A. Scott Glancy, American Gods, Anne Rice, art, books, Caitlin R Kiernan, film adaptations, Good Omens, Laird Barron, monsters, Neil Gaiman, short stories, Snow White, T.E.D. Klein, Teatro Grottesco, Tery Pratchett, The Events at Poroth Farm, The Vampire Lestat, Thomas Ligotti, vampires, weird fiction
I’ve mentioned bluchickenninja before, and so I will again. She posted a list of 10 books she would like to see a (good) movie adaptation of…and that’s a thing I think about a lot, what with the combination of working at a movie theatre and reading all of the books I have time for.
The problem is that a LOT of the books I have already have film adaptations. I tried to do a list of books/stories–okay, so most of them in my list are short stories–I enjoy that don’t already have that going for (or against) them, and I almost did it, but not quite. Too many crappy movie adaptations; there is at least one that I feel could be done again, and done better.
That said, here are my 10.
The Vampire Lestat
Novel by Anne Rice, sequel to Interview with the Vampire….and such a great book because Lestat is a great character. But it never got its own movie. It was, however, badly incorporated into Queen of The Damned, which is one of my least favourite in Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. I think it would be better done with the proper storyline, with the 18th century backstory and without the unnecessary introduction of characters that weren’t even in that book…but it’ll never happen, because vampires have run out of popularity, it seems. They’ll come back (don’t they always?), but I doubt this will really be on the radar, given how old the book already is.
The Events at Poroth Farm
Novelette by T.E.D. Klein, it probably wouldn’t make an amazing movie, but it could be a decent creepy film. Klein’s narrator admits at the very beginning that his story isn’t very believable, being based on the clichés of religious repression, rural isolation, and “something in the water”, but this is still one of my favourite weird tales, and I think that with the right details and pacing, it could be just as visually creepy as it is in print.
Novel by Neil Gaiman, which works off the premise of the gods and supernatural creatures of every mythology living and adapting and scheming and being murdered among everyday people. There are a lot of great side-plots and secondary characters in this book, so I don’t know how easy it would be to translate to cinema, but it’s a story I’d be interested to see someone take a crack at.
In the Water Works
Short story (a long one, at that) by Caitlín R Kiernan. It’s ultimately a “what is it?” story, but one with the kind of setting and characters that keep it from being kitschy (I realise that may be an opinion, but I think it’s a valid one). It’s the kind of story where you can imagine it as a film because the characters seem so normal. But in the end, it’s still creepy.
Snow, Glass, Apples
Short story by Neil Gaiman, reimagining the Snow White story, except from the POV of the “evil stepmother”. That’s a “thing” these last few years…reimaginings of fairy tales, or retellings from the POV of the villain…and I particularly liked this one because, A) it kept all of the primary details of the story, B) it made the details really, really dark, and C) it reclaimed that uneasy feeling one sometimes gets when reading the original versions of fairy tales, when you can’t even feel good about the supposed “happy” endings. It makes me think of Pan’s Labyrinth, tbh…that’s how I see it in my head, at least.
Hand of Glory
Short story by Laird Barron. I like the setting a lot…it’s like a sort of prohibition-era hillbilly setting, except in Washington state, rather than Appalachia. I watched a movie recently called Lawless (Tom Hardy, Shia LeBeouf), and that’s kind of what I picture this story like in my head. Except without so much moonshine, and with more creepy cults instead. I also liked the way the main character seems to come out on top in this instance, which isn’t usually the case in a weird tale…it amuses me to think that gangsters might trump monsters. Just this once.
Short story by Thomas Ligotti. Depending on how one reads the characters, they could be made up to seem like mostly normal, pretentious, artsy-types, living the sorts of thrifty, seedy lives that one lives when one is a poor artist. And then blaming the loss of their artistic inclination on a shadowy group of people whose reasons for targeting artists are unclear. Although they may have something to do with androids. Or doctors. Or some things that, when I see them in my mind, look like dahlia flowers. Hungry dahlia flowers…
A collaborative novel written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. This one isn’t a weird tale, I promise…but it is about the apocalypse getting botched by less-than-competent demons (and one lazy angel), and it is a humor story. I feel like it could be awesome and campy and still be totally faithful to the feel of the story…the kind of movie where one actually has a narrator break in from time to time because it’s the best way to deliver some of the jokes that are in footnotes throughout the book. Not that I want to compare the two books, but I keep thinking about the way that The Hitchhiker’s Guide movie was done. And then also about Monty Python. (Confession: I’m not good at humor.)
Once More From the Top
Okay, so, since I’m not good at humor…this is a short story by A. Scott Glancy. And it’s based on a Lovecraft idea, but this is a much more exciting version of The Shadow Over Innsmouth. Think 1920s, and the Navy rounding up all the creepy inhabitants of a coastal town, and finding so many shut-up attics and cellars…and the chaos when these spaces are opened up and the things are unleashed…and then the hordes that burble up from the sea to attack…this is basically the action version of my thing for weird tales. But it was an exciting story, and I think it could be an equally exciting movie. The only thing that I wouldn’t like so much about cinematising this particular one is the showing of the creatures. That can either be great, like in Pan’s Labyrinth or District 9, or really awful, like in so many other alien and monster movies.
So, yeah…great stories that I would probably watch if they were ever movies, but won’t get to because they probably won’t be. It’s fun to think about though. 😛