Locke & Key is one of the best horror/fantasy comics in years. Written by Joe Hill, the son of Stephen King, the series revolves around three siblings who return to their ancestral home after the murder of the father. While there, they discover numerous keys and magical doors with different incredible powers. Some of their abilities include being able to open up a person’s head and mess with their psyche, or a door that lets your ghost wander outside of your body. Seriously, there are a lot of keys. There is also a mysterious Black Door that holds back an entire dimension of horrific demons, and one of those demons is out in our world and trying to find the key that will release those monsters into our realm.
The series was actually given a pilot back in 2011 on Fox. It was headed up by Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, the brains behind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Fox decided not to pick up the series, although they did later reteam with Kurtzman and Orci for Sleepy Hollow. And if you watch the trailer for the unaired pilot, you’ll probably see why that’s a good thing:
Granted, this would have been pretty darn close to the first arc of the comic, but Fox clearly didn’t have the budget or style to properly get across the cool supernatural quality of Hill’s original work. Hulu is willing to put some serious money into their productions – look at The Handmaiden’s Tale – and Locke & Key is a tale that will eventually require a substantial budget. It’s also encouraging that Hill has written the script for this new pilot. That was not the case with Fox’s pilot, so it’s nice to have the actual creator at the helm.
If You Like Stranger Things…
It’s possible that this acquisition is part of the Stranger Things fallout that entertainment is currently experiencing. Horror/fantasy stories that center around kids are exploding in pop culture after Netflix’s show became a sensation. Locke & Key will certainly tap into that audience. It will also rope in horror fans in general. Hill is a well-respected author in his own right, and the series has a lot of references and homages to the genre. For example, the town in which the story takes place is Lovecraft, Massachusetts. Get it?
While there isn’t a nostalgia angle like there is with Stranger Things, Locke & Key tonally has a lot of the same tension and mystery to it. And if the TV series goes as crazy as the comic does, it could even outdo Stranger Things in terms of how fantastical it gets.
Speaking of Strange…
Another reason to be pumped for this is Scott Derrickson. He’s been tapped to direct the pilot for the Hulu series. Derrickson is coming off of Doctor Strange so he’s quite the hot commodity. However, he originally came from the horror world with films like Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. His knowledge and love of the genre will aid him well in bringing the darker elements of Locke & Key to the screen. But, it’s clear he also has a knack for some fun supernatural fare. It’s a perfect marriage for the material and makes this even more promising.
We don’t know what the timeline on this project will be but expect it to move relatively fast. Hulu is on the cusp of truly breaking out with their original content and competing with Netflix. Hulu will want to get Locke & Key up as soon as possible. And you can bet it will be positioned as one of their big shows. This fan can’t wait. Now, excuse me while I go read all of the comics again.