With the release of writer-director Burr Steers’ new film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies due out this Friday, what better time might there be than now to pitch a who slew of literary-based genre pictures? Following in the recently established tradition of popular novelist Seth Grahame-Smith’s sophomoric take on the very greatest work of Jane Austen, why not write the script for an adaptation of other contemporaneous tales of social mores and traditions ensconced within the realm of the modern horror story? If Abraham Lincoln can be a vampire hunter, why can’t Huckleberry Finn take up a living in the dark arts of magic and wizardry? And on that note, here are five other works of classic literature ripe for the added inclusion of a few monsters and ghouls.
Tom Sawyer Meets the Jabberwocky
Imagine, if you will, eighteenth century Missouri in a quiet Christian town. All of the children are in their beds, lest they tempt the wrath of their disciplinarian elders, be they parent or court appointed guardian. All save for one Tom Sawyer, who has decided to take a leisurely midnight stroll through the local woods, where one wrong turn leads him into an abandoned cave that hides one inhuman entity in particular. Having read of another young adventurer who traveled through her own private land of dreams and nightmares only to emerge unscathed, Tom takes up the pluck, courage, and gall to call the creature by its nom de plume, and thus Lewis Carroll’s monstrous Jabberwocky is unleashed upon the unsuspecting mid-western populace and much to Mark Twain’s young hero’s glee and delight.
Withering Heights and the Howling of the Moors
What if Emily Bronte’s great gothic romance were even more haunted than previously initimated by the ghostly apparitions witnessed by its erstwhile protagonist and anthropological surveyor Lockwood? Perhaps in exploring the grounds of Thrushcross Grange, our hero were to discover more than the seeming spirits of Catherine Earnshaw and her forbidden lover Heathcliff roaming the rural expanses of the English countryside? What if in the telling of her romantic tale, Nelly Dean were to reveal that Heathcliff had not only outlived his paramour, but had devoured her in a fit of mad, bestial passion, and that his wolfish form still haunted the final resting place of his lost love whenever the moon was full?
Crime and Punishment and Demons
Poor Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished former student of Saint Petersburg, who in a fit of immoral madness committed the inexcusable mortal sin of homicide against an otherwise unscrupulous and unkindly pawn-broker and money-lender. Regardless of his own philosophical rationalizations for his crime, Raskolnikov is left in a state of bereft terror, frightened by the very act that he knowingly committed by the sheer force of his own lucid will, his mind and body perfectly sound and capable of understanding the extent of his actions. But what if the late victim Alyona Ivanovna were not a mortal soul otherwise marked for redemption through the saving graces of God? What if Ivanovna were, in fact, possessed by malicious spirits, and Raskolnikov was then tasked with the duty of becoming Saint Petersburg’s premiere demon slayer, and the holy murderer of hell’s children?
Sherlock Holmes and the Midnight Brood
During the course of a particular fitful night of unrest and disease, perhaps brought upon by his habitual overindulgence of certain narcotic elements, one detective Sherlock Holmes, of 221B Baker Street, London, were to come into contact with a particularly aggressive flying animal of mammalian descent, who before taking to the air in search of a more suitable victim, were to have pricked his former prey upon the nape of the neck? Upon returning home, Holmes might fall into a languorous slumber, only to awake in pain and agony at the sight of the sun. He might then call upon his trusted friend and personal physician, Dr. John H. Watson, to secure a remedy for his presumed seasonal illness, only what Watson finds in his examination of his constant companion is far more mysterious, thus launching the two friends into an investigation that would change the very nature of the late private investigator’s mortal existence forever.
The Old Man and the Sea and Cthulhu
Upon Ernest Hemingway’s eponymous aged fisherman having made his way out into the Gulf Stream off the coast of Florida, what should he find at the end of his line, not a Marlin, but another creature of the deep. A cosmic entity of great terror and wonder, and a God referred to within the canon of supernatural literature, as Santiago suddenly recalls to his intense horror and dismay, as the Great Old One revered by certain pagan cultists as Cthulhu. Before the old man quiet realizes the nature of his latest catch, H.P. Lovecraft’s dark creation has taken Santiago into his tentacle grasp, leaving our hero to gaze into the very nature of the universe, his own mortal soul, and the vast unknowable expanse of a fantastic omniscience.
Featured Image: Lionsgate/Screen Gems
Edited for Content: 02/06/16