Five Classic Kids' Books That Should Be Turned Into Weird Films (and Who Should Film Them)

Categories: Lists

You have to hand it to Tim Burton. Not only did he pull off the biggest opening of his already formidable career with the record take for Alice in Wonderland, he managed to turn one of the weirdest kids' books in history into something even weirder. Of course, he took massive liberties with the source material -- as did Spike Jonze when he brought the beloved children's tome Where the Wild Things Are to the big screen last year. The trend now cemented, what are the next five staples of adolescent literature that need to be filtered through the darker, edgier lens of Hollywood's fringe? (Roman Polanski, please put your hand down.)

Book: How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Suggested director: Guillermo del Toro
Jim Carrey's crass, plastic reboot of How the Grinch Stole Christmas has perhaps irreparably desecrated the books true tone and anti-consumerist message. If anyone can scrub the taste of that shit-fest from our collective mouths, it's the wildly imaginative Guillermo del Toro. And if you think about it, del Toro's nightmarish Pale Man from Pan's Labyrinth could pass for the Grinch's second cousin.

Book: Curious George by H. A. Rey
Suggested director: Chris Cunningham
1996's animated Curious George was cute and almost embarrassingly trite. But acclaimed animatronics artist and video director Chris Cunningham could launch the beloved children's series into a funky, cyperpunk future. And with Cunningham at the helm, you know you'll hear Aphex Twin instead of Jack Johnson on the soundtrack. And George himself? He'll look totally badass.

Book: Forever by Judy Blume

Suggested director: Harmony Korine

Judy Blume's controversial Forever is actually a very tender and tasteful handling of that once-taboo subject, teenage sex. Harmony Korine, however, could amp it up and make it far more relevant to the post-millennium. Plus, the irony of having the guy who wrote Kids adapt an actual kids' book is just too delicious -- in a disturbing kind of way.

Book: Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray
Suggested director: John Waters
The intentionally gross Walter the Farting Dog is a Freudian playground of anal-stage arrestment. And yet, kids dig it--and parents, for some reason, keep buying copies of the exploits of that flatulent mutt by the thousands. Translating Walter to celluloid wouldn't be easy, but if anyone knows how to coax a great performance out of a canine anus, it's John Waters.

Book: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster and Jules Feiffer
Suggested director: David Lynch
Besides the fact that the title alone sounds like a sequel to David Lynch's Lost Highway, the classic The Phantom Tollbooth is ripe for a new interpretation (the last version was Chuck Jones' way back in 1971). The meandering, dreamlike tale would be a perfect for Lynch. And the director, of course, has already shown he can do great work with children.

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