Posted From: 188.8.131.52
|Posted on Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 10:09 pm: |
I've often wondered why there aren't more Ramsey Campbell film adaptations. Obviously, books-to-film is a tough translation to crack-- (for so many reasons they own their own post, I think). I'd imagine capturing Campbell is even *more* difficult, with so much of the prose following a close-3rd-person narration of nightmarish perceptions-- where Campbell's trademark supernatural ambiguity (the "mask-like faces," "shapeless mounds," or "figures far too thin for comfort") may be the product of a disturbed character-- or, they may be the supernaturally 'unreal' infecting the 'real.' All right, now I'm just going off in a tangent of praise-- I better stop before I can't. That's all to say, I wish there were more Campbell films. I just think there deserves to be. The stories are too good, with such a unique "voice," balancing frights with a dark humor of language's menace & occulted motivations. I think today's horror audiences (those unaware of Campbell, or those unaware of reading)-- just deserve to find him (like I honestly had, three years ago-- and then subsequently devoured his canon, and discovered Machen, MR James, Blackwood, K Newman, Ligotti, Barron, Brite, and on and on...)
That's why I'd honestly love to ask, (to Ramsey, I suppose; though I'm sure he/you have better things to do than just troll this board)... do you receive many offers for screenplay adaptations? Or have the best of that medium just not caught up to you yet? Or is it better for your works to exist as they are?
I confess I'm an American (a 24-yr-old NYC playwright, filmmaker, actor), and I can't believe how difficult it is to find Campbell on (new) book shelves, amidst the dominating rubbish of Koontz and King (okay, King did have some golden years in my heart, when I was 13). That's to say, Campbell deserves a proper recognition in the states (maybe I'm just totally "young" and ignorant of the recognition he undoubtedly *has*). I'll also confess I'm an Anglophile, and I often can't escape writing or *thinking* in a British dialect. Weird, right? However, I'd venture the under-the-radar status of Campbell in the USA may be *because* of the dialect's difference. (This is becoming a different topic, but...) I think there's a musicality of high & low inflections that sustains energy (and thus attention), far better than the typical "American-way" of short sentences, with downward inflection. (Dropping energy. With pauses. Like that.) I often wonder, looking at the lackluster US-Amazon reviews of Creatures of the Pool, if (some) Americans couldn't "hear" the brilliance (complaints of "nothing happening" are absurd)-- I wonder if all the terrifying suggestions were lost & confused to those unaccustomed to longer sentences. (Obviously, many Americans *do* write in long sentences. I guess I have been now, and I hope it's not confusing).
Anyway, I suppose this post is a bit loaded, with many different topics around a huge topic. But I'm curious as to this board's opinion... which works could be best adapted to cinema? Novels, or a 'collection' weaving several shorts? Or, are they best un-tampered?
Posted From: 184.108.40.206
|Posted on Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 11:21 pm: |
My own opinion is that much of Ramsey's work is too interior to be easily adapted to an "outward," action-oriented medium like the movies. Like in a lot of modernist literary novels, the action happens in the mind, in the soul, in far away mysterious corners where movie cameras find it hard to reach, to visualize. In many of his books--"Incarnate" comes to mind--not much happens in the outward sense. It's one of the things I think makes his work unique, special, better than the rest.
Posted From: 220.127.116.11
|Posted on Monday, September 24, 2012 - 12:34 am: |
Hi Al - are you new here as I can't remember "seeing" you before? If so, welcome!
One of Ramsey's novels which I think *would* transfer well to the screen would be Ancient Images. It would be like a cross between an old Karloff film, a Hammer Horror and a Lovecraftian film. Perfect!
But I think you and Thomas are right about why few of his stories have been made into films - the "action" does mostly happen in the reader's (and the protagonist's) mind, so it doesn't lend itself well to that media.
I seem to remember someone here suggesting at one point that David Lynch would make a perfect director for some Ramsey-inspired films though! Personally, I'd love to see a Lynch-directed Needing Ghosts.
Posted From: 18.104.22.168
|Posted on Monday, September 24, 2012 - 01:30 am: |
Perhaps Brad Anderson (Session 9)?
In my opinion, someone like Lynch would put his own mark on a Ramsey adaptation. Like Kubrick did with The Shining - still great, but not as good as King's novel.
Short films would be the go, maybe three stories by three different directors?
How about - The Scar, The Man in the Underpass and In The Trees - all could be filmed without too many problems.
Wild card choices would be Needing Ghosts and Through the
Posted From: 22.214.171.124
|Posted on Monday, September 24, 2012 - 01:38 am: |
The Nameless was turned into a rather good film a few years back. There are several others that would make for excellent cinema - if you could find a screenwriter and director smart enough to capture the atmosphere which is the trademark of Ramsey's writing.
That's where the sticking point comes though.
There are far more Stephen King movies for 2 reasons. 1 - He lives in America and Hollywood traditionally picks up American books for translation first. 2 - King writes a different brand of horror which is easier to translate to the screen.
Under The Dome (which I may have mentioned is teh book I'm reading now) would make an excellent series - it's far too big for a single film. I'm two thirds through and loving it. I really need to make more time for reading this week. I went off King for a few books but his recent work has been right back up to his early standards.
Mick Curtis (Mick)
Posted From: 126.96.36.199
|Posted on Monday, September 24, 2012 - 10:00 am: |
I think radio would possibly be a better medium for Ramsey's work, but probably still not that easy to adapt.
Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Posted From: 188.8.131.52
|Posted on Monday, September 24, 2012 - 11:29 am: |
Well, Nazareth Hill is presently under option by Fangoria's new film production arm, and The Influence has an offer from Spain. Various other projects didn't come to fruition, but that's the industry. At one point I was given to understand Joe Dante was interested in Ancient Images - I think that would have been quite something.
Posted From: 184.108.40.206
|Posted on Monday, September 24, 2012 - 12:24 pm: |
Ack! "media" in my post above should read "medium". Brain malfunction - and it was late at night.
Anyway, yes, a Joe Dante directed Ancient Images would have been awesome. Great news about the latest film possibilities you have, Ramsey.
Been thinking about this ... I wonder if The Darkest Part of the Woods would make a good film? They'd need to provide fleeting images of something nasty in the woods, I guess. But I reckon the tension and psychological horror could be done nicely that way given the right director.
Lincoln - I love your idea of a portmanteau film of short stories.
Posted From: 220.127.116.11
|Posted on Monday, September 24, 2012 - 06:50 pm: |
I'd agree ANCIENT IMAGES would have cinematic possibilities and David Lynch would be a great director for Ramsey's work, as he's brilliant at conveying internal states and imbuing the everyday with an unsettling menace. MULLHOLLAND DR. comes to mind.
Posted From: 18.104.22.168
|Posted on Monday, September 24, 2012 - 10:42 pm: |
Thanks, everyone, for their replies! All these thoughts are very exciting-- especially Ramsey's offers!
Also, thanks for the welcome, Caroline & Ramsey! I'd joined some time ago, but have since lurked in a voyeuristic silence. But after finding a new, used bookstore specializing in horror/fantasy (truly like finding buried treasure), well, it got me back into imagining Campbell movies (after hemorrhaging cash for the store's out-of-print collections) (Uncanny Banquet & Fine Frights!).
I agree with Thomas' diagnosis: the "internal" state makes for a tricky transfer, when so much of film's "norm" is for an "external" viewing of actions. I wonder how successful a voice-over of a character's thoughts, or "inner-dialogue," could be; it'd feel more faithful to the stories. (I'm struggling to recall examples; it can't be *that* experimental; I feel like Ellis' Rules of Attraction & American Psycho use it... also American Beauty. And Fight Club maybe?).
My personal favorite to see would be THE FACE THAT MUST DIE (perhaps for sentiment; it was my first Ramsey); it's so disturbing how each character projects their own demons & desires upon reality-- casting the unsettling implication of how we're all alone in our fantasies of circumstance & meaning (well, now *I'm* casting my own projection upon the book). But really, it felt very cinematic in its 'triad' of perspectives (Horridge, Cathy, Peter), juggling very disturbing (figurative) implications of family (its disintegration & repair)... all characters possess some objective of making (or re-making) a "home," (Cathy's journey of guiding the distant Peter back to her domestic "nest,"-- while Horridge's journey is like a warped reflection of hers: at once drawn to the "home life" of those in Cathy's building, but also violently distrustful of its "tricks" of affection, all manifested from the demons of his childhood-- finishing with Horridge's Welsh homecoming)--- well, I'm certainly going off on a tangent now. But I wonder if "interior, stream-of-consciousness, POV dialogue" couldn't award the story's brilliance to cinema. I wonder if there's even a way to weave some of Ramsey's short works into it-- if Cathy/Peter were "writing" the stories at home (The Scar's similarities come to mind), and the short works were like intermissions of the longer narrative... though that might make the whole thing far too complicated, and force cuts on the main storyline.
Weber, I'd thought the same thing with Under the Dome-- would make a great series. I thought the same thing about Cronin's The Passage-- though I'm shocked to hear its being prepared as a single film-- compressing details of so much grandiosity and intimacy-- that's also what ruins film adaptations.