Stephen King‘s The Tommyknockers, a creepy tale of an alien object subtly controlling the minds of a whole town, is getting a movie and two of the biggest horror producers are teaming up to work on it. James Wan (The Conjuring, Saw, Insidious) and Roy Lee (The Grudge, The Ring, Death Note) will be working together on the adaptation of King’s 1987 novel.
Wan and Lee (producing through Atomic Monster and Vertigo respectively) will be teaming up with Larry Sanitsky, who executive produced the 1993 Tommyknockers TV miniseries. The producers began shopping the film to studios and streaming services on Thursday through Paradigm, just ahead of the holiday weekend. Sanitsky holds the screen rights to the project and, in a mission statement to prospective buyers, had this to say on The Tommyknockers:
“It is an allegorical tale of addiction (Stephen was struggling with his own at the time), the threat of nuclear power, the danger of mass hysteria and the absurdity of technical evolution run amuck. All are as relevant today as the day the novel was written. It is also a tale about the eternal power of love and the grace of redemption.”
Tommyknockers is definitely more sci-fi than a lot of King’s work, but still has his classic horror tones. Partially inspired by H.P. Lovecraft‘s The Color Out of Space, the original novel is also full of metaphors for King’s own feelings of being consumed by substance addiction. Interestingly, King himself has expressed his distaste for the story, describing it as “an awful book. That was the last one I wrote before I cleaned up my act”.
While King revivals are cropping up all over the place right now, Tommyknockers may be a surprising choice to some. Anyone who’s seen the miniseries of the 90s will probably remember it being an overall hokey affair, and it was generally criticised for it’s stiff writing and crummy effects.
The new film however looks to be a more serious adaptation, in a similar vein to the slick IT remake of last year. We can expect to know which studio picks it up soon and it’ll be interesting to see what form this remake will take.