Joe Hill continues the legacy of his father into a new generation, crafting tales of otherworldly horror that make his father proud. And like King, Hollywood has taken note of Hill’s work, turning his novels into films to delight and terrify audiences who may have missed them in book form. In 2013, a movie based on his novel Horns was released, starring Daniel Radcliffe as a man who slowly morphs into the devil after his fiancé is murdered. While Horns performed modestly at the box office, it solidified Hill as a source for big screen material, and now much of his work is in various stages of cinematic development, including a new project from a name familiar to his family.
THR is reporting that Universal has optioned the rights to Hill’s newest novella, Snapshot 1988. Director Mike Flanagan (Ouija: Origin of Evil) is reportedly in talks to write the script along with frequent collaborator Jeff Howard (Oculus). Flanagan, of course, is a vocal fan of King, with many nods to the author to be found in this year’s Hush, and is also currently working on bringing King’s novel Gerald’s Game to Netflix.
Hill’s novella, originally published in the horror fiction magazine Cemetery Dance, follows the story of a 13-year-old boy tasked with taking care of his former housekeeper. Though it appears his former housekeeper is suffering from dementia, in reality her memories are being stolen by a mysterious man known as The Phoenician, who uses a camera to take her memories. With the story’s 1988 setting, it’s garnered comparisons to this year’s Stranger Things.
Given the success of that series, it makes sense that studios would want to capitalized on the newfound nostalgia craze. Hill, like his father before him, is nothing if not a master at using nostalgia as a plot device, infusing his tales with recognizable beats and moments that recall the stories of readers' youth. On premise alone, the story stands to see some reasonable success at the box office, but the addition of Flanagan has the potential to push things to the next level.
With movies like Hush and Oculus under his belt, Flanagan is quickly becoming the go to guy for producing good old fashioned cinematic fright. As both a director and screenwriter, Flanagan has a knack for creating solid horror stories. His enthusiasm for the genre is apparent, and the growing relationship between him and the King/Hill family is an intriguing development for horror movie fans.
The project is still in early development, however, and things can change at the drop of a dime at any stage between now and release. Flanagan’s negotiations could fall apart or the studio could decide not to proceed with the project. Still, for now, it seems as though fans of horror have a lot to look forward to in the near future, and that Hill might be a king of his own.
Screen Rant will have more for you on Snapshot 1988 as details are made available.