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‘Kill Creek’ Heading to Showtime With ‘Doctor Strange’ Director Scott Derrickson

Also tapping the talents of ‘Underground’ co-creator Misha Green, this haunted house series will come alive in the hands of an exceptional team.
Scott Derrickson Sinister
By  · Published on August 24th, 2018

Also tapping the talents of ‘Underground’ co-creator Misha Green, this haunted house series will come alive in the hands of an exceptional team.

Showtime is about to scare our socks off with a new show that it recently put into development, courtesy of some fantastic names in the horror genre, both established and emerging. As reported by Deadline, an adaptation of Scott Thomas’ buzzworthy debut novel “Kill Creek” is in the works from Underground co-creator Misha Green and Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson.

Kill Creek, a drama which will consist of an undisclosed number of hour-long episodes, centers on four author friends who convene in a haunted house on Halloween night. However, this is no run-of-the-mill spooky structure, and the protagonist, Sam McGarver, evidently isn’t some random guy on a thrill ride.

A bestselling author in modern horror, Sam accepts an invite to reside, for one night, in Finch House, one of the most infamous haunted houses in the country. He takes three fellow writers with him, all of whom have found success in horror, too. As the four comrades reluctantly settle in for a creepy night, they fall prey to a presence that is determined to hunt them down and include them in the bloody Kill Creek hall of fame.

Thomas will adapt his own novel for the small screen and executive produce the project alongside Green and Derrickson. The latter is slated to direct the series at some point as well, but no further details have been revealed this early in the show’s development stages. For now, I’m just stoked that these names and these credentials are collectively lining up for a project that already has so much potential.

Thomas’ debut novel has received an outpouring of praise for its thrilling story comprising quality twists that feel earned and effective. In terms of narrative set-up, “Kill Creek” is a deeply evocative book that takes advantage of setting, atmosphere, and mood by dunking its protagonists into a deluge of dread. Although Sam is billed as the novel’s main character, the story is told through a series of third-person chapters that also keenly focus on each of the other authors’ distinctive personalities.

In “Kill Creek,” Sam and his companions are known for indulging in different subgenres of horror, and each of them has become taken to telling scary stories for different painful reasons rooted in their backstories. The psychologically harrowing horrors unearthed from their encounters in the house are especially pernicious given how close readers get to each character.

That said, the book is far from perfect, especially with regard to its portrayal of women — much of which is akin to the descriptions that befall stock overly sexualized female characters found in many a male author’s work. However, hopefully, with maestros like Green and Derrickson behind the scenes of the series, this less savory aspect of Kill Creek’s source material will morph into more nuanced additions to an otherwise proficient character-driven narrative.

I’m especially looking forward to the kind of multifaceted women that Green could possibly bring to the table, especially after her success with WGN’s Underground. Although the series was woefully cut short after just two seasons, its ambition was undeniably fresh and vibrant. Green and Joe Pokaski (both of whom worked together as writers on NBC’s Heroes back in the day) created a thrilling period drama with high-stakes tension and formidable characters — particularly women with dreams, complexities, and wisdom.

Underground takes the historicism of the eponymous railroad that freed an estimate of 100,000 slaves and creates an electrifying, humane dramatic feat with a modern adventure twist (and lots of great music to boot). We’ve yet to see exactly what Green’s upcoming work on Lovecraft Country will be like (which she created and will executive produce alongside the likes of Get Out‘s Jordan Peele). Regardless, the premise of combining the cosmic, ethereal quality of Lovecraftian horror with the very real terrors of racism in Jim Crow America already makes the show stand out in the crowded landscape of prestige TV. Green is thus clearly a great asset to Kill Creek.

And of Derrickson, Kill Creek marks a return to his roots in the horror genre. Although Marvel’s Doctor Strange broke him out into the mainstream, I’ll always associate Derrickson with the creepy atmospheric horror he has built most of his career on. The ending of Sinister still unnerves me to this day whenever I think about it. That film, in particular, solidifies Derrickson’s ability to take a simple, insular family drama and liven it up with a persistently malignant ambiance. As such, relaxing is not really an option in Sinister.

Derrickson’s work in other horror movies like The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Deliver Us From Evil aren’t as effective in terms of scares, but they don’t suffer from bad direction overall. They’re simply too generic, unable to create the psychological wormhole that Sinister projects. Derrickson’s flair for portraying unsettling undercurrents in his filmic worlds remains intact, though. So, if we can’t have his Snowpiercer pilot, Kill Creek could be the next best thing.

Individually, every big name in the Kill Creek adaptation — including the source itself — is noteworthy. Green and Derrickson have produced laudable work with the ability to grip audiences in the tightest of vices. Let their brands of polished macabre stew together and we could witness some exquisitely terrifying results.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)