Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What I'm Reading - June 2007

Yeah, I know I owe you guys a post about my trip, complete with wonderfully sexy pictures of me sunning myself.

Soon, I promise….

Anyway, I just finished reading Dean Koontz’ novel, INTENSITY.

The story is a good, solid thriller, that doesn’t go more than 20 pages in before the suspense starts.

Chyna Sheppard is young college student, who is going home for the weekend with her school pal, to rest and meet the girl’s family. All goes swimmingly (for about 2 pages, at least), until a homicidal maniac breaks into the house, and begins to systematically slaughter the family one by one.

I’ve gotta stop here for a second:

Does this story sound familiar? If you are a real Horror Fan, it should.

A few years ago, I had been hearing a lot of good press about a hot new French horror movie, called Haute tension (High Tension for all you Yanks). I had heard it was a brutal, edge-of-your-seat type slasher movie that did not disappoint. Being a junkie for this type of genre, I rushed out to get a copy of it.

And you know what? I loved it. It’s a real nail-biter from beginning to end.

Can you guess what it was about? I’ll give you a hint:

A young FRENCH college student, goes home for the weekend with her school pal, to rest and meet the girl’s family. All goes swimmingly (for about 10 minutes, at least), until a homicidal maniac breaks into the house, and begins to systematically slaughter the family one by one.

Sound Familiar?

As I kept reading Intensity, I was quickly struck by just how damn similar the book was to High Tension. Not just similar….. The same. Whole scenes were virtually identical to the movie I had seen a few years before.

Could Mr. Koontz, a novelist who I have always respected, be a hack?

Quickly, I jumped to the copyright page of the book, where I got my answer.

Dean Koontz is NOT a hack, but the writer of High Intensity sure as hell is. Intensity was written almost 10 years before High Tension ever saw the light of day. I even did some digging on the internet, and found that, sure enough, when High Tension was released in France, Dean Koontz began legal proceedings against the film, arguing (justifiably) that they had just stolen his work. Further digging told me that Koontz decided to drop the costly lawsuit before the movie was to premier in the U.S., in fears that he would give more publicity to the small, indy, foreign film than it would have otherwise received.

So, what does this all have to do with the book Intensity? Nothing really. It’s a good book, and I recommend it as one of Mr. Koontz’ better novels.

And for what it’s worth, High Tension is still a damn scary movie. I’m just not ready to forgive them for conning me with such a blatant rip-off.

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