Can’t say I’m not a bit surprised at the news that pseudo-controversial Belgian filmmaker Koen Mortier is taking on Haunted, Chuck Palahniuk’s collection of short stories. Mortier made the film Ex Drummer, which was slightly notorious at TIFF last year as one of those fucked up punk excess movies, a movie that pushed boundaries for the sake of doing so. I never managed to catch the film at the festival, but it has remained on the List of Interest ever since.
Mortier is attached to adapt Haunted (he’ll write and direct) by way of former agent Brian Levy, who has formed a production outift called New School Media. Mortier was, no surprise, a former client of Levy’s during his agency days.
The book, which features what might be Palahniuk’s most ridiculous array of damaged humans, is a sort of short story anthology tied together by a plot which traps a cadre of 17 writers (plus two organizers) inside an old theatre during an extreme writer’s retreat. It’s a difficult bit of source material. While writing stories to earn their freedom, many of the writers decide to sabotage the retreat’s living conditions in order to heighten the tension within, the better to package and sell the experience as a reality TV show once it’s all over. The book is made up of 23 short stories, like the scatological cautionary masturbation tale Guts, available on Palahniuk’s website. It’s a shit-stained Canterbury Tales, arguably pointless, and I can see many ways that it could end up on film; I can’t wait to hear how it actually happens.