Pride & Prejudice & Zombies author Seth Grahame-Smith has announced his next assignment – Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
The movie rights to the tale - which recasts the Civil War Prez as a righteous vampire hunter - have already been sold
So here's a few of our own pitches which shoehorn monsters into classic-lit stories. Studio bosses, get yer cheque-books out...
1. Women In Love With The Abominable Snowman
The original: DH Lawrence’s tale of male/female relationships has done rather well at the movies in the past – Glenda Jackson nabbed an Oscar for her performance in Ken Russell’s 1969 film.
It’s also notorious for the homoerotic wrestling/man-love scene between Alan Bates and Oliver Reed.
Our additions: At one point in the novel, the four main characters head to the Alps on holiday. What better way to spice up a decently dramatic plot than to have the Abominable Snowman crash the party?
Instead of oiled up nudie fella-grappling, the male leads can go hunting a Yeti in a blood-soaked snowy set-piece finale...
The package: Jude Law and Ewan McGregor team up as the new Bates/Reed and Vin Diesel steps up to his greatest part yet by donning mountains of Rick Baker-created fur to play the Yeti.
Glenda Jackson has a cameo as a chalet owner who is horribly murderlised by the creature.
Directing? We’re after someone who can handle period material and monster action. Step right up, Joe Dante...[page-break]
2. The Wolfman Visits Wuthering Heights
The original: Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte’s only novel, is a torrid tale of mad love that crosses life and death, only deadened by long boring, windy passages about the titular windswept locale.
Heavily loaded with mental and physical cruelty, it's has been adapted for the screen several times. So what could possibly help?
Our additions: The Wolf Man. He’s the best possible opponent for rugged antihero Heathcliff, particularly when it's revealed in a shocking twist that it was the hairy terror who offed HC’s lady love/obsession object Cathy.
Cue a smackdown between a man who was practically raised a feral child and the furriest literary character outside of Where The Wild Things Are.
The package: Johnny Depp gets his crack at Heathcliff, bulking up for the role and practicing his knife play for a battle against Benicio Del Toro (umm, we’re making this the sequel to Universal’s incoming Wolf Man pic.)
We’ve also got the perfect song for the end credits – alt-punk rockers China Drum’s cover of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights. Check it out!
Directing? One Hour Photo’s Mark Romanek can step up to the plate since he left the first Wolf Man film and Joe Johnston replaced him. We reckon he’d be more likely to want to tackle this version. And let's see if Zooey Deschanel can act (as Cathy).[Page-break]
3. Tarzan Meets The Creature From The Black Lagoon
The original: Edgar Rice Burroughs’ tale of a man raised by animals in the jungle, who briefly returns to civilisation, only to realise it’s not for him.
Forget all that stuff – we’re working from classic Tarzan tales of jungle-set action...
Our additions: Tarzan stops to let his elephant pal drink from a jungle river and is savagely set upon by the massive-lipped nasty.
Gill Boy has already been a campy B-Movie beast, but our version would recast him as a much scarier modern-day, slimy, toxic, river-dwelling hell-beast.
The package: Channing Tatum IS Tarzan, with a CG Cheetah by his played by... Mr Jason Statham, via some performance-capture trickery.
Directing? Stephen Sommers is aching to do a Tarzan reboot, so let him have a bash. With Peter Jackson as Exec Producer, to make sure this definitely not-absurd premise doesn't turn into an unintentionally hilarious mess.[Page-break]
4. Oliver Twist Fights Frankenstein’s Monster
The original: Charles Dickens’ much-adapted tale of a lowly orphan who falls in with a gang of pickpockets. ("Please sir, can I have some more?"... "Certainly not. In this difficult economic climate we all have to make concessions...")
There’s high drama, classic 19th-century settings and the chance for a major starring role for a young, up-and-coming actor.
Our additions: What it really needs is a shambling, monotone, made-from-dead-bits monster to haunt Twist’s life at every turn.
Forget cruel villain pickpocket boss Fagan as a threat – Frankie’s the main worry.
Perhaps he could shamble around Oliver's orphanage, choking the children - as a metaphor for olden-days disease or something...
The package: You might think he’s getting too old for the gig, but if other actors can play younger, Freddie Highmore is easily the man for the gig. And as for the monster? Matthew McConaughey is ready to stretch his range.
Directing? Dear Guillermo Del Toro, your work is awesome and you’ve been planning a version of Frankenstein for years. Please consider it. Love, Us. [Page-break]
5. Huckleberry Finn’s Travels With The Invisible Man
The original: Mark Twain’s tale of two friends – Huck and slave pal Jim – drifting down the Mississippi River.
It’s a relaxed, easy read for younger minds and has been the subject of serious literary criticism. But it’s lacking something. Something with a bandaged face, hat and ridiculous goggle-glasses...
Our additions: Mr Invisible Man. What better way to echo Twain’s satirical take on racism by turning Jim into character who people literally can’t see and so can't judge?
It'd be the buddy-comedy/awkward and impractical bromance hit of the summer.
The package: Journey To The Centre Of The Earth’s Josh Hutcherson could easily play Huck, with the criminally underexposed Seth Rogen doing the voice of his invisible friend.
Directing? Needs someone used to dealing with both effects and kids. Robert Rodriguez... Dr Opportunity is knocking at the door. Someone. Please. Let the man in![Page-break]
6. Romeo & Juliet & The Phantom Of The Opera
The original: Thanks to Baz Luhrmann’s abridged but mostly dialogue-faithful film, even the most book-shy student knows Shakespeare's fateful love story between two star-cross’d lovers.
But in case you don't... basically, Romeo loves Jools, but she’s from a rival family, so they can never be together. Except they do get it on. And then there’s a big fight. And they end up committing suicide because of a misunderstanding. Teenagers, eh?
Our additions: He might not be period-appropriate, but the Phantom is a timeless, misanthropic villain.
We figure this could become a love triangle between the two lovers and the romantically inclined, equally dramatic/tragic music-lover.
Picture, for example, the scene where Romeo stands wooing his love at her balcony, but is forced to dodge a falling harpsichord.
The package: Robert Pattinson would draw the swoony Twilight crowd, while Miley Cyrus ticks another demographic box as a huskily voiced Juliet.
As for the Phantom, Hugh Jackman can sing, dance and, if needed, kick Pattinson’s pasty arse.
Directing? Should focus less on the music, more on the tragic love story. Sounds like a job for Sam Mendes...[Page-break]
7. Jayne Eyre vs Godzilla
The original: More Bronte business, this time from Charlotte, offering up a story of a woman whose life is a catalogue of Gothic horrors (familial abuse, cousins proposing to her). It all ends, ultimately, in true love.
Our additions: Godzilla arrives. Steps on her.
It’s a short film.
The package: Kristen Stewart of Twilight (again going for a big box office by appealing to the Twilighters who will blindly hand over money featuring anyone who was in Twilight). She'd look both A) good in period garb and B) squishable.
We're spurning big CG effects for this one. It's back to classic Toho studios style with a man in a suit. That man? Doug Jones, naturally.
Directing? Someone in a costume gets trodden on. There really is only one man for the job: Terry Gilliam.
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