There seems to have been quite the resurgence in interest in L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz in recent years – ever since Oz The Great And Powerful arrived in theatres in 2013. We saw the 2014 release of the animated movie Legends Of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, NBC’s 2015 broadcast of The Wiz Live!, the recent premiere of the TV series Emerald City, and the development of an animated series at Warner Bros titled Dorothy Of Oz. New Line Cinema even has an L. Frank Baum biopic in the works, titled Road To Oz. But, it’s the studio’s additional acquisition of an original film pitch that’s making the news today, bringing horror to the world of Oz.
The pitch was made by emerging screenwriter Mike Van Waes, who already has projects in development with other studios. His script Hammerspace made the 2015 Black List, with its tale of a terminally ill teen trying to heal his family after finding a key to an alternate, animated dimension. He also has a live-action/animation hybrid family film named Peeves taking shape with Fox. While those movies have the potential to be child-friendly adventures, today’s announcement indicates a gear-change for Van Waes, as it apparently focuses on the darker aspects of L. Frank Baum’s setting.
There are plenty of scares to be found in the world of Oz – with its witches and flying monkeys and strange politics – but New Line Cinema states specifically that this is an original film pitch, suggesting that Van Waes will be delivering some new characters and some never-before-seen perils.
While we have yet to see his work on the big screen, the details of his other projects in development lend themselves to the more visually stunning end of the cinematic spectrum – which makes a horror film set in the Land Of Oz a very intriguing prospect indeed.