Monday, March 19, 2007

Movies: The girl next to the girl next door.

Seems I misled all you Screamers and Screamettes when I said that the film adaptation of the Ketchum novel (itself based on a true story) The Girl Next Door was coming out under the title An American Crime.

In fact, it appears that there will be two different films dealing with the Likens torture case. The first, An American Crime, already discussed in this blog, is directly based on the Likens case. The second film, The Girl Next Door, will be based on the novel of the same name, making it something like an adaptation of an adaptation.

I have a hard time believing we need two flicks about this crime out there at once – especially as this second flick looks like it will get stomped by the star power and A-List behind-the-camera talent of American Crime - but that's why these folks are the filmmakers and I'm just the blogger.


Heather Santrous said...

There are a lot of subjects that get more than one movie made about them at the same time. One such story that comes to mind is the Amy Fisher story. I think at least two of the major networks made tv movies over the subject.

CRwM said...

Screamin' Heather,

You're right. If you count fictionalized versions, serial killer Ed Gein's been featured in at least three famous sceen outings: Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Silence of the Lambs.

I guess what I'm saying is not that these two movies couldn't be made. Rather I was wondering if they shouldn't be made.

The Amy Fisher thing is a good example – basically, depending on whose side you took, Amy was the victim of a devious sleaze-ball or she was a psycho loose-canon. Two movies (bad as they were) makes narrative sense.

But what's the "other side" of this story? Both movies will basically be the same story: Crazy lady locks up girl and tortures her to death. One flick will be pushed into the 60s and given "Stand By Me" style narration, but otherwise there wont be much difference.

I just can't imagine the movie-going public paying twice to see the same story.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I stumbled across the latest issue of PENNY BLOOD and THE GIRL NEXT DOOR was its cover story.
Of course, I haven't read the article yet...
The whole multiple movies with similar plots seems very typical of Hollywood. It sort of makes sense when you see B-movies ripping off mainstream successes, usually with cheesier elements because they can afford that.
But, it seems Hollywood won't even wait for a success to imitate, it turns out to be just a race to see who gets their version of a story out first.
Two Truman Capote films: CAPOTE and INFAMOUS.
Two films about volcanos: VOLCANO and DANTE'S PEAK.
Earth hit by massive galactic object: ARMAGEDDON and DEEP IMPACT.
Computer animated insects: A BUG'S LIFE and ANTZ.
Etc., etc.

And anything based on a sensational true-life story is bound to get at least two versions, maybe not on the big screen exclusively, but TV loves that stuff. The Amy Fisher story is a great example of everybody jumping on that exploitation bandwagon, and there were three:

Like FLIGHT 93 (cable) and UNITED 93 (theaters), which arguably could be lumped into the discussion of subjects that would be too much of a test for an audience once let alone twice.

hey, didn't Hitchcock's PSYCHO have its double with William Castle's HOMICIDAL?
Well, actually, that's more an example of lower budgeted films ripping off popular mainstream successes.

man, I guess I just got into listing stuff here...
Although, one other perspective on the Likens story is how could the neighbors not notice this happening, since it wasn't one isolated incident, but involved local children as well.
It's sort of a variation on the Holocaust, in a way, except in a neighborhood. And because there's a court scene, I'm assuming AN AMERICAN CRIME is going to pursue that side of the story as well.

Jeez, this was a long comment.