I’ve spent part of this summer working on a rewrite of my screenplay “Bury The Dead,” optioned by ShoulderHill Entertainment. ShoulderHill’s Steven Adair, who plans to direct the movie, insists he’s going to be shooting late this autumn. May it be so.
I’m excited about this for several reasons but here’s one big one. I’ve now re-read this screenplay more times than I can count and, though I say it myself, it’s a really, really creepy ghost story every time. As readers of this blog know, I love ghost stories and have even written a few. What you probably don’t know is that, during the Hollywood ghost story boom that followed the release of The Ring in 2002, I sold, optioned or wrote for hire no less than four (possibly five) ghost story screenplays.
None of these films got made except one: the remake of One Missed Call. And One Missed Call, despite the fact that it did good business, is pretty universally recognized as being a stinker. Rotten Tomatoes gave it the moldy tomato for worst picture of 2008! At least it was second to none!
Now of course, it takes a lot of people to make a film, and none of them necessarily has to do anything wrong in order to make a bad one. In the case of OMC, I think the problem was that everyone made something different. I wrote a self-aware ironic teen scare picture ala Scream, the director made a violent French cult horror movie, the actors turned in indie drama style performances, and the producers (understandably interested in recouping their company’s investment) edited for non-ironic teenage screamers. No wonder it ain’t The Innocents.
And listen, I mean it when I say I truly enjoyed working with all those people; they were great. But I think you’ll understand if I say: I’d feel better about the whole thing if one of my ghost movies got made and came out right. Adair’s an untried director, but I like the way he thinks. The script, as I say, looks awfully good to these biased-but-expert eyes. So we’ll see, come fall, if I get a second chance to scare people the way I feel I know how.