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We Have Always Lived in the Castle adapted for film

AlwaysLivedintheCastle.jpgShirley Jackson's 1962 novel, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, is getting adapted by Michael Douglas' production company as what looks to be a more psychological horror film rather than the straight out horror we're seeing produced of late.

The film tells the story of a reclusive family comprising of two sisters and an Uncle who may have been responsible for the murder, or rather mysterious poisoning, of several of their own family members some six years earlier.

One day a long lost cousin arrives at the family home where the elderly Uncle is having growing fantasies and obsessions, the older sister is agoraphobic, and the younger sister tries to look after her. The cousin is looking to lay claim to the family fortune and whose ties with the family seem rather on dubious.

What's interesting about this is the fact that Shirley Jackson is so well read and credited with influencing current big name writers such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Richard Matheson, according to the story in The Hollywood Reporter.

A number of Jackson's novels have already been made into films, primarily the two versions of The Haunting, the first in 1963 by Robert Wise and the second in 1999 starring Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

However she's best known for her short story The Lottery which raised a great deal of controversy when it was published in the June 26th 1948 issue of The New Yorker, ensuring that the New Yorker received the largest response it had ever seen. The story visited an average American town of the time and did what I would call a Wicker Man twist, describing an ancient rite of stoning in amongst the average, everyday and recognisable lives, trying to show just how futile violence can be and the inhumanity of it.

So now We Have Always Lived in the Castle is set to make it to the big screen, and one of the producers of the television series The 4400 and writer of Candyman II: Farewell to the Flesh, Mark Kruger, is the name behind the script which will come from Michael Douglas' production company and see the son of Shirley Jackson joining the production team too.

I've never read the book but I believe it's a good one and Shirley Jackson's reputation is a strong one. Has anyone read it and can comment?



i read it when i was a teen, and again this week. in fact, i found this site when i googled to see if anyone was making a film of the story, as it is sharp with lovely twisty bits thrown into the plot.. i only hope they don't fiddle with it to morph it into something it isn't.

i highly recommend it...

Is it something that appeals to adults too? As in brand new adult readers?

It is ABSOLUTELY a book for adults. It's a novella - short read - and intriguing all the way through.

I am rather surprised it's being billed as a "horror" story - it is certainly no comedy - but it's not a "Haunting of Hill House" kind of horror movie.

Right, I'm persuaded, I'm off to have a read of it. Thanks tristanrobin.

Mind you there's been nothing on this project since, however they can take years to get into production.

I have been Google stalking this production since I have been teaching... this is going on 11 years.

Even if it is horrible, I will be happy simply to see it, whether I agree with the choices or not.

The re-printing (the cover in the image above) seems like it is going for a YA audience, and if that gets this book in the hands of kids, I am happy.

It is a book that you can easily toss off in one sitting, but reveals much more upon re-reading. It is very wise in its understanding of how myths get made (on an epic primordial scale) and also the ambiguity of the darkness of humanity.

Love love love her preoccupation with brutish human ritual and her fleshing out of that topic through her body of work.

So many of her novels are out of print, so I have only read those I could get my hands on. At present, I believe only CASTLE, HAUNTING and various LOTTERY anthologies are in print.

But if you can get your hands on THE SUNDIAL. That one is a treat. And would also make a great adaptation that American audiences would HATE, as she does not give you the ending you want.

Love Jackson, and am waiting for the scholarship to be penned on her body of work and give her the place she has deserved to be in American letters.


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