There are some scripts that spark the imagination and just scream “winner” simply from their synopsis, and one such script based on a book detailing “a town that celebrates the annual arrival of a serial killer with a parade and a pageant,” definitely sounds like a winner.
Coming from THR is word that an award-winning short film director named Mark Carter has seen his long-developing dream of adapting David Prill’s 1996 novel Serial Killer Days come true. This is a great story- he apparently stumbled upon the novel by chance and fell in love with the tone and humor of the book, going so far as to track down the author and option the rights. That was seven years ago, and he generated the aforementioned script, which he held onto for a number of years before the lightly transgressive and heavily satirical Thank You For Smoking was released. The tone of that film spoke to Carter, who went after Dan Dubiecki, a co-producer on the film (and the more recent Up in the Air). Dubiecki agreed to board the project and 2008’s Black List listed the resultant re-written script among the best un-produced screenplays of that year.
Unfortunately, landing on the Black List doesn’t result in an instant-greenlight and Serial Killer Days has still been without a home. Carter and Dubiecki’s latest attempt at starting the project was with Paramount, who identified with the “Scream and Disturbia“ toned project, and have picked up the script. Promising “lots of blood,” Carter will be doing yet another draft, and possibly directing his passion project.
I think Carter’s story (so far) is really spectacular, and hope the best for the project. It’s a tough thing to get a black comedy greenlit at the best of times, even harder when there’s a nice coating of satire across the top. This is the feeling I get from Serial Killer Days, which apparently boasts a “Charles Addams-ish” sense of humor. I love the idea of films that flip around the very basic expectations we have about how people react, so to see a town that straight-facedly celebrates a serial killer could be a lot of fun. I hope the film lives up to its promise, and stays a Black-List worthy script even after studio notes and countless re-writes. Carter’s story could be an inspirational one, if the film turns out as well as it might.