“Late last night and the night before, tommyknockers, tommyknockers knocking on my door. I wanna go out, don’t know if I can ‘cuz I’m so afraid of the tommyknocker man,” Stephen King intoned in his 1987 novel The Tommyknockers. The book explored horror in a science fiction so bizarre that many to this day struggle making heads or tails of it, including King. But someone is about to take on that impossible task! Previously James Wan (Aquaman) and Roy Lee (It) have signed up to produce a film adaptation of King’s novel, and Universal has won the rights for the project, beating out Sony and Netflix. Now we know who the screenwriter will be, as Wan has tapped Jeremy Slater to script it after Slater previously created and oversaw the writing of Fox’s The Exorcist TV series. Slater also worked on the scripts for The Lazarus Project and 2015’s Fantastic Four.
The Tommyknockers is about an alien spacecraft uncovered in the woods of Haven, Maine that begins to infect the residents’ dreams and knock out their teeth. It also makes some dangerously, inhumanly smart. Don’t worry there’s a cure for that too. King wrote in his autobiography On Writing that he was inspired by H. P. Lovecraft’s short story, “The Colour Out of Space.” The Tommyknockers, in its initial hardcover release in 1987, outsold King’s novels It, The Shining, and Carrie. He later said it was “an awful book.”
Taking to Twitter himself, however, Slater would appear ready to defend the book from its author, as he offered it nothing but praise and childhood memories.
The Tommyknockers will be executive produced by Larry Sanitsky, who made the 1993 television miniseries adaptation that starred Jimmy Smits and Marg Helgenberger.
“It is an allegorical tale of addiction (Stephen was struggling with his own at the time), the threat of nuclear power, the danger of mass hysteria, and the absurdity of technical evolution run amuck. All are as relevant today as the day the novel was written. It is also a tale about the eternal power of love and the grace of redemption,” Sanitsky wrote in the mission statement sent to prospective buyers, reported THR.
NBC announced it would adapt The Tommyknockers into a series in 2013, but that would appear to be dead now. No release date has been set.Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City’s Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Read more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.