Joe Hill and Alexandre Aja team up for ‘Horns’

Joe Hill is a tremendous writer.

It’s funny… I know why he chose to write as Joe Hill and not use his dad’s last name, and I think he’s more than proven that he has his own voice and his own talent and he doesn’t need to play off of who he is to get published or build a fan base.  He deserves every reader he’s got, and more.

Even so, i was with Devin Faraci this summer at Comic-Con, and as we were walking through downtown San Diego to get somewhere and pick up passes to something, we walked by Joe Hill at one point, and it was sort of stunning how much he looked like his dad in the late ’70s or early ’80s.  I’m not sure how anyone who was ever face to face with him would have had any question about his relationship to Stephen King, because it’s downright spooky.

Recently, Fox TV flirted with an adaptation of his comic series “Locke & Key,” and I’d love to get a look at the pilot episode that Mark Romanek directed.  That didn’t get picked up, though, and the film version of “Heart-Shaped Box” hasn’t been able to get off the ground, either.  His most recent novel was “Horns,” a disturbing piece about a guy who wakes up one morning with actual devil horns starting to grow out of his head and no memory of how or why.  It is a visceral, emotional ride and a big step forward for him as a novelist, even though his first few books were also very strong.  Although there’s quite a bit of the book that deals with the inner journey of the main character, I suspect it will translate well to film and could be a very smart mainstream horror movie for grown-ups.

And now, it looks like Alexandre Aja is directing.

It appears that Scott Bunin adapted the book as a film, and Mandalay is producing along with Mandate, with an eye on a start date next spring or summer.  Aja is a very interesting visual director who hasn’t really had a great piece of material yet.  I like what he did with “Piranha 3D” and “The Hills Have Eyes,” and despite the infuriating last act and the shameless lifts from a Dean Koontz book, I think “Haute Tension” is a pretty solid flick.  But if Aja ever gets his hands on a great cast and a really strong script, the sky’s the limit.

Is this the one?  No idea, but I think it’s an exciting combination of talent, and I look forward to seeing what they make of it.