Books You Probably Didn’t Know Were Movies: Part II
By: Cassie Robbins
The Exorcist was a novel published in 1971 by William Peter Blatty. He had been inspired as an undergraduate at Georgetown University when he heard a story about a demonic possession. He based the novel in Washington DC as homage to his alma mater. The novel and book coincide with each other, or, as much as a novel can do in terms of imagery compared to a horror film. (Can words fully capture the look of Regan MacNeil’s face as she turns diabolical?) Blatty was also a director for the film and this may have had an influence on the relativity of the two. In addition to Horror, Blatty wrote several comic novels as well, from here he got his start writing. Blatty was not involved with writing The Exorcist II, but was able to negate a deal that allowed him to direct for the third movie, The Exorcist III, which he wanted to be titled Legion after the novel he wrote. These ideas never materialized, and The Exorcist III was released in 1990.
Is it really Halloween until you’ve listened to The Exorcist theme, “Tubular Bells,” at least a dozen times? No? Just Me? Alright, I’ll live with that.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High was not only also a book, but based on a true story by Cameron Crowe, who would later adapt it into a screenplay. (Wait, does this mean Spicoli is a real person? Yikes!) The movie was one of the first roles for many celebrities, including Forrest Whittaker, Nicholas Cage (credited as Nicholas Coppola, one of the only films to do so) and James Russo. Even though it is a film about high school, Cage was the only actor cast that was younger than 18. The film also cast Pamela Springsteen for a small role, who will perpetually live under the shadow of her brother Bruce—as in THE Bruce Springsteen. Tom Hanks, Jodie Foster, Matthew Broderick, Herman Munster, and Michelle Pfeifer were among those considered for roles. (Could you imagine Tom Hanks auditioning to play Mr. Hand? Dude.) Character Mark “The Rat” Ratner was based on real life Andy Rathbone, who would later go on to write many of the For Dummies books and get rich and famous doing it. I guess it pays off to be the geek, eh?
The Brave Little Toaster first appeared in the August 1980 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Author Thomas M. Disch described the tale as “A bedtime story for small appliances.” It was nominated for a Hugo award and Nebula award for best novella and won a Locus Award, Seiun Award, and British SF Association Award. Disch adapted the story into an independent film seven years later, but the ending differed from the book. In the end of the movie, the appliances were reunited with their owner Rob, while in the book this never happened and they found a ballerina to take them home.
The movie was followed by two more: The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars, and The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue. The latter of these does not exist as a book but exists in the time between The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars and the original The Brave Little Toaster.
Pierre Boulle wrote La Planète des Singes, known in the UK as Monkey Planet, or in the United States as Planet of the Apes, which was adapted into the 1968 film of the same name. Boulle also wrote the classic novel The Bridge Over the River Kwai, which was adapted into a film in 1957 and won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Though Boulle did not write the screenplay, he was credited for doing so since the actual authors were on the Hollywood Blacklist. Boulle himself was an interesting man, an engineer by trade and a French spy in Singapore during WWII under the name Peter John Rule. He was captured and was forced to spend two years of hard labor. After the war, he spent some time in Paris and began to write the novels we know and appreciate more than fifty years later.