Great Minds Think Alike

Reading & Writing, The Arts

Obviously, old titles get re-used (particularly if they have words like ‘die’ or ‘kill’ in them) but it seems over the years people have used titles I’ve created with alarming regularity. Here are some of them:

Disturbia –
My version:
Young couple trapped in commuter town take revenge on neighbours.
Their version:
Awful teen US remake of ‘Rear Window’.
Psychoville:
My version
Rich and poor protagonists clash over one long London night of challenges.
Their version:
Psychotic warden antagonises mental patients
Paperboy
My version:
Growing up a reader in a house of no books
Their version:
Reporter investigates death row inmate.

This doesn’t bug me. I’m more upset for other writers when their ideas are ripped off by Hollywood – something that happens with greater frequency than you’d imagine. Stephen Gallagher’s excellent thriller ‘Valley Of Lights’, about a shapeshifting killer, became ‘The Hidden’, about a shapeshifting killer a year or too later, but he doesn’t know if it was coincidence.

In ‘The Strange Vengeance of Rosalie’ an obsessive woman nurses a man who crashes his car and breaks his leg to keep him in her bed. But ‘Misery’, which arrived later, was probably just coincidental. And ‘The Resident’, in which Hilary Swank is menaced by her landlord isn’t connected with ‘The Master Builder’, my story in which – you know the rest.

All ideas are built on what has gone before in some way, but sometimes I wonder how that really works, because ‘Hell Train’ turned up on a Hollywood desk even before it was proofed, leaked by someone. Can’t wait to see the Hollywood version I didn’t write.

I did wonder about ‘Psychoville’, because I’d had connections with Reece Shearsmith and Jeremy Dyson. I don’t care, though – why would I? The book is out of print, and the (entirely original) TV series was brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that we should have a suitably funny/horrifying excerpt right this minute!

3 comments on “Great Minds Think Alike”

  1. Peter A says:

    Reece Shearsmith and Jeremy Dyson – previous collective [along with Mark Gatiss and Steve Pemberton] was named The League of Gentlemen named after the Jack Hawkins movie. The show was set in Royston Vasey which is Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown’s real name. I’d did wonder about Psychoville and your book when I first saw it in TV listings. I’d take it as a nod of respect. 😉

  2. BangBang!! says:

    I think you have the plots of Disturbia and Psychoville the wrong way round there Mr Fowler.

  3. Red Wolf says:

    Disturbia pissed me off because I connected the title to you and I love Rear Window, so the movie was a massive fail already and that’s without adding in how appalling it was.

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