Most readers badly wish to see movies made from works by their favorite writers. Actually, we really hope to see good movies made from works by our favorite writers. We've seen the shitty ones: Ghost Story, Manhunter (OK, I know not everyone agrees, but God I hate that movie), The Keep (Michael Mann strikes out again), Firestarter, Midnight Mass.
It gets so we're surprised when there are good one. Despite some real clunkers, Stephen King has been pretty fortunate. So has Jack Ketchum, but, oh, how I wish they had used a different music supervisor for The Woman. Even Edward Lee's Header came out damned good.
We all have our dream projects that we'd love to see made into movies. Of course I would love to see anything by Bill Pronzini adapted for the screen. Then there are Preston and Child's Pendergast stories, but I gather that the character is hung up in a terminal ownership web. F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack could make an outstanding franchise, but it has been in development hell for ages.
I think Laymon's The Traveling Vampire Show would be a tremendous movie in the right cinematic hands. I've always wanted to see Mark Frost's The List of 7 as a movie. And I would almost have an orgasm to see John Farris's Son of the Endless Night get adapted.
Most of us are Joe R. Lansdale fans and I think that most of us agree that his particular style of storytelling is perfect to be translated to the screen. There have been some things made so far.
My favorite Lansdale adaptation is just a wisp of a short film called The Job. It is based off of a story of the same name in the (wonderful) Razored Saddles anthology. The Job was adapted in 1997 by A.W. Feidler and it's as slick and professional as anything being made at the time. The Job is inspired by true events and it's a horrifying tale. It creeps up on the viewer and he or she pretty much is aware of what is going on in the story by near the end of its eleven minute running time, but that is how it was crafted. The end is as chilling as it is understated.
The Job was put onto a short films DVD anthology, which is now out of print. You can get used copies fairly cheaply, and I recommend that all Lansdale fans do so.
I had hoped that A.W. Feidler would go on to do more work in the movies, but sadly that does not seem to be the case. Sad, he showed a wealth of talent with The Job.
One of Lansdale's most notorious pieces of fiction is called Drive-In Date. It too was adapted into a short movie. Drive-In Date is crudely made, but that adds to the disturbing tone of the story. I recommend it as well, but I have no idea how to go about finding it.
Of course, everyone knows that Lansdale's novella, Bubba Ho-Tep, was made into a movie by Don (Phantasm) Coscarelli. Fan favorite Bruce Campbell plays an aged Elvis who is confined to an old folk's home. He and a friend go to war with a mummy in the story. Bubba Ho-Tep is a lot of fun and you really couldn't ask for a better movie from the source material.
Note: Lansdale's Bubba Ho-Tep originally appeared in an anthology edited by Paul Sammon called The King is Dead: Tales of Elvis Postmortem. It's one of the coolest books I've ever read and everyone should get a copy.
Coscarelli also adapted a short story by Lansdale for the inaugural episode of the cable anthology series, Masters of Horror. The story is called Incident On and Off a Mountain Road. It's one of Joe's best, and most effective pieces, but many viewers, myself included, were underwhelmed by the show.
There has been quite a few announcements of Lansdale projects to be adapted, but as far as I know, none have come to fruition. Hopefully this will change in the near future.
Joe's zombie yarn, Christmas with the Dead, has been completed, I think, and it has been showed to audiences here and there. He and his son, Keith, have collaborated on the story. Some of us have had it up to here with zombies, but with Lansdale writing, I think we will make an exception and watch this one. It's an indie production, so chances that most of us will get to see it at a theater are slim. Hopefully it will be available on DVD sometime soon.
Interestingly, Joe's friend and fellow genre author, Chet Williamson, has an acting role in Christmas with the Dead.
For my money, one of Joe's best novels is Cold In July. It's an early book, and I think it was a major step in his career. I was already a big fan, but Cold In July showed an enormous growth in writing strength and maturity for him. There have been various rumors of this one being made into a movie, but now it looks like it could really happen. There's a website for it, and the talented director of Stakeland has been announced as director. I really hope this one happens, if for nothing else than how much I'd love to see Ian McShane play Jim Bob Luke.
In the Oh-My-God-This-Sounds-Too-Good-To-Be-True department, there is talk of Lansdale's The Big Blow to be made into a movie. The Big Blow is a historical fiction story set amid the apocalyptic backdrop of the 1900 hurricane that devastated Galveston, Texas. Ridley Scott is said to be a producer, and best of all, Oren Moverman has been named as the director. Moverman made two of my recent favorite, hard-hitting movies: The Messenger, and Rampart.
I've heard of some other possibilities, but movie rumors always abound, and books are optioned by the studios all the time. Very few make it to the production and distribution stages. The ones I listed seem to have the most potential.
If these movies get made and released, please support them in any way you can, just as you should be buying the books that Joe publishes. I know that the small press stuff can by too expensive for some, but the mass market books are generally very reasonably priced.
And if these get made and you steal them off the internet, I hope that Vanilla Ride comes to your house to claim your testicles.