Keep an eye out for our in-depth columns on the Apple TV+ limited series Lessons in Chemistry, based on the Kirkus-starred bestseller by Bonnie Garmus and starring Brie Larson (premiering Oct. 13), and Killers of the Flower Moon, a theatrical film based on the Kirkus-starred true-crime book by David Grann and directed by Martin Scorsese (premiering Oct. 20). Meanwhile, here are four more book-to-screen adaptations coming to big and small screens in October:
Oct. 6: Cat Person (theatrical film premiere)
Kristen Roupenian’s trenchant short story “Cat Person,” about a brief and unpleasant relationship between a 20-year-old college student and a sketchy 34-year-old (who dubiously claimed to own two cats), became a sensation after it was published in the New Yorker in December 2017. It later appeared in Roupenian’s 2019 collection, You Know You Want This (later renamed Cat Person and Other Stories). Now the story has been adapted as a feature film, directed by Susanna Fogel, who co-wrote the brilliant 2019 comedy Booksmart. Its fine cast includes CODA’s Emilia Jones and Succession’s Nicholas Braun, as well as the always-charming Geraldine Viswanathan (The Broken Hearts Gallery) in a supporting role.
Oct. 6: The Exorcist: Believer (theatrical film premiere)
William Peter Blatty’s bestselling 1971 novel, The Exorcist, spawned a blockbuster 1973 film of the same name, which is widely hailed as one of the greatest horror films ever made. Its cast included Linda Blair as 12-year-old Regan MacNeil, who’s possessed by a demon, and Ellen Burstyn as her mother, Chris. Several sequels and prequels of varying quality followed, as well as an excellent 2016 TV series on Fox. This new film pretends that all those other productions never happened; it’s a direct sequel to the original film, set in the present day. Burstyn returns as Chris MacNeil, whose experience with Regan gives her insight into the apparent demonic possession of two more young girls. The movie is co-written and directed by David Gordon Green, who was the creative force behind a recent trilogy of lively Halloween sequels, and its trailer promises a similarly wild ride.
Oct. 6: Pet Sematary: Bloodlines (film premiere, Paramount+)
This horror prequel, set in 1969, follows the very creepy 2019 film adaptation of Stephen King’s tense 1983 novel, Pet Sematary. Once again, the plot revolves around a cemetery in rural Maine (with a chronically misspelled sign) that has the power to bring dead animals—and dead humans—back to life; the problem is that those who are revived have strong tendencies toward bloody violence. Mrs. Fletcher’s Jackson White stars as a young Jud Crandall—played by John Lithgow in the 2019 film—and he’s supported by an intriguing cast that includes David Duchovny, Pam Grier, and Henry Thomas (who gave a fine performance in the 2019 Netflix miniseries The Haunting of Hill House.)
Oct. 29: Fellow Travelers (miniseries premiere, Showtime)
Thomas Mallon’s Kirkus-starred 2007 historical novel gets the prestige-TV treatment in this miniseries, which stars White Collar’s Matt Bomer as unscrupulous U.S. State Department official Hawkins Fuller and Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey as idealistic U.S. Senate aide Tim Laughlin, who begin a secret affair in the 1950s at the height of McCarthyism. “Their relationship takes place over a span of several years,” notes our review, “marked by the Korean War’s conclusion, the Suez Crisis, the Hungarian Revolution and the looming national prominence of V.P. Richard Nixon and Sen. John F. Kennedy.” This miniseries, created and written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia), ambitiously expands the timeframe further, up to the 1980s, to provide a sweeping portrait of politics and gay life in America. (The first episode will air on Oct. 27—two days early—on the streaming service Paramount+ with Showtime.)
David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.