BMD readers probably need no introduction to Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves, the author's best-selling 2000 horror novel. It's a book we've name-checked here on the site with some regularity, and you'll recall that, about a year and a half ago, we brought you the news that Danielewski had written a pilot for a TV series based on that novel.
That post ended up making the rounds in a big way, and left House of Leaves fans with many questions: why had Danielewski, who'd historically been very resistant to the idea of adapting his novel, decided to write the pilot for a House of Leaves TV series? Was something in the works, and if so, with which network? I was lucky enough to speak with Danielewski shortly thereafter, in an interview that answered all of these questions and many others (You can read that here, if you missed it the first time around). The long and short of it was: Danielewski had been approached about a House of Leaves TV series, the particulars didn't work out, and in the process the author had taken it upon himself to write a pilot, "simply as an experiment".
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Danielewski's assistant reached out with an exciting update: turns out, Danielewski had written three new House of Leaves scripts - a brand-new pilot, plus a second and third episode - and would be releasing those scripts via his Patreon page on Black Friday. Was this something we might want to share with the BMD readership? You're goddamn right it is, I said, and asked if they'd mind sharing those scripts with me ahead of their publication. They agreed, and a few days later I found myself sitting down with all 178 pages of Danielewski's latest experiment, devouring their contents within a single sitting. My head was spinning by the time I was done.
You can read all three scripts yourself by tossing in a few bucks on Danielewski's Patreon page, but here's what I can tell you: If the author's previous House of Leaves pilot was an expansion of his novel's already-labyrinthine mythology (we learned in that episode's opening that House of Leaves was not, in fact, a work of fiction, and - in a fittingly meta twist - Danielewski himself appeared onscreen as a character), these new House of Leaves scripts function more like a sequel, or maybe a sidequel, to the book. A number of new characters are introduced. A handful of classic House of Leaves characters appear. There is the suggestion that the House's powers have evolved beyond the House itself, leading to a world-changing event in Iceland and a most disturbing incident inside a popular, in-universe VR game called Harrow 5.5.
Quite honestly, it's a lot - these scripts are as dense as the novel that inspired them, featuring cutaways and ominous interludes that register as inexplicable as often as they make sense. This isn't a bad thing, to be sure; I found these bits tantalizing rather than frustrating. For instance: What to make of Eddie, the old hitman with a pixelated weapon, and his sinister employers? What to make of those future-tech flash drives that seem capable of containing way more data than their size would suggest? What are the Shadow Boxes, and how did a character from The Navidson Record (the documentary at the heart of House of Leaves) wind up disappearing 20 years later in another country? I don't have answers for any of this, but I'm dying to know more.
Will these screenplays ever be produced? At present, it doesn't appear there's any deal in place to bring House of Leaves to television, but now we have a very good idea what it'd look like if someone did, and the results thus far are undeniably spectacular. This is chewy, weird, complicated material, the kind of thing I can easily imagine turning into a cult hit (the new pilot has traces of Mulholland Drive and LOST in its DNA), and I'd be overjoyed if someone stepped up to the plate to make it happen. In the meantime, Danielewski says that if these initial scripts generate enough interest, he'll keep writing 'em, with an eye towards completing an entire season's worth of material.
I would like that. You would probably like that. So head on over to Danielewski's Patreon page, toss in your $9, and set aside a few hours to get sucked back into the dark heart of House of Leaves. The goings-on over there are just as strange as they ever were, and I can't wait to see where they go from here.