Before you get all excited, this isn't an actual studio-commissioned movie poster and, no, we haven't actually sold the film adaptation of my novel FEAR just yet. But there is a real potential for it to happen eventually.
Los Angeles screenwriter Aaron Guzzo is using the poster as a "teaser" to help garner interest in his FEAR COUNTY screenplay, based on my epic horror novel , which was released by Zebra Books in 1994. Aaron is a graduate of Columbia College based in Chicago; an institute specializing in media, communications, and the performing arts. His recent projects include the production of H.P. Lovecraft's Dreams in the Witch House at Wildclaw Theatre in Chicago. Aaron read FEAR at an early age and said that the story stuck with him throughout the years, inspiring him to do the screenplay and, eventually, bring it to horror fans in the form of a motion picture or TV production.
Aaron's screenplay is basically the same story as FEAR, focusing on the main characters of Jeb, Sam, Roscoe, and the Granny Woman, as well as the Snake Queen and her band of evil snake-dogs. We have made a few minor changes, though. The story will be set in modern times, rather than in the mid-1940's, due to the high production cost of doing period pieces (vintage cars, costumes, etc.). Also, an ancient brick wall will surround Fear County, explaining why its evil hasn't crossed its borders before (see the poster above).
Aaron's been out and about, pitching the screenplay to movie production companies for over a year now. There has been definite interest, but no concrete takers just yet. "Right now the biggest problem I'm having with placing Fear County is that production companies aren't sure whether this is kids horror, like Poltergeist or Arachnophobia, or if this is really twisted horror," Aaron explains. "That's mainly because the first 80 pages of the script is fun horror, while the last 30 get really intense." He has assured me that selling the FC script is " definitely not a matter of if, but when."
Of course, I'm not sitting here on pins and needles, worried about whether it will actually happen or not. We all know how fickled the movie business is these days with 3-D and needless remakes reigning the box office. And dozens of horror authors a whole lot better than ol' Ron have had their properties optioned and never seen them come to fruitation. But it would be cool to see FEAR COUNTY playing at your local theatre, wouldn't it? If anyone can pull it off, I believe Aaron can. His vision is very similar to mine: to offer the most terrifying, exciting, and heartfelt horror possible. Also like myself, he believes that "the characters should come first and the action will follow."
Keep your fingers crossed, folks. If FEAR COUNTY makes it into the production stages, it's possible that more Kelly books could follow. Aaron has read -- and loved -- both HELL HOLLOW and BLOOD KIN, which he calls "Salems Lot: The Southern Edition." Maybe what the movie industry needs right about now is a good shot of Southern-Fried horror. If so, our next mission would be to have Hollywood caterers feature gravy and biscuits, sweet tea, and pecan pie on their menus.
Hey, I can dream, can't I?