Hollywood will inevitably hope on the Stephen King train again in the wake of It‘s success, but I’ve been hoping all along that they would look at other horror offers too. While it remains to be seen if the industry as a whole follows suit, Sony is doing just that. Today it was announced that they have secured worldwide rights to an adaptation of Summer of Night. The project already has a creative team in place: Isaac Ezban (The Incident, The Similars) will direct from a script by Ben Poole, with Daniel Bobker and Ehren Kruger on board to produce.
What is Summer of Night? It’s a novel about a group of misfit kids who battle an ancient evil in their hometown! Yes, that sounds like It, but it also sounds like many an ’80s horror novel and film, so that’s nothing new. Here’s Amazon with a more detailed synopsis…
It’s the summer of 1960 and in the small town of Elm Haven, Illinois, five twelve-year-old boys are forging the powerful bonds that a lifetime of change will not break. From sunset bike rides to shaded hiding places in the woods, the boys’ days are marked by all of the secrets and silences of an idyllic middle-childhood. But amid the sundrenched cornfields their loyalty will be pitilessly tested. When a long-silent bell peals in the middle of the night, the townsfolk know it marks the end of their carefree days. From the depths of the Old Central School, a hulking fortress tinged with the mahogany scent of coffins, an invisible evil is rising. Strange and horrifying events begin to overtake everyday life, spreading terror through the once idyllic town. Determined to exorcize this ancient plague, Mike, Duane, Dale, Harlen, and Kevin must wage a war of blood―against an arcane abomination who owns the night…
Best part? This could be the start of a series of films for Sony, if they play their cards right. While Dan Simmons never wrote an actual sequel novel, he did use adult versions of the main characters in other books. Mike is a lead in the vampire novel Children of the Night. Dale is the protagonist in A Winter Haunting. Another character, Cordie, apparently features heavily in the dark fantasy tale Fires of Eden. All four novels fall under what has been labeled Simmons’ Seasons of Horror cycle and there’s no reason that couldn’t translate to film.
Here’s hoping that other studios follow suit and start adapting the works of similar authors like Peter Straub, Robert McCammon, and Richard Laymon, as they march towards further films based on the works of King, Simmons*, and (probably) Koontz. This prospect is honestly the thing that excites me most about the success of both It and “Stranger Things“.
* – AMC is currently developing a TV series based on Simmons’ novel, “The Terror“.
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