P.C. and Kristin Cast's House of Night Optioned - Smells Familiar
by Kevin Powers
November 19, 2008
"Harry Potter" comparisons have rightly or wrongly followed Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight" series for some time now, partly because both are supernatural stories targeted at young adults and both have achieved wild success. It appears we have a property that seems to blend the two, called "House of Night" written by P.C. and Kristin Cast, which was just optioned (all nine books) by producers Michael Birnbaum and Jeremiah Chechik (TV's "The Middleman"). The timing of the news is oddly coincidental considering the adaptation for Meyer's first book bows this weekend. Given Twilight's thunder of impending box office domination, might Birnbaum and Chechik be sly opportunists hoping to nab the next big thing?
"Night" is said to be equal parts vampires and prep school. Teenagers attend the House of Night to learn about their night-feeding abilities once they manifest in puberty - traits categorized as a genetic anomalies. The school and afflicted are known to the public, as vampires and humans exist openly alongside each other. While not a terrible premise, there's a lot that smells familiar here, and not just from Potter and Twilight; there's even discernible scents of X-Men and HBO's "True Blood" (vampires and humans coexisting). Mother-daughter authors P.C. and Kristin Cast have certainly created an intriguing story, but I fear there's little room for "House of Night" in the motion picture landscape.
How do we think "Night" would fair competing against a sequel to Twilight? Will there be much market left open among the young-adult, vampire-loving crowd? Not to mention, Harry Potter will be still be going strong. And then you have X-Men: First Class. It feels like "Night" is a little late to the party, but maybe audiences are looking for a nice supernatural smoothie that brings together so many elements. Beyond that, Birnbaum's summation of the work isn't exactly my game. He told Variety, "P.C. and Kristin Cast created a thrilling world that juxtaposes teen drama with supernatural suspense, using the transition from human to vampire as a metaphor for the transition from adolescence to adulthood." Sounds like nothing more than a fantasy after-school special. Is there room for "House of Night" any more?