By Anthony Breznican
August 17, 2018 at 07:01 PM EDT
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The Tommyknockers holds a curious place in the pantheon of Stephen King novels — it’s among his worst-reviewed novels, and Uncle Steve sometimes beats up on it himself, yet for readers, there’s still something powerful in that (admittedly overdone) epic.

A thin metal disc sticking out of the dirt trips a woman in the woods. She becomes fixated on it, digging deeper to reveal … something embedded in the earth eons ago. Gradually, the power radiating from it infects the people of the remote town of Haven, making many of the residents light-years smarter while also changing them into beings who are not-quite-human.

There’s a boy teleported to an alien world. An old dog kept alive as a cyborg. A Coke machine transformed into a deadly floating sentinel. Plus, plenty of other weirdness.

What the 1987 novel needs is a tighter focus, and the writer tasked with bringing that about for the upcoming big-screen adaptation is Jeremy Slater, creator of Fox’s The Exorcist TV series.

In announcing the new project, Slater posted his own memories of the book:

He went on to take a self-effacing dig at his work on the ill-fated Fantastic Four reboot (but that wasn’t actually his fault — truly.)

“When I finally got my foot in the door, I only had three dream projects on my bucket list. One was Marvel (umm…sorry about that one, guys), one was Star Wars, and the third, of course, was Stephen King. Any one of those jobs would let me die a happy man,” Slater wrote.

“In meetings I always joke that I was raised by the two Stephens — King and Spielberg — but that’s not far from the truth,” the thread continues. “While other kids were playing sports or doing whatever cool kids do, I was spending the night in the Overlook, or hanging out in the sewers beneath Derry.

“Now, thirty years later, I’m beyond thrilled to be part of the team bringing The Tommyknockers to life. It just feels … right, you know? Like coming home. I can’t wait for you to visit Haven. It’s a hell of a town. Just don’t go in the woods.”

The film is being produced by Aquaman filmmaker James Wan and Michael Clear, who worked together on The Nun and Annabelle: Creation. Also producing the film with them is Roy Lee, who recently did the remake of King’s It.