Corey Norman is a Maine-based filmmaker and co-owner of Bonfire Films. Upon its release last year, their movie The Hanover House was met with a great deal of acclaim.
At present, Bonfire Films is in the pre-production phase for Suffer the Little Children, an adaptation of a Stephen King story that was featured in the 1993 collection Nightmares and Dreamscapes. Non-commercial rights to the story were granted by the author through an application process. The film adaptation is written by Bonfire Films co-owner [and Corey’s wife] Haley Norman. For Suffer, the Normans and company will bring back Anne Bobby, who worked with the team on The Hanover House and acted in Born on the 4th of July and Nightbreed.
Awesome Sidenote: Geek God Neil Gaiman, creator of The Sandman, Coraline, and American Gods, gave the project an approving nod via Twitter just last week. So cool!
Tell me a bit about this project.
We just launched our funding campaign and we’re gearing up. Stephen King has a program called Dollar Babies. It’s an application process and if you get approved, you are granted the noncommercial rights to produce one of 40 short stories up for grabs. We went through the application process, got approved and decided to do a story with little children. We’re trying to get our ducks in a row at the moment to do that.
Growing up I was always a huge King fan. This story was in Nightmares and Dreamscapes. I remember the first time I read it my jaw was on the floor. It is about an aging elementary school teacher named Emily Sidley and she’s kind of stern and strict. She starts to notice weird things in the class, and that kids are transforming into monsters—at least she thinks so. It’s really kind of a psychological piece. It’s about the degradation of her character. It’s heavy, it’s dark and we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to do it.
Do you remember the Nightmares and Dreamscapes commercials from the 90s? I vaguely remember there being a series of commercials for hardcover Stephen King books. In retrospect, they themselves feel like nightmares or at least very surreal dreams.
I do remember them vividly.
Why was Stephen King someone you were drawn to as a kid?
A lot of it had to do with my dad. He was my best friend, my hero and my role model. He was obsessed with horror films and he showed me things I probably shouldn’t have seen at those ages. My first movie experience was seeing Cujo at the drive-in. I was bawling my eyes out because I didn’t want them to hurt the dog. But you know, I was exposed early. And being from Maine, there is always that allure even for people who aren’t horror films. You eventually see Children of the Corn, the Dark Half, or Pet Sematary. When I started reading for fun, I turned to his books as well. He’s this great, monumental figure in the genre but yet he lives in this small state. As a kid, we don’t have a lot of figures like that, of that stature, to look up to. He was one of them, though.
What do you need to raise to make this thing possible?
We’re trying to raise $5,500. About $2,000 of that is going into getting the talent up here, some to food and logistics for the production, and the rest is going toward getting the cameras, lights and lenses we need.
As someone who makes commercial video products for a living, I can say that for what you’re trying to do, and what I know you’re going to put out based on your past output, is next to nothing.
It really is. At Bonfire, we like it to look like we spend 20 times more than we actually spend. But yeah, we’re it’s next to nothing but also more than we have to make it at the moment!
I realize that the Maine filmmaker scene is supposed to be fraternal and that you all are typically supportive of and nice to each other, but can you guarantee that this will be better than You Can’t Kill Stephen King? [Laughs]
Yes. Hands down, without a doubt.
Note: You can read my interview with Norman, in which we discuss production of The Hanover House, here.