The Killer in Me (is the Killer in You)

killerinside

Yesterday, I stumbled on the fact that there is a film of The Killer Inside Me in the works.  (I guess there was a 1976 version starring Stacy Keach, but I haven’t seen it.)

I am so excited to see this film.  This is one of my favorite books, written of course by Jim Thompson, who wrote so many great novels.  The film stars Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, Elias Koteas, Bill Pullman, Ned Beatty, and Simon Baker.  The director is Michael Winterbottom.  They’ve been filming in Oklahoma, to match up with the look of Texas in the 1950s (when it was published), and the release date is in 2010.

If you haven’t read it, do so.  Do so soon.  Today.  It’s one of the great first-person narrations out there, a weird mixture of Sigmund Freud, Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock, Frederic Wertham, and Groucho Marx.  Seriously.

Thompson is usually called a pulp writer.  I’m not always sure what that means, but I can tell you this – The Killer Inside Me is a great read – fun, crazy, fast – but also an interesting read.  When I say he’s similar to James M. Cain (The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity), I mean it as a compliment.  A big compliment.  Thompson is a good writer, and one who bears re-reading.

So, yes, I’m super-excited to see this film.  Winterbottom has done some interesting films – I really enjoyed his Tristram Shandy – and Affleck has become a stronger actor with age.  I’m not a big Hudson fan, and don’t know if Alba is much of an actress, but the supporting actors listed above are all outstanding.

This is a story that deserves a wider audience.  I’ve taught it, and my students were both confounded by the novel and really enjoyed it at the same time.  I’m interested to see how they translate it to the screen.  I won’t give away any spoilers – I just recommend you read the book, or at worst plan to see this one.  I’m sure it won’t win any awards, but it has the potential to be a great film.

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