Paramount Plans Serial Killer Days

Adaptation of David Prill's novel

It's taken him seven years, but short film director Mark Carter finally has a deal to adapt Serial Killer Days, a little-known 1996 satirical novel by David Prill. Maybe the book won't stay obscure for much longer.

The story involves a town in Minnesota where an annual visit from a serial killer has become a tourist attraction, with a fair and a parade. A twenty-year tradition, the festival always results in a single murder, but the Standard Springs residents are fine with it because of the benefit to the economy. In the year the story is set, the pageant's "scream queen" is Debbie Sue, but she's concerned that she just doesn't feel the fear anymore...

Carter's long-gestating script finally made the Black List of buzzy unproduced screenplays back in 2008, but he's just landed the project in cahoots with Dan Dubiecki, who produced the similarly irreverent Thank You For Smoking, as well as the Paramount-approved Up In the Air.

We're saying that this is potentially a kind of Happy, Texas crossed with Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, but the director likens the novel to Charles Addams (the townsfolk pray the pageant has suitably gloomy weather every year), while the studio's ears pricked up at the possibility of a Scream or a Disturbia. Whatever, Carter promises "the expected genre conventions, but in an idiosyncratic, richly layered and unexpected world.”

"There will also," he says, "be lots of blood."