I don’t usually look at my bookcase and think “wow, wouldn’t these be great movies?”, but I have gotten lucky in the past few years as some of my favorite novels have been turned into excellent films. This makes me greedy for more, more, more – so here is my latest glance at my horror book collection and what I found there that would make a great film. Directors, you’re welcome – get on this!
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Joe Hill adaptations are not guaranteed hits with Horns, NOS4A2, and Locke and Key all getting polarizing critical responses, but his debut novel, Heart-Shaped Box, is crying out for the movie treatment. The story of an ageing rockstar having a ghost unleashed on him is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever read, and my best friend Mike Flanagan would make a tremendous film out of it.
Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons
The Terror was a brilliant adaptation of Dan Simmons’ novel, so much so that I expected a rash of rumors about the rest of his novels being in some stage of development. That hasn’t happened yet, so let me get the ball rolling with what many (including Stephen King and Guillermo Del Toro) consider his masterpiece: Carrion Comfort. The scale of this novel is huge so it might be better as a series of films jumping as it does back and forward through the 20th century as a Holocaust survivor, a Charleston sheriff, and a photojournalist try to take down a cabal of psychics who have a controlling interest in human affairs. I know that sounds a bit dry, but it does have lots of action, intrigue, and scale that would make Ridley Scott,or Kathryn Bigelow a great fit for this.
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
One of the best things about the continued popularity of HP Lovecraft is that authors he has influenced are still coming up with newer ideas and commentaries about his work and his frankly dismal personality. We have seen this with the recent success of Lovecraft County, but Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom deserves a mention. LaValle expertly rearranges the narrative point of view of Lovecraft’s The Horror at Red Hook, one of his more overtly racist stories, to centre proceedings around the titular Black Tom. It’s a brilliant book full of insight and even some compassion underneath all of the real world and cosmic horror. If Barry Jenkins wants to try the horror genre, The Ballad of Black Tom would be a perfect place to start.
It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway: don’t wait for the films, read these novels. And let me know which novels you’re hoping to see adapted in the comments below!
By Kevin Boyle
Header Image: Fantasy Hive