Published in 1987, The Tommyknockers was a horror science fiction novel by Stephen King. Placed in the town Haven, in Maine, a recurrent location in King’s fictions, the book serves like some kind of Body Snatchers version but in the style of the popular author.
While walking in the woods, a writer of Wild West-themed fiction stumbles upon a metal object that turns out to be a protrusion of a long-buried alien spacecraft. Once exposed, the spacecraft begins to release an invisible gas into the atmosphere that gradually transforms people into beings similar to the aliens who populated the ship. The transformation, or “becoming,” provides them with a limited form of genius which makes them very inventive but does not provide any philosophical or ethical insight into their inventions. The spacecraft also prevents those affected by it from leaving town, provokes psychotic violence in some people, and causes the disappearance of a young boy.
In the mid-1990s, the novel was the object of an adaptation in the form of a 2 TV movies miniseries The Tommyknockers (1993). John Power was in charge of direction, while Lawrence D. Cohen wrote the teleplay. Jimmy Smits, Marg Helgenberger, John Ashton, Allyce Beasley, Robert Carradine, Joanna Cassidy, Annie Corley, Cliff De Young and Traci Lords were the stars. This version of The Tommyknockers wasn’t a big hit at the moment and didn’t transcend as much as did other Stephen King miniseries or TV movies of the time like It (1990) or The Langoliers (1995).
Last week, The Hollywood Reporter announced in exclusive that James Wan has joined forces with It (2017) producer Roy Lee in order to develop a feature film based on the original The Tommyknockers book. This proves once again that Stephen King adaptations are having a new golden age, especially after the unexpected success of the newest It (2017), its sequel in pre-production, and also thanks to the new distribution channels like Netflix that are packing their catalog with plenty of King-based movies and TV series. If Andy Muschietti’s It (2017) was the biggest grossing horror title in history, one can expect a Stephen King movie with James Wan behind the production can be another big hit. The project has been just announced, so the cast, director, screenwriter and final plot are still unknown.
To get back into the story, and for the nostalgics, find here the trailer for the TV mini series The Tommyknockers (1993):
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