Dean Koontz is one of the most significant popular authors of the modern age, having produced 100 novels, and selling over 400 million copies of his books throughout the world. But certain kinds of literature (horror and science fiction especially) donít always translate well to the screen. After all, itís one thing to evoke a monster or bizarre supernatural occurrence in the mind of the reader - itís quite another thing to create these entities in film. Let's take a look at six of the most compelling film adaptations of Koontz novels.
6. Phantoms (1998)
Sure, it wasnít met with praise from the critics. Regardless, the film still holds a special place in the hearts of many Koontz fans. Sisters Lisa (Rose McGowan) and Jenny (Joanna Going) are distraught when they return to their hometown of Snowfield, Colorado, only to find that itís turned into a dystopian wasteland. They find mangled bodies littered throughout the town, and eventually bump into Sheriff Hammond (Ben Affleck) who has been sent to Colorado to investigate. Eventually, we learn that this strange activity is linked to a monstrous entity who has possibly taken out entire civilizations before. Itís not a film without weaknesses, but on the whole, itís extremely enjoyable to watch.
5. Watchers (1988)
This film deviates from the book slightly, but itís a magnificent film nevertheless. Two bizarre creatures emerge when a government operated research lab explodes. One of these creatures is a dog with human intelligence, and the other is known as an OXCOM (Outside Experimental Combat Mammal). The two creatures end up near a barn where Travis (Corey Haim) is canoodling with his girlfriend Tracey (Lala Sloatman). Travis learns about the dogís† extraordinary intelligence, and decides to keep him as a pet (in the book, Travis names the dog Einstein). Shortly after, government agents, eager to conceal their secret, start a game of cat-and-mouse with Travis and the hyper intelligent dog. Again, the plot is not entirely faithful to the book, but it is still an enjoyable film.
4. Intensity (1997)
This television miniseries adaptation tells the story of a woman named Chyna (Molly Parker) who just keeps getting into sticky situations. She was horrifically abused as a child, and is plagued by unpleasant memories. Her friend invites her home for Thanksgiving, but their holiday is spoiled by a serial killer named Edgler (John C. McGinley) who breaks into the friendís house and butchers the whole family in front of Chyna. She escapes, and runs into Edgler again at a gas station, where she watches him murder even more innocent people. She overhears him talking about a young girl that he has abducted, and this elicits all kinds of complicated feelings in her. Chyna embarks on a mission to save the abducted child! Itís profoundly disturbing, but also uplifting in itís own perverse way.
3. Whispers (1989)
In many ways, this is Koontzís homage to Robert Bloch and Psycho - if only in that it deals with overbearing mother instilling insanity and grief, and a young manís murder spree that is motivated by suppressed erotic desire. While this is typically a lazy plot device, Koontz made interesting use of it in his book, and director Douglas Jackson did a superb job of integrating Koontzís thematic devices into his film. The story starts off with Bruno Frye (Jean LeClerc) pursuing reporter Hillary (Victoria Tennant) because he believes that the spirit of his deceased mother has possessed Hilary. It was the first Koontz book to make the New York Times Bestseller list, and the film that was made subsequently only served to heighten his fame.
2. The Demon Seed (1977)
Julie Christie stars as Susan, a young wife whose husband Alex (Fritz Weaver) is a highly eccentric† inventor who developed the Proteus IV - a sinister, hyper intellectual robot who, in the great tradition established by Hal 3000, is sophisticated to the point of being legitimately dangerous. So dangerous even, that it demands that Susan bear his seed and tries to impregnate her. It certainly isnít Forrest Gump, and may not bear multiple repeated viewings, but there are some truly fascinating moments in this film. Itís a cross between Rosemaryís Baby and Wes Cravenís Deadly Friend, with just a touch of that famous possessed tree-scene from Evil Dead.
1. Odd Thomas (2014)
This story follows a young diner cook named Odd who is capable of communicating with the dead. Itís at his restaurant that he meets a sinister looking ďFungusĒ man who walks around with an entourage of ďbodachsĒ - mythical figures who appear immediately before earth shattering disasters, and itís up to Odd to save the day! Koontz fans everywhere are celebrating the highly anticipated release of the film adaptation of Odd Thomas, which was originally supposed to be released theatrically, but will now be streamable on the Direct TV homepage and out on DVD sometime this year.