Thanks to Halloween, October always seemed to be to the perfect month to cozy up to a good, scary book or movie. Or you can kill two birds with one stone and read a book that's headed for film or television!
Check out this handful of scary stories that are being adapted into television shows and films.
Cabal (aka Nightbreed) by Clive Barker
Few names are synonymous with horror. Clive Barker is one of them. Not only has he scared audiences with chilling books, but he's also the creative force behind many a scary movie. Remember Pinhead from the Hellraiser films? Yeah, that was Barker. Another Barker film, 1990's Nightbreed (which, in a moment of sheer inspiration, cast horror director David Cronenberg as the serial killing psychiatrist named Dekker), was based on his 1988 novella Cabal. The story is about Boone, a man who is surprised to learn from his psychiatrist that he is responsible for several murders. Tortured by the atrocities he has apparently committed, he seeks out sanctuary in a semi-mythical city of Midian that appears to him in his dreams. This city, which is located under a cemetery, is home to all sorts of shape-shifting monsters—collectively known as the Nightbreed—who defend the city against the "real monsters" from the normal world.
Morgan Creek productions is currently in talks with Barker to adapt Nightbreed (again) as a television series. Although nothing has solidified as of yet, four episodes have already been written by Morgan Creek's Michael Plumides and is being overseen by Barker himself. With Barker’s vision, this will hopefully stay true to the source material.
"Jacqueline Ess: Her Will And Testament" by Clive Barker
Barker has another story that is being adapted, this time for the big screen. "Jacqueline Ess: Her Will And Testament" is a short story that appeared in Volume 2 of Barker's three-volume horror fiction collection called Books of Blood. It's the story of a bored housewife who, after a failed suicide attempt, gains the power to change the shape of other people's bodies using only her mind, an ability she uses to bizarre and gruesome effect.
Game of Thrones actress Lena Headey will star in the movie version of Barker’s “Jacqueline Ess,” which is set to enter production this year. Barker is serving as executive producer on the project which includes a script written by Jovanka Vuckovic and Christian Francis. Expect it to be chilling.
Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom
When talking about scary stories, Christmas is most definitely not the holiday that comes to mind. But that didn't stop the fantasy artist and author Brom from tapping the folklore about a beastlike creature who was used to scare children away from misbehavior. As the legend goes, Krampus is the evil creature from whom jolly old Saint Nick stole his magic. In Krampus: The Yule Lord, Krampus steals his magic back, leaving a down-and-out songwriter in the unique position to save the holidays.
Legendary Pictures is adapting Brom's yuletide scare, throwing in a dash of dark humor, too. Michael Dougherty has signed on to co-write the screenplay and direct it. Dougherty has some experience in both horror and SF/F films; he wrote the screenplays for X-Men 2, Trick 'r Treat and Superman Returns. After Krampus, he'll be working on X-Men: Apocalypse and Trick 'r Treat 2. Krampus is set for a November 2015 release. What a way to kick off the holiday season!
The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
A casual observer might think that young readers are shielded from the gruesomeness of horror fiction. But an also-casual stroll down the young adult aisle of any bookstore will disprove that assumption. Case in point: Rick Yancey's Monstrumologist series, which is aimed at teens. The story is told from the perspective of Will Henry, an orphan in the late 19th century. Will serves as the assistant to a doctor who moonlights as a monster hunter. Y'know...for medical purposes. In the first book in the series, the Doctor and Will deal with Anthropophagi—a group of headless creatures that feed through a mouth in their chests and are threatening to take over the world.
Yancey's gothic horror turned heads in Hollywood, if not those of the Anthropophagi. Warner Bros has acquired the film right to Yancey's series. Jessica Postigo (who wrote the screenplay for The Mortal Instruments) has been tasked with writing the adaptation.
Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Speaking of young adult horror...given that some horror is aimed at teens, it should be no surprise that zombie fiction can be easily found among YA titles. One of the most popular is the zombie series penned by Jonathan Maberry, beginning with Rot and Ruin. It's set 14 years after the zombie outbreak, and follows 15-year-old Benny Imura as he travels the zombie apocalypse landscape looking for ways to survive, usually as a reluctant bounty hunter. Rot and Ruin was followed by 3 more books.
This one is still in the early stages of the slow-moving Hollywood adaptation engine, so not much is known yet about the specifics of this project. What is known is that post-apocalyptic adventures for teens are a big business and what better project to adapt than Maberry's Bram Stoker Award nominated YA book, which presents chewy ethical dilemmas for its characters?
V-Wars by Jonathan Maberry
Like Clive Barker, Jonathan Maberry is on a roll. He's flying high on zombies and vampires. V-Wars is a world Maberry created in which a scientific expedition in Antarctica has unknowingly unleashed a millennia-old bacteria that causes humans to exhibit the traits of legendary creatures like vampires and werewolves. But unlike the creatures of legend, these vampires are not undead—they're just humans infected with a virus.
V-Wars originally saw life as a shared world prose anthology but has since made the jump to comic books. Now it's being adapted as a television series as well. The V-Wars project is part of a co-production agreement between IDW Entertainment (who publishes both the prose anthology and the comics) and Entertainment One Television. Dexter Screenwriter Tim Schlattmann is writing the script as well as serving as executive producer for the new series.