How a House of Leaves movie could work (and how it probably wouldn’t)

By | November 20, 2022

Current tweets and Patreon posts by creator Mark Z. Danielewski have hinted at the potential for an adaptation of his debut novel, leaf home, whether or not in theaters or on the small display. For followers of the novel, that is each excellent news (who would not wish to see a e-book they love tailored to a brand new medium?) and unhealthy information (how may an adaptation do justice to the myriad idiosyncrasies and the distinctive brilliance of the novel?).

Beneath is an summary of what makes leaf home so distinctive, the way it would possibly translate to the display, and why, in the long run, it most likely will not.

The Leaf Home Novel

leaf house
Books of the Pantheon

A revolutionary postmodern traditional, Mark Z. Danielewski’s leaf home has garnered a passionate cult following since its debut in 2000. A dense, immersive horror-thriller providing an revolutionary tackle the haunted home story, the e-book attracts readers in with relatable characters and sharp psychological insights, however its hallmark essentially the most outstanding, and what has sealed its place within the public creativeness, is the best way it defies expectations of what a e-book can appear like.


The plot of the novel is comparatively easy: a suburban household discovers that their home is greater inside than out, and its ever-changing inside turns into an increasing number of labyrinthine. all through the novel. The simplicity of this plot, nonetheless, belies the e-book’s personal ever-expanding formal experiments. The novel incorporates each stylistic system conceivable, fracturing and disorienting as in another way coloured textual content, footnotes, lengthy passages of concrete poetry, and shifting narrative views plunge the reader into their very own form of maze.

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These stylistic extremes outline the e-book. Some phrases are printed in numerous colours all through the e-book. For instance, the phrase “home” at all times seems in blue, whereas the phrase “Minotaur” seems in crimson, with variations on every of those examples in numerous editions of the books. Giant parts of the textual content are crossed out, some passages lengthen into subsequent pages, some pages include just a few phrases, whereas others are jammed with textual content put aside in bins, introduced in margins or in any other case distorted. (There’s even a rumor that the opening pages of the e-book, itemizing Danielewski because the creator, are constructed to fall out or be faraway from the e-book, leaving solely a fictional character named “Zampano” referenced because the supply of the textual content.)

Rumors of an adaptation

Mark Z Danielewski Cats
Mark Z. Danielewski

In 2018, Danielewski tweeted a hyperlink to a pilot script he had written for the variation of his groundbreaking novel. This was adopted by further teleplays launched on his web site and Patreon in 2019.

This pilot, in accordance with Danielewski, was written “on an experimental foundation” and never as a part of a improvement deal, however sparked curiosity in a attainable adaptation of the cult traditional. A little bit extra has come of this in recent times, nevertheless it’s value contemplating how a textual content so depending on literary medium (and stretching that format to its breaking level) might be tailored to the display.

how may it work

leaf house
Books of the Pantheon

Danielewski’s involvement in writing these scripts, assuming any future diversifications would use them, is a promising begin. leaf home was Danielewski’s first novel, and his sister recorded a companion album to accompany the e-book below her stage identify, Poe. He clearly has a spot near his coronary heart, and if anybody may present a loyal and profitable advice, it is him.

Poe’s Scrapbook, Haunted, is in itself signal. The mission has had a multimedia ingredient from the beginning, and including a movie or TV adaptation may bolster that, particularly with Poe, Danielewski, or each alongside for the experience. In actual fact, Danielewski’s father, Tad Danielewski, was an avant-garde Polish director within the 70s and 80s. The e-book additionally had a sequel, The Whalestoe Lettersand an enormous and immersive universe would appear to match its bigger aesthetic objectives.

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In impact, leaf home himself may be very excited about movies. The e-book is centered on a fictional documentary movie, Navidson’s file, emphasizes images and, as evidenced by all of his formatting experiments, may be very, very excited about visuals. In some ways, a movie adaptation is a logical extension of the e-book’s heavy reliance on the way it works; one may think about a filmmaker like Charlie Kaufman making a meta-adaptation, particularly after his current adaptation of the pseudo-horror e-book I am pondering of ending issues. So if the celebrities align, it’d simply work out.

The way it most likely would not

leaf house
Books of the Pantheon

That stated, there are causes to doubt that such an adaptation may actually work. The existence of the e-book as a e-book is among the keys to its success, each commercially and artistically. Any try to breed the e-book on movie ought to take an identical strategy. Quite than making an attempt to breed the textual experiments of the novel on display, we must always conceive of recent improvements rooted in cinema and/or tv themselves. This could essentially lead to one thing very totally different from the leaf home that followers know and love.

It might additionally lead to a really, very unusual sight. Horror followers are famend for his or her open-mindedness, and authors like Stanley Kubrick, William Friedkin, and Jordan Peele have turned to the style to push the boundaries of their artwork, however to attain e-book degree uniqueness, all the pieces leaf home the variation must be each very unusual and really costly.

leaf house
Books of the Pantheon

It is that final issue that might be the nail within the coffin for any leaf home adaptation. Writing is solitary, however filmmaking is collaborative, which implies it is costly. For the e-book itself, Danielewski may execute his improvements utilizing nothing greater than time, ingenuity and, in accordance with Matthew G Kirschenbaum, a go to to Pantheon Press headquarters in New York to do the typesetting himself. e-book with a view to notice his imaginative and prescient. Doing it on movie can be far more tough, requiring an enormous crew with technical experience in a number of areas, numerous units, and an undoubtedly giant finances; the form of finances that is not often recouped by initiatives irrespective of how odd, even given the e-book’s devoted following.

So sure, a leaf home adaptation would possibly work. Contemplating all that his success would entail, nonetheless, it is unlikely he really is.