There are many types of horror films. There are zombies, serial killers, demons, and things that go bump in the night. But few things can reach into the deepest realms of our minds and raise our pulses quite like the cold touch of the specter; the chill piercing the lungs like frozen needles. Oh, yes. A good haunted house film is classic, and quite the commodity.
Peter Weir (The Truman Show, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) is currently set to direct and write the film adaptation of the gothic haunted house thriller The Keep, based on the 2006 novel by Jennifer Egan. The story centers around two estranged cousins who reunite at a castle in central Europe, in an effort to establish a sort of alternative resort. However, something in the castle has other plans, as the anguish and fears of childhood resurface like an angry, vicious soul rising from a grave.
The book has been described as The Ring crossed with Inception.
The Truman Show established Weir as a man who could take what was at the time the new and shocking concept of reality television, and bring it to the most extreme, and almost terrifying, ultimatum. Think about it. Truman, a man, a human being, is essentially a society-sanctioned slave; a piece of property intended for the entertainment of the detached masses. The idea of being trapped in a constructed world, no matter how “perfect” the community is made out to be, would be enough to drive one past the blurred line of paranoia and closer to the boundaries holding one’s psyche in a state of stability. Regardless of what is doing it, be it a monster, ghost, or television crew, being trapped is one of the most primal fears we can face. And we must fight to escape. I have rarely cheered so ferociously for a film protagonist as I have during Truman’s attempt to face his deepest fears and make his own escape from his prison in paradise.
Weir later followed up with Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, which is one of the few films I have ever seen that could truly be described as epic. A sprawling adventure through new, unknown waters in pursuit of a formidable and powerful enemy with some of the most brutal depictions of naval combat I have ever seen.
Let us contemplate this combination for just one moment. Imagine being trapped inside a sprawling, gothic castle of epic and terrifying proportions. Something is watching you; controlling what you see, what you hear, and what you feel. Your mind tries to tell you that you’re just being paranoid. There’s nothing in the dark. Oh, but there is, and it has you trapped. It is an unknowable enemy that is much more powerful than you. What will you do to escape? What can you do to escape?
Excited yet? I know I am. I can already feel the chills running through my spine. Or that might just be the slightly irritating ghost that’s been haunting my house. No, I will not “get out”, go away! Either way, we will find out next spring when filming begins.