THR is reporting news that means DR. STRANGE's Scott Derrickson is going to be a very busy man for the next few years, and so will C. Robert Cargill, co-writer of SINISTER and the novels DREAMS AND SHADOWS and QUEEN OF THE DARK THINGS. Perhaps they're taking the Guillermo del Toro approach - work on as many projects as you can because you never know which one's going to hit. Even then, there may be a lot of time between projects, and writing a script means that the only limitations the writers have are their own imaginations.
Meanwhile, Harlan Ellison, perhaps our greatest living fantasist, seems to have been given short shrift by Hollywood over the years. His work has influenced everyone - and I do mean everyone. I loved reading his stories when I was younger. His prose crackles off the page, and every time I read him it feels like he's got infinite ideas just bubbling under the surface. A single line can be a tangent to amazing flights of imagination, and Ellison has always been vocal about his treatment from Hollywood, how stories are supposed to work, and especially as an advocate for new and original stories. When James Cameron took themes and story elements from "Demon With A Glass Hand" and "Soldier" to use in THE TERMINATOR, Ellison promptly sued, and settled out of court. But, if you want to be fair, everyone's ripped off Harlan Ellison. When you have a mind such as his, a mind that thinks around corners and sees the world in a unique and powerful way, you can't help but have your perspectives changed by the man.
If you've ever been to Cargill's house, you'd know that he puts Harlan Ellison on a pedestal, as well he should. His books have a place of honor there. So I can only imagine how both Cargill and Derrickson are feeling at this moment, having been given the go ahead to adapt for MGM the OUTER LIMITS episode "Demon With A Glass Hand," that, by the way, will be a direct adaptation of his work, which means that Harlan will be getting paid for his story. That alone is great news, becase the man deserves it.
"Demon With A Glass Hand" is about a man named Trent (played by Robert Culp) being pursued by a group of aliens in what seems to be an old office building. He has no memory of who he is, and his right hand is a mechanical construct that is missing three fingers. He's told that if he finds the missing fingers and attaches them, the computer in the hand can explain to him who he is. What he discovers changes his destiny and that of the entire human race. THE OUTER LIMITS, in many ways, was far more experimental science fiction than THE TWILIGHT ZONE ever was, and Ellison's stories were right at home there.
If you've never seen, or read, "Demon With A Glass Hand," know that it's an integral piece of science fiction history. Everyone's pulled something out of that story and used it in some way - not just James Cameron, but the Wachowskis, Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, and many other filmmakers. It's a classic episode, and I am confident that Derrickson and Cargill will adapt it with passion and confidence. Plus, Harlan gets paid. We all win on this one.