If you know me at all, then it probably goes without saying that you are aware of how much I love Jack Ketchum’s writing. Hell, I’m sure that even those of you who only follow me on Twitter probably even know. That’s because, for years now, I have been singing Ketchum’s praises to anyone who is even remotely interested in Horror-Fiction. In fact, back in my undergrad days, I even rallied for him so hard that I convinced one of my literature professors to add some of his work to their curriculum the following year. I’m sure those kids didn’t know what was in store for them when they registered for that class.
My unabashed love for the man’s body of work started when I first got my hands on a copy of his novel, Off Season, which was, at that time, not the easiest book to come across. I spent a long time trying to track down a copy, and when I did, and I finally cracked it open and started reading, I was hit by what I have since described as the literary version of a sucker-punch to the gut. In fact, to this day, I still consider Ketchum’s tale of a feral family of cannibals in the backwoods of Maine to be one of the most brutal things that I have ever read. Not only did it make me cringe to the point where I physically had to put the book down for a minute at one point (something that has never happened before or since then), but it raised the bar for just about every other horror novel that I have read since; and after that ride, most seem pretty tame.
While I sat, stunned and shocked, after reading Off Season‘s final chapter, I couldn’t help but think that, if done right, this book would make a terrifying film. Flash forward several years, and the book’s sequel, Offspring, would eventually be made into a feature (Where is Off Season, you ask? Well, I think it had something to do with film rights, but I can’t say for certain). However, unlike the written version of Offspring, it was pretty uneven, under-budgeted, and ultimately disappointing. Still, I held out hope that one day we might get a well-produced cinematic version of one of the books in the series. This is where Director Lucky McKee comes in.
I’ve also been a huge fan of Lucky McKee for quite some time now. I picked up May on DVD the day it was released, and I’ve kept coming back ever since. Not only does he have a great eye, but his films have always felt personal and from the heart, two of the hallmarks of a great filmmaker. That being said, when it was announced a while back that McKee was teaming up with Ketchum to bring us the third book in the series, The Woman, I was nothing short of elated. When I heard that the novel would also be made into a film, also co-scripted by Ketchum and McKee (who would direct as well), and I was even more ecstatic. Almost immediately, I forgot about any disappointment that I had felt when I watched The Offspring, and suddenly, I couldn’t wait for both the book and the film.
The first edition of the book is being released by Bloodletting Press and is limited to only 174 hand-crafted copies, which makes it very expensive; though, if I had the cash, I would gladly pony up for it (If anyone wants to get it for me as a Christmas gift, I’m pretty sure I would love you eternally), as I’m sure it is phenomenal. Instead, I will probably have to do like most and wait for the far less limited release that appears to be happening in May 2001 (you can check out the Amazon Pre-Order Here).
Still, I’ve been soaking up all of the information about either version of it that I can, and I was quite happy when I read Jack Ketchum’s Tweet earlier today that the Sundance Film Festival has picked the film version up as one of its selections for the Park City At Midnight category. This is great news for many reasons, not the least of which is that it means there is a very good chance that we will hear about some kind of distribution deal for the picture in the near future. While it’s not necessarily a given, when you consider the amount of press and scouting that takes place at Sundance and the track record of many of the past films that have played there, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet that someone will snatch this up; maybe even give it a release to some theaters, perhaps? Again, it may just be me dreaming, but it’d be great to get this on the big screen.
Regardless of what does happen in the long run, I am still very excited for Ketchum and McKee, as I really think they both deserve this honor. If you haven’t already checked out any of their previous work, I highly recommend doing so as soon as possible. The previously mentioned books and films are a great place to start, but to be honest, just about anything that either of them has done up to this point is worth your time. You can thank me later.
For more on the Park City At Midnight lineup — which also includes the awesome-looking Troll Hunter and Hobo With A Shotgun — you can head over to the Official Sundance Page. Likewise, for more on The Woman, be sure to visit the Official Website .