From Hell

Alan Moore’s Graphic Novels are long, intricate and complex works; lets just get that out in the open first of all. The question remains: How does one condense the complexity of a 600 page Graphic Novel and squash it into a two-hour film without having to compromise the source material? Well, quite frankly its a major directorial feat, and an almost impossible at that, just going from past film adaptations. That’s not to say the film adaptations aren’t great. Good or bad, it’s all to do with how emotionally attached one is to the source material. For example individuals’ who hadn’t read the source material for Watchmen, V For Vendetta or From Hell  might have loved some aspects of each of the movies, even though those who’ve read the source material might have a much different opinion on the adaptations. It just boils down to individual tastes really. There is probably one exception, which is the last film Sean Connery acted in before his retirement (…pretty unlucky to bow out to a universally loathed movie). We are, of course, talking about A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Speaking of source material having to be compromised, when From Hell ­– based on Moore’s gothic crime story – was being developed into a movie, the structure of the story had to be changed dramatically in order to make it a linear and coherent two-hour movie. Characters were changed, smaller parts were expanded, and some were omitted altogether. In Moore’s book, the killer is made clear from the beginning, which gave the reader an insight into the killers twisted mind, whereas, in the movie, the Hughes Brothers turned it into a more traditional “whodunit” murder mystery film.

In essence, the only thing that remained intact was an infinitesimal vestige of the basic premise from Moore’s book. No wonder  Moore – who is known for his outspoken candor ­– berates the Hollywood adaptations and refuses to be credited or receive any money from the films (though he did sell the rights, …so, yeah, that’s for another day). So, is this TV series going to mean a more faithful adaptation? Well for a start it has one thing going for it, the fact that it’s being developed and aired on cable powerhouse FX.

The only person returning from the movie to work on the TV adaptation of From Hell, will be producer Don Murphy – who will be overseeing the project. Oscar nominated screenwriter David Arata (Children of Men), will be penning the script. He hasn’t been very active since that movie in 2006, His only other announced project is the film Inversion, due out in 2016.

Apparently the inspiration for bringing From Hell to the small screen has been due to the recent spate of anthology style “event series” and their ever-growing popularity, not to mention the quality of these types of shows. Just look at the critically acclaimed  True Detective, American Horror Story and Fargo to name a few. But, what does remain a mystery is whether From Hell is going to be a one-time series covering the book, or whether it will develop over numerous seasons.

True Detective

To be quite frank, it seems that From Hell would be far more suited to a one-time mini-series as it’s hard to imagine branching out on a concept such as this one. It just doesn’t seem like it would fit the anthology style of those other show that were mentioned. However, if the ratings are good and it turns out to be a big hit for FX, you never know what choices will be made down the line. If From Hell is a critical success and is a winner in the ratings department then don’t hold your breath, if the producers decide to milk the creative teats until they are red raw (…wait, …what?). Oh, yes, creative bleeding, that’s what we are talking about.


Expect the inevitable backlash from Alan Moore aficionados’, and Moore himself. He has a talent for mouthing off; he is quite the misanthrope (that’s only a mild presumption btw). But one thing is for sure, Moore will be taking nothing to do with this series, but it’s not going to prevent others from making their own judgments on it.

From Hell is still in the early development stages, and has no current premiere date.

Via – Deadline

Category: Comics, Film, TV

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