Hello, True Believers!
Today I thought I woud share a list of ten books that should be made into movies. Okay, so some of them are actually comic books. But these are the properties I think would reinvigorate the motion picture industry.
Some background first. Hollywood is in dire need of franchise material. Jack Reacher and The Hobbit just won’t cut it. Where are the iconic films for the Y2K generation? Where are the Indiana Joneses, the Dirty Harries and the Star Warses (How do you pluralize “Star Wars” anyway?)
What we need is a new approach, something more daring and edgy than conventional blockbuster fare with its cookie cutter plots and bloated CGI (remember Green Lantern?)
Here are my choices for breathing fresh life into the film industry:
1. THE ELFSTONES OF SHANNARA
Terry Brooks’ finest book. This epic fantasy has enough originality to give the Lord of the Rings a run for its money. But it’s a much more human story, with an unforgettable twist ending.2. BATTLE OF THE PLANETS
Based on the 1970s Japanese cartoon and the father of modern anime. Superpowered teens in a cool ship do battle with giant monsters from outer space. I’m not seeing the downside. Just don’t let Jerry Bruckheimer near it!3. THE WITCHING HOUR
Anne Rice is best known for her Vampire Chorincles, but this multi-generational tale of witchcraft in New Orleans ranks among her best work. Very dark and gothic, with a rich sense of history. This is the “Gone With the Wind” of horror stories. Neil Jordan to direct please!4. STRONTIUM DOG
Mutant bounty-hunters from the future hop across planets to collect bounties from the humans who despise them. If it sounds like X-Men in space, it isn’t. More like some insane Speghetti Western. Created by 200A.D. writer John Wagner (“A History of Violence”) and artist Carlos Ezquerra, mutant “Strontium Dog” Johnny Aplha has a host of cool gadgets and ways to kill you. Backed up by some truly wonderful supporting characters like Norse bounty-hunter Wulf Sternhammer and lumpy-headed Middenface McNulty.5. THE RATS
A Canadian company attempted this once and came badly unstuck. But with modern SFX this horror classic is screaming to be made into a major motion picture. It has two sequels, the third of which takes place after a nuclear holocaust! “The Walking Dead”‘s Andrew Lincoln would be perfect for the lead!6. THE CALL OF CTHULHU
This is the project Guillermo Del Toror should have tackled after Hellboy. HP Lovecraft’s cosmic tale of a conspiracy to revive an immortal extradimensional demon from his ages-old slumber in a buried city under the Pacific Ocean. Comes with its own built-in fanboy audience!7. MIKE HAMMER
Mickey Spillance wrote numerous Mike Hammer books, many of which have been filmed, with the most memorable being “Kiss Me Deadly” with Ralph Meeker. Hammer is the uber-detective. A World War II veteran transplanted into post-1940s America, he is politically incorrect (he promises to murder his friends murderer), mysoginistic (he pimps out his secretary to solve a case), but with a sense of purpose that is at times terrifying, Hammer is Dirty Harry on steroids. The only problem could be getting someone who is gritty and believable enough to play him. Imagine Kirk Douglas fused with Clint Eastwood and you’re about halfway there.8. EON
Intelligent and epic sci-fi novel from Greg Bear. A team of astronauts investigate a hollow asteroid orbiting Earth and find… well, you’ll have to read the book. But it has a vision of the future of humanity that’s slowly coming true. Could be the next Stargate. One for director Alex Proyas, perhaps, who filmed the excellent “Dark City”.9. NORSTRILIA
A bewilderingly exotic sci-fi, so rich and strange that it outrivals even Frank Herbert’s “Dune”. Cordwainer Smith’s stories of the far, far future include the anti-ageing drug “Stroon”, uplifted animals that carry out slave labour, a humanity so interwoven with technology that it has forgotten happiness, and the weirdest planetary defence system known to man. Together with his short stories, Smith’s sci-fi is almost poetic in beauty and would present moviegoers with images never before seen on film. But who could direct such divine madness? Kubrick perhaps, were he still alive, or maybe David Lynch. But nowadays my money would be on “Tron Legacy” director Joseph Kosinski.10. ALAN MOORE’S SWAMP THING.
Comics legend Moore managed to revive this flagging minor DC book and turn it into one the greatest works of comic art in the 1980s. Swamp Thing is a kind of existential Everyman. Rather than perform the usual superheroics, the eonymous hero explores the nature of good and evil, travels from Heaven to Hell, and meets a young John Constantine. In a fantastic series of stories titled “American Gothic”, Moore reinvents horror staples such as vampires, werewolves, ghosts and zombies, giving them fresh social relevance and deaing with issues such as racism, gun laws, family ties, veganism, and feminism! Never one to offer us easy answers, Moore leaves many of these debates open-ended. This resulted in some fierce debates with readers and fans at the time. Forget Green Lantern, give us Swamp Thing!