-episode series adaptation.

Liz Heldens (Friday Night Lights) will write the pilot and Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) will direct. Cronin is on board as a co-producer.

Deadline Hollywood reports “The Passage‘s road to the screen started in 2007 when, in a fierce bidding situation … Fox 2000 landed the first book — then half-written — for $1.75 million … Originally developed as a feature, the producers eventually determined that the property would be better served as a TV series.”

Scott Free Productions is behind the series. Founded by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, The Martian) and his brother Tony Scott (Top Gun), the production company is no stranger to high concept adaptations. They are the team responsible for The Man in the High Castle based on Philip K. Dick’s classic 1954 SF title and AMC’s upcoming The Terror, based on Dan Simmons’s historical horror novel.

9780345504968_9558c9780345542373_93f8d9780345505002_893e2

 

 

 

 

 

The trilogy consists of:

The Passage (PRH/Ballantine, 2010; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample)

The Twelve (PRH/Ballantine, 2012; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample)

The City of Mirrors (PRH/Ballantine, 2016; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample)

The NYT Genre Round-Up

Monday, October 31st, 2016

Eighteen genre novels get featured in a series of three new overviews in this week’s NYT book section.

9780393292329_f9284The novelist Charles Finch takes on thrillers, casting a critical eye over some of the offerings but deeply enjoying The Fall Guy, James Lasdun (Norton; OverDrive Sample), about two men caught up in a competition over a woman, one of whom is destined to fulfill the title.

Finch calls it “exceptionally entertaining … a cross of literary fiction, thriller and mystery” that reads like “early Ian McEwan or late Patricia Highsmith.”

He says that Lasdun cleverly crafts the story, “His clues never seem like clues until they bind tightly around one of the three leads” and that the novel is “exactly what a literary thriller should be: intelligent, careful, swift, unsettling.”

It is also a November Indie Next pick.

tf_cover_sm-400x600Reviewing six Horror titles, film critic Terrence Rafferty (who wrote a piece on Thrillers featuring killer women in June) very much likes  the small press offering The Fisherman by John Langan (Word Horde), the story of two grief-burdened fisherman who cast their lines in possibly magical waters.

He calls it “superb” and says that Langan “manages to sustain the focused effect of a short story or a poem over the course of a long horror narrative.”

Rafferty continues that the novel is “unusually dense with ideas and images” and full of “elegant prose.” In the end, he says, readers feel a “sad urgency on every page” of this “strange and terrifying” tale.

9781681772400_77f74In her largely non-committal survey of six True-Crime offerings, Marilyn Stasio picks The Thieves of Threadneedle Street: The Incredible True Story of the American Forgers Who Nearly Broke the Bank of England (Norton/ Pegasus; OverDrive Sample), Nicholas Booth as a good bet.

It is the tale of a masterful 19th century forgery case that Stasio calls a “jaunty caper” led by a man who was no stranger to international long cons.

Hitting Screens, Week of Aug. 22

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

9780765322470Just one adaptation opens in the coming week but  it will not make much noise, since it opens in a limited number of theaters (also on VOD), which is unfortunate because it received strong reviews when it premiered at this year’s SXSW.

I Am Not a Serial Killer is based on the 2009 thriller of the same title by Dan Wells. The first in a series, it received a starred review from Kirkus, which called it a “gory gem …this deft mix of several genres features a completely believable teenage sociopath (with a heart of gold), dark humor, [and} a riveting mystery.” Other titles in the series received equally strong reviews from both Booklist and Kirkus.

The plot line is reminiscent of  another series, Dexter. In this case, the main character is a 15-year-old struggling with the realization that he exhibits the classic personality traits of a serial killer. As he fights his own tendencies, he uses his special knowledge to try to help solve a series of murders happening in his small town.

The movie stars Back to the Future‘s Christopher Lloyd and, as the main character, Max Records (Where the Wild Things Are).

Talking Horror

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

9780062363268_df008  Front_Cover_Image_Man_With_No_Name-423x628  9780765387868_ec93e

The WSJ Speak Easy podcasts take a look at pop culture, particularly TV and movies, but the latest is devoted to horror fiction, a half hour conversation that offers a way in to the genre for anyone who is not already a fan.

Featured are author Paul Tremblay, winner of last year’s Bram Stoker Award and whose new book Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) has garnered admiration. Joining him are Laird Barron, Man With No Name (JournalStone; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) and Victor LaValle, The Ballad of Black Tom (Macmillan/Tor; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Each discusses how they translate their own fears into their writing as well as the influence of H.P. Lovecraft and growing awareness of his racist views.

LaValle re-worked a Lovecraft story as The Ballad of Black Tom, taking Lovecraft’s idea that the most horrific idea is a universe that doesn’t care about your existence and turning it instead to a universe set against you, intent on wiping you out. He says that Lovecraft’s prejudices “limited his understanding of the breadth and depth of his own concept.”

They close by listing what scares them most, various visions of the future.

 

Readers’ Advisory: DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL’S ROCK

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

9780062363268_df008After nearly a decade of writing novels to steady but muted notice, Paul Tremblay may have broken through.

Tremblay won the Bram Stoker award this year for A Head Full of Ghosts (HC/William Morrow, June 2015; paperback, May 10, 2016; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample),  a novel that earned him comparisons to Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House by io9, a rave in the NYT, and the attention of Stephen King.

Now Tremblay is back with Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample). NPR reviewer Jason Heller, a senior writer at The A.V. Club, says is “it’s even more head-spinning” than his Stoker winner.

Heller calls the book a “dizzying emotional vortex” full of “immediacy [and] immaculate storytelling” and says Tremblay’s “characters are rendered vividly and sensitively. The ambience is all shadows.”

Terrance Rafferty, in a round-up of new horror titles in the NYT, says that Tremblay (among others he highlights) is the heir to Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Straub, and Edgar Allan Poe and that his book “is never, at any point, exactly what you expect it to be.”

Tor.com offers a rave review, concluding: “Tremblay left me speechless, breathless, deeply unsettled and impossibly impressed. I love being genuinely scared by a book, so Disappearance at Devil’s Rock left me with a giant smile, too … In a summer of great horror releases, this one is among the very best.”

Holds are over a 3:1 ratio at several libraries we checked while others have yet to order or are showing circ. about equal to copies.

 

IT Gets Its Clown

Monday, June 6th, 2016

9781501142970_c0849“Up-and-coming” actor Bill Skarsgard will play the lead in the adaptation of Stephen King’s novel It reports Deadline Hollywood, adding, “It’s a step up for Skarsgard, who has been knocking on the door in series like Hemlock Grove and the Divergent sequels.”

Andy Muschietti (Mama) is directing the New Line Cinema production (after Jane Eyre‘s Cary Fukunaga left the project). Mash-up master Seth Grahame-Smith is one of the producers.

Consequence of Sound reports the movie will be a two-part set with the first following “the children being stalked by the titular shapeshifting monster, while the second will pick up decades later, when those same kids are confronting their same demons as adults.”

It is one of King’s highest regarded novels, ranked as #1 on Den of Geek‘s gathering of King’s “Top 10 Pure Horror Novels” saying “IT is King’s terrifying, gruesome, trashy, cosmic, demonic horror masterpiece that we still can’t claw out of our minds so many years later.” The novel also beat out all but The Stand and The Shining on BuzzFeed‘s list of King’s “11 Essential” books. In a Rolling Stones reader poll the crazy clown novel ranked the 2nd most popular of any King novel.

Fans may recall that this is not the first It adaptation. In 1990 a TV miniseries starring Tim Curry aired on ABC.

Readers Advisory: Horror

Friday, May 20th, 2016

9780062363237_da22eA Head Full of Ghosts, Paul Tremblay (HC/William Morrow, June 2015; paperback, May 10, 2016; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) has won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel.

io9 offers a rave review, calling it “a brilliant book that follows a New England family in their descent into madness, following in the footsteps of some of the the genre’s greats, such as Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House or Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper” and continuing:

“It’s a fantastic look at the horror genre as a whole … the book runs right to the end with an utterly horrifying conclusion that absolutely blew me away … What ultimately makes A Head Full of Ghosts such a great read is that it’s a gripping novel, one that builds and builds, increasing the tension and dread as the pages turn. It’s a book that’s certainly going to keep me up for a couple more nights yet.”

The NYT agrees, calling the Indie Next pick “terrific” and saying it offers “the pleasurable fog of calculated, perfectly balanced ambiguity.”

NPR approves as well, commenting that Tremblay’s “ultimate, bloodcurdling revelation is as sickeningly satisfying as it is masterful.”

Looking for more suggestions to keep up with horror fans? Consider the titles on the Stoker’s short list:

9781250055804_73899 TheDeep433x653-2 the-cure Front_Cover_Image_Black_Tide-423x628

The Scarlet Gospels, Clive Barker (Macmillan/St. Martin’s, Mar. 2015)

The Deep, Michaelbrent Collings (self-published, July 2015)

The Cure, JG Faherty (Samhain Publishing, May 2015)

Black Tide, Patrick Freivald (JournalStone Publishing)

Also look to the winner and short list for the Stoker categories Superior Achievement in a First Novel as well as YA fiction. The full list of winners and nominees is available online.

RA Alert: THE LONEY

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

9780544746527_4c1a5Debut gothic horror novel, The Loney by British author Andrew Michael Hurley (HMH; Overdrive Sample), has been named “Book of the Year” by the British Book Industry.

The awards honor the industry as a whole, from authors to publishers to retailers. Added this year are prizes for fiction, nonfiction, debut fiction, and children’s books. The “Book of the Year’ is selected from the winners of those four categories. The Loney rose over a shortlist of 32 titles including Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train and Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman.

The Guardian reports the awards are given to books “that have been both well-written and brilliantly published” and surveys The Loney‘s rise, which started as a limited run of 300 copies from an indie publisher. Word of mouth was so strong that it was picked up by UK publisher John Murray and went on to win the Costa first novel award and the print run was increased by almost 100 fold. The novel earned the praise of Stephen King, reports The Bookseller, and was acquired by DNA Films (Ex Machina).

It comes out in the U.S. today and has already caught the notice of Entertainment Weekly, which includes it on their list of “11 excellent new books to read in May.” The review however, gives it a B+, marking it down for a lack of genre focus and speed but calls it “ultimately terrifying” with “dark, unexpected depths.”

The Guardian offers stronger praise, “like the best gothic novels, The Loney is not merely thrills and chills: it is also a perceptive and nuanced exploration of the interrelation between faith, community and nature … the effect is both strikingly assured and authentic, while also comprehensively destabilising any assumptions the reader may have had about all three.”

Check your orders. In several libraries holds are far outpacing copies.

9781419717987_99b18National Book Award finalist, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, took the fiction award. The nonfiction winner, a surprise  best seller in Europe, received less attention here, Lars Mytting and Robert Ferguson’s Norwegian Wood, is as the subtitle states, about “Chopping, Stacking, and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way.”

David Solomons’s My Brother is a Superhero won best children’s book.

Stephen King’s IT To Begin Filming (Again)

Monday, April 25th, 2016

9781501142970_c0849Fans may take with a grain of salt the newly announced release date of Sept 8, 2017 for the film adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 novel It (cover, at left, from the S&S/Scribner trade paperback, released in January). The project has been on the burner since 2012. Back in December of 2014, it was confidently announced that it was set to begin filming the following summer, with True Detective‘s Cary Fukunaga directing.

Fukunaga left the project last May and has since been replaced by Andy Muschietti. Entertainment Weekly reports that “Fans of King’s novel should be pleased with the current take on the script” quoting the producer saying it will be in two parts, one “from the point of view of the kids, and then making another movie from the point of view of the adults, that could potentially then be cut together like the novel. But it’s gonna be a really fun way of making this movie.”

Currently filming, also after many delays, is the movie adaptation of King’s The Dark Tower, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. It is set for release Feb. 17, 2017, so two long-awaited King adaptations may arrive next year.

Next Stephen King Novel

Monday, October 12th, 2015

End of Watch, KingAs an indicator of the importance of  Stephen King to the Hollywood community, the movie trade site Deadline announces the title of the author’s next book, End Of Watch, (S&S/Scribner, 9781501129742, 6/7/16), the final volume in the trilogy which began with Mr. Mercedes (2014), currently being developed as a limited TV series, and Finders Keepers (2015).

In addition, Scribner has acquired the rights to King’s backlist formerly held by RH/Doubleday.

King’s short story collection The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams is set for release in print and audio on November 3.