Tuesday, May 06, 2008

John Farris #2

The Writer

According to Wikipedia: “John Lee Farris (1936-) was born 1936 in Jefferson City, Missouri, to parents John Linder Farris (1909-1982) and Eleanor Carter Farris (1905-1984). Raised in Tennessee, he graduated from Central High School in Memphis and attended Southwestern University there. His first wife, Kathleen, was the mother of Julie Marie, John, and Jeff Farris; his second wife, Mary Ann Pasante, was the mother of Peter John ("P.J.") Farris. Apart from his vast body of fiction, his work on motion picture screenplays includes adaptations of his own books (ie., The Fury), original scripts, and adaptations of the works of others (such as Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man). He wrote and directed the film Dear Dead Delilah in 1973. He has had several plays produced off-Broadway, and also paints and writes poetry. At various times he has made his home in New York, Southern California and Puerto Rico; he currently resides near Atlanta, Georgia.”

Following the success of Harrison High, Farris embarked on a literary career that has given us three indisputable masterpieces including The Fury, All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes and Son of The Endless Night.

The Fury dramatically demonstrated how modern society would pervert paranormal abilities and turn them into just another murderous political toy. It became a very good Brian DePalma film for which Farris wrote the screenplay. It also created a cottage industry for imitators. There was a ten year period following its publication when you saw a Fury-like book virtually every month. I know. I wrote one of them myself. None came close to matching the original.

For me All Heads Turn When The Hunt Goes is one of the finest horror novels ever written by anybody anytime anywhere. The beauty of the writing, the historical backdrop of the South after WW11 and most of all the unequaled use of voodoo and the lamia as its themes create a book that is not only terrifying but also very much a human tragedy.

Son of The Endless Night is in many ways better than The Exorcist as a novel about the demonic. As much as I admire Blatty’s novel, Son is not only far better written, it is also serviced by an ingenious plot, combining the devil and a murder
trial.

1 comment:

Todd Mason said...

I've been meaning to seek out ALL HEADS TURN WHEN THE HUNT GOES BY...more incentive...