The Formula won't work on Wuthering Heights

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim
The Undead World of Oz
Don of the Dead: A Zombie Novel

The publisher of Pride and Prej and Zombies had already considered public domain titles like War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, and Wuthering Heights before starting down that path. I notice they haven't gotten around to any of those yet, and in the case of Wuthering Heights, I don't think they will. Or I should say, if anyone does, it won't come out as well. I haven't read any of these, just like the idea, but the magical part of it is the tension between highbrow women's literature versus lowbrow gore and monsters. It wouldn't be funny or tense if you took Bram Stoker's Dracula and added mummies, or took the text of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and added sections about werewolves. You'd have a nice episode of Abbot and Costello, or a nice cross-over monster movie, but it wouldn't have that zing of "You got your postmodern archetype in my classic literature!"

Another level of text mashup that they haven't done would be much harder: instead of taking one classic and adding new material, take the text from two classics and mix them together. Mary Shelly's Pygmalion would put a new spin on both those stories, for example. With music, you can blend bits together quickly without worrying too much about what comes next, but it's difficult to keep a narrative when blending different sources, without adding some new transitions to smooth things over. Aren't people supposed to be more creative when constrained?

Anyway, the reason Wuthering Heights won't work in that original formula is that it already talks about ghosts and monsters. You might magnify the horror that's already in it, and that could be fun, but it won't have the shock value of prim ladies suddenly discussing zombies. You'll have ladies who already saw ghosts and discussed goblins, ghouls and vampires, starting to encounter a few more monsters.

From Chapter XXXIV:
"Oh, Mr. Lockwood, I cannot express what a terrible start I got by the momentary view! Those deep black eyes! That smile, and ghastly paleness! It appeared to me, not Mr. Heathcliff, but a goblin ...."

"'Is he a ghoul or a vampire?' I mused. I had read of such hideous incarnate demons."

... "Mr. Heathcliff was there--laid on his back. His eyes met mine so keen and fierce, I started; and then he seemed to smile. I could not think him dead; but his face and throat were washed with rain; the bed-clothes dripped, and he was perfectly still. The lattice, flapping to and fro, had grazed one hand that rested on the sill; no blood trickled from the broken skin, and when I put my fingers to it, I could doubt no more: he was dead and stark!

"I hasped the window; I combed his black long hair from his forehead; I tried to close his eyes: to extinguish, if possible, that frightful, lifelike gaze of exultation before anyone else beheld it. They would not shut: they seemed to sneer at my attempts; and his parted lips and sharp white teeth sneered too!"

... "We buried him, to the scandal of the whole neighbourhood, as he wished. ... But the country folks, if you ask them, would swear on the Bible that he walks: there are those who speak to having met him near the church, and on the moor, and even within this house. Idle tales, you'll say, and so say I. Yet that old man by the kitchen fire affirms he has seen two on 'em, looking out of his chamber window, on every rainy night since his death ...."


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home