These past few weeks have been difficult for the horror genre in general. From Bruce Campbell’s definitive announcement that he is retiring as Ash, to a network dropping the Kevin Bacon’s ‘Tremors’ pilot, it has been one truly disappointing period for horror fans everywhere, but the first signs of good things to come are slowly starting to show.
Warner Bros. wingman, New Line Cinema, has decided to conjure up another Stephen King’s work and adapt it for the big screen. They’ve picked one of King’s oldest novels, ‘The Long Walk’. I suppose that we all knew another King’s adaptation was in order, as New Line grossed over $ 700 million with last year’s ‘IT’, but I was honestly astounded that they’ve opted for ‘The Long Walk’. One of the main reasons for my shock was the fact that they’ve picked a novel that hasn’t been adapted for the big screen or TV before, and I expected another polished remake. Kudos to New line for this pleasant surprise.
‘The Long Walk’ was King’s first novel issued under pseudonym Richard Bachman, back in 1979. The story follows a group of teenagers who take part in a gruesome walking competition set in a future dystopian America. This annual walking contest is called “The Long Walk”, and the contestants have to follow a particular, dreadful set of rules and walk till there’s only one left alive. I won’t spoil the book to those of you who haven’t read it yet, but I strongly recommend it, because we can rightfully expect a lot from this movie and it’s always good to be prepared. I mean, not reading a book that is set for big screen adaptation, would be like taking a nap at the graveyard during the zombie apocalypse. C’mon people, library visits are in order.
New Line is joining forces with screenwriter James Vanderbilt (‘Zodiac’, ‘White House Down’, ‘The Amazing Spiderman’). He will do his well-known magic with the script, as well as produce the movie, alongside Bradley Fischer and William Sherak, via their respective label, Mythology Entertainment. With the upcoming ‘Slender Man’ and ‘The House with a Clock in Its Walls’, and the ‘Suspiria’ remake set to assault viewers in the fall, Mythology Entertainment is quickly cementing its status as one of the leading production companies for the horror genre. The rights for the big screen adaptation for ’The Long Walk’ were owned by (surprise, surprise) Frank Darabont, whom we all know and love. This awesome dude did his best directorial work with Stephen King’s novels, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, ‘The Green Mile’ and ‘The Mist’. He also wrote the scripts for ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3’, ‘The Blob’ and ‘The Fly 2’, aaaand developed and produced the first, and in my humble opinion the best season of ‘The Walking Dead’ TV show. Why he decided to drop this one is beyond me, but if the rights for ‘The Long Walk’ had to go to anyone else, I’m glad it was the Mythology crew. Apparently, Vanderbilt was a long-time fan of ‘The Long Walk’, and even wrote a version of the script before, so once the opportunity presented itself, he grabbed it. That kind of devotion could be crucial for the upcoming adaptation and it could set it for immediate stardom. On the other hand, we’ve seen that too much of a long-time-fan approach could also ruin the movie. I guess if you are passionate about something, doesn’t mean you’ll know how to handle it once you get it. That being said, Vanderbilt isn’t a novice in this business, and his previous successes speak for themselves, so I wouldn’t dare doubt him. This won’t be his first work on dystopian America as a subject, since Mythology already produced the exquisite and critically acclaimed ‘Altered Carbon’ series.
It’s too early to have some valid info about the acting cast, and I’m honestly clueless as to who they might pick. Dylan O’Brien would be the perfect Garraty back in the day, but he is too old to play a sixteen-year-old boy now. If I had to guess, I’d go with Ty Simpkins (‘Insidious’) for the role of our main protagonist. One of my favorite characters from the book is Stebbins. In my opinion, our boy Finn Wolfhard would be a great choice for that part, as he seems to be able to pull that mysterious vibe quite nicely. Anyhow, these are just my wishful guesses.
All in all, I’m done whining about Ash’s retirement as our favorite zombie slayer, and I’m also making peace with the fact that Kevin Bacon won’t be fighting Graboids again. Now that ‘The Long Walk’ is in development I’ll sleep much better, knowing that these past few weeks were just a minor setback.
Unrelated to the main story of this article, here’s an old trailer for ‘Tremors’. RIP Graboids, you will be missed. *sobs uncontrollably