Dark Mirages (2018) Book Review

Dark Mirages is a collection of scripts and treatments for a number of potential horror film or television pieces, offering an insight into the language of scripts and how format changes require a different way of thinking.

The Cenobites from Hellraiser return to their spiritual home of London for a showdown to end them all, and the legend of the world’s most famous vampire
Dracula gets a fresh spin. The ghost of an elderly lady’s past returns, while a mysterious old-fashioned TV is rented out. And as a race against time begins, a deadly game of chance takes place…
Dark Mirages is your chance to read unmade or rare TV/film treatments and scripts from talented writers such as Stephen Jones & Michael Marshall Smith, Stephen Gallagher, Axelle Carolyn, Peter Crowther, Muriel Gray and Stephen Laws. Compiled and edited by Paul Kane (Hellbound Hearts, Beyond Rue Morgue, A Carnivàle of Horror) this is a unique book no genre fan should be without!
Fans of the Hellraiser series will be well-represented at the outset of the book in which Michael Marshell Smith and Stephen Jones present a potential script for a sequel to Hellraiser.  The script, written in 2007, sought to honour Barker’s original vision and largely disregard a number of dissatisfying sequels (as is in fashion recently) and shows a great deal of appreciation of the original film and surrounding universe.
Stephen Gallagher’s Dracula script is also of interest, particularly since the BBC have now given the go-ahead to the vision of Mark Gatiss and Steven Mofatt’s Count.
My favourite part of the book is The Last Post, first represented as Axelle Carolyn’s short story and then the script adaptation.  I have seen the short film so this was a good demonstration of how an idea evolves and changes through formats without losing any of its emotional weight.
The book also features a Peter Crowther script which would have become an episode of the Chiller television series, which is a great example of how the anthology format prompts stories which need to present fully-formed characters and effectively scary plotlines within a short amount of time.
Muriel Gray’s treatment for The Seven is short, but intriguing, although with such a limited representation it is difficult to see whether it is intended as a film, or episodic television series.
Lastly, Stephen Laws’ Dead Man’s Hand offers a script which I could easily envisage as an ITV 3-part series, offering an escalation of tension within a ‘classic ghost story’ format.
The book is a must for people who are interested in horror screenwriting, featuring moments where the writers reveal why they have made certain choices and clarify their intentions. This, alongside the engaging stories within the scripts make it an excellent choice for horror fans who want new visions of existing characters, or one-off stories within the genre.
Dark Mirages is available to order here from PS Publishing.

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