Seth MacFarlane is known for comedy. Family Guy, Ted, American Dad — all projects designed to make us laugh. Which is why it makes perfect, inherent sense that his next project would be… a Hulu film adaptation of Clive Barker‘s Books of Blood? Yep, that’s right. As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, MacFarlane’s Fuzzy Door production company will be bringing a vision of grotesquery from one of our most celebrated, prolific horror authors to Hulu’s streaming service in 2020. To quote one of MacFarlane’s most indelible creations: What the deuce?
Okay, let’s be fair. MacFarlane has been interested in genre-crossing projects for some time now. A Million Ways to Die in the West is a good old-fashioned Western disguised as a bawdy comedy. The Orville is basically Star Trek, with no comedic take. And his big band crooning albums are… big band crooning albums. Maybe it makes more sense for him to take on Barker, most known for the Hellraiser franchise, than we realize. MacFarlane’s bringing aboard director Brannon Braga and writer Adam Simon — the two of whom co-created WGN’s underrated horror drama Salem together.
Barker’s original series of books consist of a collection of short stories and novellas — many of which have been turned into feature films, including Candyman, Lord of Illusions, and The Midnight Meat Train. Thus, Braga and Simon will be turning their feature-length adaptation into an anthology work, presenting three different stories with different casts. One story, starring Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies) and Rafi Gavron (A Star Is Born), involves a skeptical debunker of alleged “paranormal activities,” and a link to her dead son she can’t explain. Another, starring Britt Robertson (The Space Between Us), is about a young woman who’s terrified of sound and her overbearing mother. The final story, starring Yul Vazquez (Russian Doll), is about a hitman trying to retire who finds a spooky book. A book… of blood?!
These stories sounds like good, spooky fun, which I’m always in the mood for. But the self-contained nature of the stories — not to mention Barker’s wide body of work — makes me wonder why they went for an anthology film and not a TV show. Maybe there weren’t enough stories they wanted to develop, maybe there are enough “spooky anthology series revivals” crashing the market (Creepshow, The Twilight Zone), or maybe they just wanted to make a damn movie. Whatever the case, Books of Blood is scheduled to debut on Hulu in fall 2020. For more on Clive Barker, check out the latest news on the Jordan Peele-produced Candyman remake.