Stephen King's From a Buick 8 is not one of the horror maestro's better novels. It's disjointed, strange, probably a little too long for its own good, and - in classic Modern King fashion - doesn't quite stick the landing. And yet, From a Buick 8 is a novel I love, and have returned to far more frequently than I ever expected to upon my first read. What can I say? I'm a stone-cold sucker for any story involving extra-dimensional portals vomiting insane alien creatures into our reality.
As such, I have long wished for someone to adapt From a Buick 8 for the screen. I wouldn't expect it to be a crossover hit. I wouldn't expect most audiences to be onboard with the bizarre story it has to tell ("So, this portal to another dimension is located...in the trunk of a car? And the car's kind of...alive? And it takes place mostly in...a barn?"). I'm not even sure if it would work as a movie. But god help me, I want to see what such a thing looks like in action.
And now it appears I'm finally gonna get my wish:
"Stephen King’s bestselling novel From A Buick 8 has been optioned by Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment. Amritraj has set William Brent Bell to write the script and direct. Bell last helmed the STX release The Boy, and his other credits include the Paramont genre hit The Devil Inside, Wer, and Stay Alive."
That's Deadline breaking the news that STX has hired The Boy's William Brent Bell to write and direct an adaptation of King's 2002 novel, and I couldn't be happier. Hiring someone like Bell - a director whose work has never really set the world on fire, and who'll probably get the job done on a very limited budget - is precisely the right move here. This should be a low-stakes King adaptation, the kind of thing everyone involved should feel comfortable getting very weird with. You tell me there's a From a Buick 8 adaptation headed our way with a $100M budget, I'd be very concerned. But you tell me they're bringing in the guy who did The Devil Inside to make it happen and I'm thinking, "Abso-fucking-lutely."
Here's a fairly accurate plot synopsis, also via Deadline:
"From a Buick 8 centers around the rural town of Statler, Pennsylvania where the state police have kept a mysterious 1954 Buick Roadmaster in the shed behind the barracks for over twenty years. But when the town is plagued by strange and supernatural events, it turns out the Buick isn’t exactly a car- it’s a door to another dimension."
This one's gonna be interesting for all kinds of reasons, starting with the fact that From a Buick 8 has direct ties to Stephen King's Dark Tower mythology (it's one of the Low Men who abandons the titular car at a gas station, setting the entire plot in motion). Will that element be carried over to the film version? How? If you jettison it, how do you explain the car's "powers"? Speaking of which, how will Bell approach the text, which is told from the point of view of multiple narrators? Who's handling the creature effects? Will they even bother with the present-day wraparound segment that frames King's narrative?
Obviously, I have many, many questions. For now, we have no answers. But given what a fan I am of this extra-weird novel, you can rest assured I'll be keeping my ear to the ground for further updates, and will keep you informed as they roll in. This is an exciting development.
Stay tuned, Stephen King fans.