List by Jordan
From classics like Gone with the Wind and The Godfather, to box office blockbusters The Lord of the Rings and The Great Gatsby and contemporary franchises including Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, some of the most recognizable films of all time are based on novels that oozed cinematic potential. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, the movie adaptions allow for other creative minds to express a plot or present a character in a different medium, complementing the source material and offering a new audience an exciting experience.
Below are 10 books that I think deserve and would benefit from the big screen treatment:
10. The Fog
Written by James Herbert. First published 1975
The Fog was unwittingly metaphorical, seeping from the cracks of James Herbert’s mind in ’75 and ultimately reaching a vast, devoted audience. It’s shock factor now might not be quite what it once was, but it’s still outrageous and deserves to resurface in film form to inflict its terror onto a new audience, having already influenced many titles including Romero’s The Crazies. I suppose John Carpenter didn’t help Herbert’s cause when he made his 1980’s ghost story.
Dream director? Joon-ho Bong
9. The Ape Man’s Brother
Written by Joe R. Lansdale (Bubba Ho-Tep, Cold in July). First published 2012
Joe R. Lansdale is a versatile writer with an unrivaled prose, whose distinct works Bubba Ho-Tep and Cold in July have already been brought to the screen to enourmous cult success. So, then, it might just be time for one of his more colorful and entertaining escapades to make the transition with the aid of current CGI. I can see the shock on the faces of all Disney Tarzan fans now.
Dream director? James Gunn
Written by William Gay (Provinces of Night). First published 2006
No, not that Twilight; William Gay’s haunting Southern thriller about a devious undertaker and the man determined to find him in the labyrinthine Harrikin may share a famous title, but that’s where the similarities end. This is a reflective journey into the realm of ever encroaching evil, where strange characters litter the path and danger is present and poetic.
Dream director? The Spierig Brothers
7. An Evil Mind
Written by Chris Carter (The Night Stalker, I Am Death). First published 2014
My personal favorite of Chris Carter’s Detective Robert Hunter series is actually the third title, The Night Stalker, which couples urban grit with Giallo flourishes, but An Evil Mind is arguably the best and unlike his previous 5 novels works as a hugely suspenseful standalone. After a bizaare incident at a highway diner uncovers a string of murders, Hunter faces his biggest test when he investigates a man more monster than human, whose invisible trail of destruction has gone unsolved for years and promises to torment our hero in ways he is yet to experience, and may not be prepared for.
Dream director? Denis Villeneuve
Written by David Morrell (First Blood). First published 1979
The Totem showcases a branch of horror folklore rarely encountered in horror fiction, with John Landis’ Masters of Horror episode Deer Woman the only example that springs immediately to mind. Reading of the rural Wyoming town of Potter’s Bluff, whose animals and citizens begin going crazy and mutilating those around them while the local Sheriff does his best to take stock and uncover why, it’s clear that the mountainous landscapes bathing in a full moon and inhabited by creatures both supernatural and ravenous would be gold to a skilled cinematographer and director.
Dream director? John Landis
5. Ladies Night
Written by Jack Ketchum (Off Season, The Lost). First published 1997
Jack Ketchum has been highly touted by Stephen King and other notable industry figures as one of the finest horror authors of his generation, as he fearlessly explores inside and outside terrors ranging from cliff-side cannibals to domestic violence. The Girl Next Door, Red and The Woman (co-written with Lucky McKee) are among a few varied works already adapted, and its seriously surprising that Ladies Night is not yet among them, being an exhilarating schlock-fest set in a city where the women are beginning to act mighty bizarre, to put it very, very lightly…
Dream director? Lucky McKee of course
4. Blood Meridian
Written by Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men). First published 1985
Those who have read Blood Meridian will know of its unique voice, at first appearing so out of place in its grimy, earthy setting but ultimately proving its perfect match. McCarthy’s vision of the wildest west is one of the most beloved cult novels of the past 30 years, weaving a blunt yet dreamlike journey through a treacherous time and place in American history, focusing on the Kid and the big bad world in front of him.
Dream director? Andrew Dominik
3. Ice Station
Written by Matthew Reilly (Scarecrow, Seven Ancient Wonders). First published 1998
Ice Station is pure escapism, having the honor of being one of the most far-fetched action/adventure novels of the past 20 years as well as one of the most exciting. The first in the Shane Schofield “Scarecrow”series, it boasts conspiracy, high-tech equipment, a plethora of tense firefights, killer whales and a secret buried deep beneath the Antarctic Ice. There’s always been talk of Scarecrow (the 3rd in the series) being adapted first, but I say start at the beginning, and make sure you get the casting exactly right.
Dream director? Zack Snyder
2. The Rising
Written by Brian Keene (The Conqueror Worms). First published 2003
The defining chapter in the ever-expanding volume that is the zombie phenomenon is undoubtedly a toss up between Romero’s babies Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, but in 2003 Brian Keene burst onto the scene with his own contribution that has achieved the impossible, being just as important to many fans of fantasy fiction and influential to aspiring film makers and authors alike. The Rising is a road trip through a destroyed America unraveling and becoming bleaker and bleaker that shouldn’t be missed.
Dream director? Neil Marshall
1. The Elementals
Written by Michael McDowell (The Amulet, Cold Moon Over Babylon). First published 1981
One of the scariest haunted house novels ever written is also one of the most underrated. Michael McDowell’s The Elementals paints an image of three picturesque Victorian summer homes standing erect on the Alabama Gulf shores with the scorching sun beating down on them, the central house filled with its original furnishings, being swallowed by a dune of blindingly white sand and harboring immense fear beneath the creaking floorboards and in the furnace-like attic. The sun, the sand and the houses are imposing characters on their own, so when you add the McCray and Savage families who visit them after the death of a matriarch, whose members come to life and earn empathy and intrigue, you get a certified classic.
Dream director? Ti West