Universal Nabs Joe Hill's Horror Novella 'Snapshot 1988' (Exclusive)

Mike Flanagan_Joe Hill_Split - Getty - H 2016
<p>Mike Flanagan_Joe Hill_Split - Getty - H 2016</p>   |   Getty Images
The story, set in 1988, centers on a 13-year old boy who ends up taking care of his elderly former housekeeper.

The Stranger Things ripple effect has begun.

In a competitive situation, Universal has won the rights to Snapshot 1988, a novella by Joe Hill. Ouija 2: Origin of Evil director Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard, , who co-wrote Ouija: Origin of Evil and Before I Wake with Flanagan, are in talks to write.

Akiva Goldsman's Weed Road and Jason Blum's Blumhouse, the banner behind the studio’s recent release Purge: Election Year, are attached to produce. Greg Lessans will executive produce.

Hill’s novella hit the town earlier in the week and quickly generated buzz for its Stranger Things tone and 1980s Amblin movie vibe. Sources say Universal beat out Fox, which was bidding for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes filmmaker Matt Reeves and his 6th and Idaho production banner. 

The story, set in 1988, centers on a 13-year old boy who ends up taking care of his elderly former housekeeper whom he thinks is succumbing to dementia. What he doesn’t know is that her memories are not being lost but stolen by an evil man named The Phoenician who uses a camera that steals memories. The story will be published in a four novella collection from William Morrow in the Spring of 2018.

The timing for an 1980s-themed teen adventure couldn’t be better. The series Stranger Things, which was released by Netflix, became a summer sensation because it channeled the movies of that era such as E.T. and The Thing. It also owed a huge debt to the works of Stephen King.

It is only fitting that the first project that has execs talking Stranger Things then is written by his son, Hill. Hill is the author of Horns, which was adapted into a movie starring Danielle Radcliffe, and The Fireman.

Flanagan is known for his work in horror, most recently writing and directing this year’s Ouija: Origin of Evil, which Universal will release on Oct. 21. He also directed Netflix’s Hush, and Before I Wake and Oculus for Relativity. He’s repped by WME. Howard is repped by APA and Untitled, and attorney Joel Vanderkloot of Nelson Davis reps both Howard and Flanagan.

The deal was negotiated by Sean Daily at Hotchkiss and Associates on behalf of The Choate Agency.