While recently discussing his new short story collection FESTIVAL OF FEAR, author Graham Masterton revealed to Fango that his favorite story from it is going to be adapted for the second series of IDT Entertainment/Showtime’s MASTERS OF HORROR. He says of the tale, titled “Anti-Claus,” “It puts a new and disturbing face on a popular character, and that is something that I always enjoy doing. ‘Anti-Claus’ also has parallels with The Pied Piper, who offers people magical solutions to their problems. Once their problems are solved, however, they refuse to pay what they promised, and he takes his revenge.”
Although Masterton has about 40 horror novels to his credit, he has not been particularly lucky with screen adaptations of his fiction so far. His first book, THE MANITOU, was filmed just two years after it was published, but the movie (directed by William Girdler, starring Tony Curtis) wasn’t as successful as expected. Masterton still feels fondly toward the adaptation of his debut novel, despite its dubious special FX. “The most outrageous thing they could manage to do was blow up an IBM typewriter,” he says. “STAR WARS had just come out, and Bill [Girdler] got carried away by the idea of a battle in outer space, which to my mind made the climax laughable. But as one reviewer said, ‘If you haven’t seen a naked woman zapping a gurgling primeval monster with light-rays, you can’t go to your grave happy.’ ”
After THE MANITOU, the film community apparently decided that adapting Masterton’s fiction was too much of a risk (though three episodes of Tony Scott’s THE HUNGER TV series were based on the author’s short works). Yet the author continued to be prolific in the 29-year period since his first book came out, and now it appears that there’s a good chance his brand of horror will return to the screen. In addition to the aforementioned MASTERS OF HORROR adapatation of “Anti-Claus,” “FAMILY PORTRAIT was optioned by Gold Circle,” Masterton reveals, “and as far as I know it is in quite an advanced state of production, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed and tossing salt over my left shoulder. THE PARIAH has been optioned by Phoenix Pictures, and again I am hoping that it will finally reach the screen. RITUAL has been acquired by NoShame Films in Rome for direction by Mariano Baino [whose DARK WATERS is coming from NoShame in a two-DVD set; see item here]. That will start filming in Macedonia in spring 2006.”
And since 2005 Masterton also published the fourth book in the MANITOU series—MANITOU BLOOD—this year, one can imagine that soon some filmmaker will spot a new horror franchise opportunity… You can read more about the author and his work at his official website.