Over the past few years there's been an insidious plague of pestilence that has thrown New York into a tumult of paranoia, fear and itching. Of course, I speak of bedbugs. These loathsome little creatures have made headlines for invading and overtaking clothing stores, movie theaters and the wooden benches of subway platforms. They are sneaky little bloodsuckers that steal away on your clothes then infest your home, and they have caused even the most stoic New Yorker to eye a possible bite with an inescapable sense of dread.
As someone who shudders at the very mention of the b-word, it's no surprise to me that a horror movie is in the works inspired by these biting buggers. Deadline reveals the newly minted Tango Pictures has purchased the rights to Ben H. Winters’ bestselling horror novel Bedbugs, and has hired Ti West, the writer-director of such menacing marvels as The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers, to draft the script.
The novel, published last year by Quirk Books, centers on a happily married couple who find the perfect Brooklyn Brownstone. Two bedrooms, two baths, spacious, stylish, with a fireplace and a full-sized kitchen! Plus the rent is shockingly low. The only downside is a cryptic handyman and the peculiar landlady, but Alex and Susan Wendt willfully overlook these slight drawbacks and move in with their daughter Emma. But soon, Susan begins to wake up with telltale bites. Clearly, they are infested with bed bugs. Yet neither her husband nor daughter are bitten, and an exterminator can find no trace of the pesky pests. No, what's going on in Brooklyn Heights is far more vexing than a bedbug infestation.
Praised for its understated approach to terror, Bedbugs seems an ideal fit for West's style that revels in atmospheric horror. Quirk associate publisher and creative director Jason Rekulak agrees, stating:
“Reading Bedbugs as a manuscript felt like the literary equivalent of a Ti West horror movie—a slow-burning supernatural story with fully realized characters, light on gore but heavy on menace and dread.”
I'm scratching already.