The Clowns Have Been Sent In to Ruin Everything
There’s a bunch of news about coming horror movies, and very little of it good. Unsurprisingly, horror films are continuing what has been for the most part a downward slide. I can’t help but feel like we’re stuck in a two-track rut right now with horror movies — they’re either brutal, gory torture-porny films, or they’re tepid, unimpressive, uninspired and bland productions aimed at stupid teenagers. There’s a reason I find myself more and more often turning to European releases for decent horror movies. Anyway, here we go:
First, Stephen King has two of his novels currently in pre-production — a remake of Pet Sematary and a big-screen production of It. Neither original production was really great, so it’s not like they’re sacred cows. It was a pretty ridiculous mini-series, though I admit that’s probably the right format — if HBO or AMC would take it on (or, even better, The Stand), I’ll bet we would see something stupendous. Alas, it’s not to be. David Kajganich, who had previously been writing both screenplays, had this to say about It in an interview with Lijas Library:
“In all of my talks with the studio, it has only ever been discussed as a single feature film. The book’s length is clearly more suited to a mini-series — and I understand very well why they went that route the last time around — but I think the book’s content is really more appropriate for cinema. I told the studio from the beginning that I felt I needed to be able to write for an R rating, since I wanted to be as candid as the novel about the terrible things the characters go through as kids. They agreed and off I went.”
When asked to compare this version to the original series, he says:
“I think the biggest difference is that we’re working with about two-thirds the onscreen time they had for the miniseries. That sounds dire, I know, but it doesn’t necessarily mean two-thirds the amount of story. I’m finding as many ways as I can to make certain scenes redundant by deepening and doubling others. To me, this is an interesting process because it has the effect of thematically intensifying the whole, but it can lead to dramatic surprises. Certain scenes I thought would be crucial to the coherence of the whole ended up cut, while other scenes, which were somewhat cursory in the book, ended up being pivotal in the script.
“I know I’m being vague, but there’s not a lot I can tell you at this point about the specifics, since we’re still very much in development on it. I’ll just say for now that we’re really swinging for the fences.”
This does not fill me with joy. His words on Pet Sematary are even worse:
“After I turned in my first draft, Paramount went through a top-down regime change and I was given a new executive who had creative ideas I just couldn’t stand behind… They wanted to appeal to younger audiences, so there was talk of making a teenaged Ellie the main character, and etc. It was really heartbreaking, but that’s how the process works sometimes. The studio was gracious enough to let me out of my contract and the project was dormant at the studio until very recently… The current news is that Paramount has restarted the process with a new producer and writer …I wish I could tell you something about their approach, or how it’s going, but I’m entirely out of the loop now.”
Ugh. That’s fucking miserable. The words “to appeal to younger audiences” should be fucking banned from all discussions about horror movies. Every time an executive says it, a cattle prod should be jammed up their ass.
Incidentally, the new producer and writer that he mentions are Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Matt Greenberg. Greenberg wrote the screenplays for Halloween: H20 and The Prophecy 2. Di Bonaventura has produced, among other things, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and Doom. He’s got a couple of decent productions under his belt as well, but…
So, there you go. If you had any hopes of future Stephen King properties being given a proper and exciting treatment and being developed into interesting and scary features, I’m here to basically set those hopes on fire.
You’re fucking welcome.