Remakes Of A Stephen King Classic And Another Iconic Horror Film Are Rumored To Be In The Works, And There Are Several Things I’d Like To See If They Happen


Rumors are circulating pointing to two of the best horror movies of all time could be getting remade, with Stephen King‘s The Dead Zone and American Psycho both allegedly set for on-the-horizon reimaginings. While genre purists might be sharpening their pitchforks over such news, possibly understandably, I’m over here already drafting a wishlist of what these reimaginings could bring to the list of upcoming horror movies.

According to The Insneider newsletter (via Bloody Disgusting),  Jeff Sneider is reporting on Lionsgate execs’ alleged interest in a modern take on the Christian Bale-led American Psycho, as well as a potential new approach to the Christopher Walken-starring political thriller The Dead Zone, with Korean-American film and television producer Roy Lee said to be attached. 

The landscape of upcoming book adaptations can be dicey, especially when books have previously been adapted into successful movies, which both The Dead Zone and American Psycho already were. Remakes can also be challenging, but neither have to be a bad thing. With the right approach, they can pay homage to the original while creating a new path, so let’s take a look at how that could happen, at least in my eyes. 

Christopher Walken in The Dead Zone

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

A Fresh Yet Faithful Take on The Dead Zone

The Dead Zone is considered by many to be one of Stephen King’s best books, and it’s already sparked a TV adaptation in the early 2000s with Anthony Michael Hall in the lead role. The novel tells a chilling story about precognition and the power of a demagogue, with King’s views on politics and the price of power still very relevant today, nearly 50 years later. Here’s what I’d like to see from a new adaptation of the King property:

  • A More Faithful Adaptation: Cronenberg’s original 1983 adaptation, which stands out as one of the director’s best movies, took certain liberties with the source material, so a remake should aim for closer adherence to King’s novel, bringing to life the depth and complexity of his characters and themes.
  • Modern Political Divides: Stephen King’s novels have become increasingly relevant in a society affected by divisive presidential elections, health crises, social upheavals, etc. Incorporating real-life US political climate elements could add urgency and immediacy to his narrative. Using the character of Greg Stillson, the power-hungry politician, as a dark reflection of today’s political figures could turn his stories into cautionary tales of unchecked power.
  • Focus on Stillson’s Malevolence: In the novel,Stillson is introduced in the prologue, but in the 1983 movie, Martin Sheen’s savvy charmer isn’t introduced until over an hour into its run time. To showcase the danger of charismatic demagogues in power, it’s crucial to emphasize Stillson’s evil and bring it to the forefront.

Doesn’t seem like those requests would be too difficult to hone in on, should this project come to fruition. And from the world of Stephen King, we jump over to Bret Easton Ellis.

Patrick Bateman smoking a cigarette in American Psycho.

(Image credit: Lionsgate Films)

How a New American Psycho Could Work

American Psycho is a satire-infused psychological horror that has aged like a fine wine, becoming more relevant each year. Mary Harron’s status-obsessed film stands as one of the best movies of the 2000s, with its critiques on consumerism and  unforgettable performance from Christian Bale making it a tough act to follow. However, there’s always room for innovation, as the current comic book series has proven, especially if it means we can avoid the pitfalls of the regrettable straight-to-DVD sequel. For example: 

  • A Direct Sequel, Not a Retread: A sequel should honor the original’s themes while forging a unique path. A modern setting exploring the 2008 financial crisis could blend The Big Short with American Psycho, or something invested in cryptocurrency. 
  • Bring Mary Harron Back: Getting the original director on board, even in a consultancy role, would ensure the sequel maintains the unique tone and style that made the first film so impactful. Harron’s involvement would be a seal of authenticity and respect for the source material.
  • A New Story for a New Era: This sequel needs to distance itself from the ill-fated previous attempt by telling a compelling, original story that respects the legacy of Patrick Bateman while exploring new themes relevant to today’s society. What if Bateman was a social media influencer, or managed a group of them? It might sound like cringe, but it could be very compelling if done right. 
  • A Television Adaptation: If Lionsgate is set on a remake instead of a sequel, why not a streaming mini-series? With 6 to 10 episodes, the show could explore Patrick Bateman’s character in more depth and include elements from the book that were cut from the film due to time constraints. 

In the case that either of these reported remakes are completely legit, I am always excited by the prospect of more upcoming Stephen King adaptations, and I think a new take on Bret Easton Ellis’ highly influential novel could work with the right touches, even if the sequel ideas are jettisoned. Handled carefully, these films could offer a fresh lens on familiar stories, engaging new audiences and satisfying old fans. 

Check out our 2024 movie schedule to see what’s headed to a theater near you. 

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