(or Great Book Why isn't there a film!)
Imagine, if you will, that you are a movie director or a producer searching for your next project ... where do you get your inspiration? ... do you do something original? ... or do you shamelessly plagiarise or remake a cult, classic or foreign film? Unfortunately, it would seem that if you want the financial and studio backing for your project, the latter is your only option as demonstrated by recent "blockbusters" like Planet of the Apes, Rollerball, Time Machine, Solaris, The Ring and even Just Visiting. They all got "the Hollywood makeover" and proved in most cases quite inferior to their original formats. Incidentally the less said about the Sylvester Stallone remake of Get Carter the better.
Originality is being woefully sacrificed, demeaning the medium and leaving many movie fans / lovers with pale imitations, or outright abysmal remakes. These horrendous offerings see original concepts diluted, an infusion of "isn't the USA great" flag-waving, Americanisation including big name US casts, and more frequently now an inclusion of glitzy / showy CGI effects which often detract from the story. It is becoming more and more apparent that NO film is safe ... There is currently an American version of the classic "Brit flick" The Italian Job. Thankfully, there is always an exception to the rule and I must admit that "Dark Castle Entertainment", formed specifically to remake classic William Castle horror films, have done a good job so far with The House on Haunted Hill and Thir13en Ghosts. Even managing to bring something new to them. Nevertheless, the horror genre has in recent years been plagued and inundated by slasher flicks and gory splatter fests, which can be rather monotonous in their formulaic banality and which have little to offer the more discerning viewer.
BUT ..... all is not truly lost. There is certainly no shortage of good material out there in
the form of literature (print isn't dead yet!) that could be used and much
of it would make superb films. I do of course have one such example of good literature in mind, that
would be ideal for the transition to the silver screen. "The Necroscope" was first published in 1986
and is written by British author Brian Lumley. Surprisingly this is a
bit of a quiet bestseller that I discovered in the late eighties and once I started reading it, I found
frighteningly addictive and impossible to put down. Rather pleasantly surprised by what I read, I read it again, just to
make sure that I hadn't imagined how good it was. It was just as addictive the second time around.
Enthralled and hungry for more, I went in search of, and found, the second book in the saga,
"Necroscope II: Wamphyri". This was also surprisingly good and just as good, if not better, than
the first book. It was the same with all of the the "Necroscope" novels that followed on since
then and after you finish each book you are left with an air of expectancy as you wait for
Brian Lumley to write the next installment.
Tele - (GK. tele: "far")
A telescope is an optical instrument which enlarges images of distant objects. For example: the surface of the moon may be viewed as from only a few hundred miles away.
Micro - (GK. mikros: "small")
A microscope is an optical instrument which makes small objects visible to the human eye. Through a microscope, a drop of "clear" water is seen to contain countless unsuspected micro-organisms.
Necro - (GK. nekros: "a corpse")
A necroscope is a human instrument which permits access to the minds of the dead. Harry Keogh is a necroscope - he knows the thoughts of corpses in their graves.
The necroscope tells the story of young Harry Keogh, psychically imbued with the ability to speak to the dead. His "talent" gets him noticed by a top secret British government agency known as "E-Branch" ("E" for ESP) who promptly recruit him. Add to this a Russian equivalent of "E-Branch" behind the Iron Curtain also recruiting a similar talented individual, not knowing that he is in fact a vampire. Thus the stage is set for a multiple battle as covert British and Russian agencies pit their wits as does the vampire necromancer Boris Dragosani and his adversary Harry Keogh. Amidst the atmosphere of "gadgets and ghosts" you have an almost unwitting hero in the shape of Harry Keogh, with amazing abilities, including being able to travel almost instantaneously anywhere in the world via the "Mobius continuum" (Based on the Mobius strip theorum by German mathematician A. F. Mobius) as he begins a crusade to rid the planet of vampires.
This stimulating and captivating tale has a unique and remarkable blend of horror fantasy, espionage, metaphysical intrigue, thriller action and nerve tingling horror. With such a strong story and excellent characters, it is hard to believe that this has never been made into a film. The Necroscope has so far spawned 13 successive novels, with another installment due later this year. You would think that such a successful series as this would make a movie producer or studio sit up and take note. In order for a project such as this to work best it would of course need the author Brian Lumley to retain creative control and do the screenwriting for what would surely be a box office stormer. This would ensure that his story didn't fall foul to rewriting, oversimplifying and character sacrifice not to mention missing the point of the story which is becoming all too frequent when it comes to Hollywood trying to "adapt" someone elses idea to accomodate their less cereberal audiences. Personally I would say that the direction of Ridley Scott would suit the story best as he also has a distinct artistic flair which would afford the film a real atmosphere. That said of course, there are plenty of other superb Brian Lumley works out there (in excess of 47 novels so far) most of which are all perfect fodder for the movie machine, ranging from the "Titus Crow series" and the hugely popular "Psychomech trilogy" through to some of his lesser known tales such as "Khai of Ancient Khem". It is quite mind boggling to see such excellent material being passed over in favour of flagrant plagiarism in order to cash in or make a "quick Buck". Surely, someone can give a swift boot up the backside to the relevant people out there.
Personally, I would love to see at least The Necroscope made into a film, as it was mine and no doubt a great many other readers first visit to the various worlds of Brian Lumley. After a disheartening intellectual drought in British horror writing, my faith in the genre was restored after reading several of Brian Lumley's works. After the first couple of Necroscope novels I moved onto the "Psychomech trilogy" and various short story anthologies, but the main draw is always The Necroscope. Brian Lumley was awarded the horror genre's much coveted Grand Master Award at the 1998 World Horror Convention in Phoenix, Arizona in recognition of his outstanding works. One of his works has already been adapted for the small screen when one of his short stories, "Necros" was filmed for Ridley Scott's The Hunger .
What will be, has been
Anonymity is synonymous with longevity