Hollywood is still mining the pages of horror looking for that perfect scary film. Witness these six horror stories that have been optioned for TV and film and are (or will hopefully soon be) in the works…
"Suffer the Little Children" by Stephen King
Stephen King is stranger to neither horror nor adaptations. In fact, he is currently enjoying the box office success—more than $606 million so far!—of the theatrical film adaptation of his 1986 novel It. (One of my favorite sf/f/h reading memories.) For King, the hits keep delivering: his story "Suffer The Little Children", which was included in his 1993 collection Nightmares & Dreamscapes, is being turned into a film by writer and director Sean Carter (Keep Watching). Producing the film are Craig Flores, Nicolas Chartier and Sriram Das. (Flores is currently adapting King's 1995 novel Rose Madder.) "Suffer the Little Children" is about an elementary school teacher who notices strange behavior from her students. As suspicions mount and her worst fears are realized, she deices to take matters into her own hands.
The Talisman by Stephen King & Peter Straub
Hey, remember that time I said Stephen King is stranger to neither horror nor adaptations? Yeah, well, just this week, it was announced that yet another Stephen King novel was being adapted to film. This time it's The Talisman, one of the novels he co-wrote with Peter Straub. This 1984 horror novel concerns the attempts of a 12-year-old boy to locate a magical crystal talisman in order to save his mother, who is dying from cancer. Jack's journey takes him alternately between our world and a parallel world called The Territories where "twinners" (dopplegangers of the people from our world) live. For the film version, Amblin Entertainment has tagged filmmaker Josh Boone (director of The Fault in Our Stars) to pen the adaptation.
The Changeling by Victor LaValle
Billed as a dark New York fairy tale (with the emphasis on "dark"), Lavalle's 2017 novel has been optioned for a television series adaptation by Annapurna Television. The Changeling is indeed a retelling of the classic changeling story set in a supernaturally tinged New York riddled with strange secrets. Apollo and his wife Emma are the new parents of a baby boy named Brian. But the blessing of parenthood soon turns nightmarish shortly afterward when tragedy befalls the family. Apollo thus embarks on an odyssey around the city to reclaim his life. The larger storytelling canvas of television should be the perfect place to explore the novel's appetizing mixture of horror, fantasy and realism.
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Speaking of strange odysseys, few are stranger than the protagonist of Malerman's Bird Box, a unique take on the post-apocalyptic genre. The apocalypse in question is the arrival of creatures that drive people to madness and suicide just by looking at them. Malorie is a survivor because she, and a handful of survivors, have adapted to a life of year-round blindfold wearing. Years later, Malorie and her two four-year-old children undertake a blindfolded journey, using only their wits and the children's trained ears, to a place where they hopefully might finally be safe. In addition to appealing to readers, this dark future looks bright for the producers at Netflix, who optioned the novel for film adaptation. Sandra Bullock will star as the Malorie. Susanne Bier (who helmed In a Better World, Brothers, and Serena) will direct the film.
The Ritual by Adam Nevill
Netflix also acquired the rights to the already-produced horror film The Ritual, which is based on Adam Nevill's 2011 award-winning novel of the same name. The Ritual is about a group of four friends who attended the same college. They are reuniting to reconnect with one another after years apart and also to escape the stresses of their everyday lives. The four of them decide to go on a hike in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. Inexperience in the wilderness soon forces them to take a shortcut where things really start to go wrong. Lost and hungry, they come across an old shack that's filled with evidence of ancient rites and pagan rituals, bones littering the floor. Not only are they not alone in the secluded woods, but whatever is out there is coming for them.
Summer of Night by Dan Simmons
Looking to cash in on the success of the coming-of-age horror of Stanger Things, Sony Pictures has acquired the film rights to Summer of Night, the 1991 horror novel written by Dan Simmons. Ben Poole will write the script for the film, while Isaac Ezban will direct. Set in the summer of 1960 in the small town of Elm Haven, Illinois, Summer of Night features five twelve-year-old boys who do what pre-teens do: they ride their bikes and enjoy their summer vacation. Their idyllic days melt away when they learn about the bizarre things that begin to happen in and around Old Central School. After some investigation, the boys discover that a centuries-old evil is awakening in their town and it wants to be born again. Feeling the invincibility of youth, the boys decide to save their town.