Tuesday, December 22, 2015
This will do nicely. I love HP Lovecraft (what I have read of him; I admit not to being a Lovecraft scholar) and I love it when Stephen King goes Lovecraft on us. And he sure did here.
In fact, Crouch End is more or less set in Lovecraft's world, where unseen eldritch abominations beyond the conceptions of mortal men lie in wait behind the thin, gauzy veneer we call reality, and to so much as hear their name means insanity, or even death.
Crouch End is all about a young couple who wander into the worst part of town. A part where reality is fluid, and beyond the borders of our sane world waits a presence...
This story has it all. Creeping dread, paranoia, creepy deformed kids, whispers from the shadows, a demonic cat, red lights in the sky, the Black Goat with a Thousand Young...
It's told en media res by the lady of the pair, Doris Freeman, to a couple of cops working the night shift in Tottenham Road. She and her husband are in England on business, but after getting lost in the little berg of Crouch End, horrific things began happening to them, and her husband Lonnie is now missing.
The two PC's, Ted Vetter and Robert Farnham, discuss her story between themselves, Farnham being young and cocky and sure she's crazy or on drugs, while Vetter has been around a while (get it? Vetter, veteran, nyuck nyuck) and isn't so sure that her story should be so easily dismissed.
As a story, there's not all that much to it, but I do think there's much left deliberately unexplored, and I do think there's enough concept here to expand this to at least an 88-minute movie, and there's nothing wrong with a movie that short. And Gan knows it would be plenty scary.
I think it should focus almost as much on the cops involved as on the couple. There's an especially nice little conversation in the middle of the story between Farnham and another cop, Raymond, who doesn't really have anything to do with the story but holy god what a creepy character! If anything, his one scene sent more shivers up my spine than any other part. Something's clearly up there, and needs to be examined a bit more. Especially considering the ending, which I will not spoil. If you're interested, this story is part of the Nightmares and Dreamscapes collection. Off to the book store with you.
Now, I should mention that it's been adapted before. It was part of the mini-series Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King and it starred Claire Forlani and Eion Bailey. I haven't seen it, but I have heard literally nothing good about it. It's on YouTube, though. I watched a bit of it with the sound down. It looks laaaaaaaaame.
No, a movie is the only format this will work in, I think.
Now, to casting.
Before I really start, though, I should mention that, being a short story, the young couple don't get much more characterization than "young couple". If anything, I almost don't think of them as the stars of the story, even though they're the ones things happen to. The cops are far more detailed, so both my leads are essentially just attractive people we like watching.
Doris will be played by Jessica Chastain. Honestly, there are dozens of women who could play this part. I picked Chastain because she's a good actress who's shown a willingness to do horror.
Well, two posts in one day. Whoda thunkit? This one was short, and I'm sorry for that, but I'm not fleshing it out into a screenplay. If I was, I'm sure there'd be more roles to cast. The creepy kids, for one thing, whom I'm not casting due to my own rules.
And with this post I will say Merry Christmas (again), Happy New Year and Fa la la la laaaaa, la la la la. We'll see you in January with a cast for Firestarter and your friendly blogger will edge even closer to the big 4-0.
Next Up: Firestarter!