Like most horror junkies of my approximate age, I am a huge fan of Stephen King's novels. I've read everything the guy's ever written (yes, literally) and there are multiple stories for which I've gone back for seconds (and thirds). My favorite King works are the fairly "non-traditional" ones (for example, I'd pay big money to see a good director tackle Eyes of the Dragon) and I have a particularly strong affection for the King's more "massive" tomes -- but my very favorite story from Stephen King is a little one called The Long Walk, which he published as Richard Bachman. I even have the Bachman Books collection in which it was originally published; yes, the book that also houses the now-"banned" Rage story.

Without spoiling anything, The Long Walk is about an annual competition in which 100 teenage boys meet up in Maine -- and then walk south. Contestants who lag behind too frequently -- or simply stop walking -- quickly discover why The Walk is a military-led affair. Basically it's a blisteringly intense and surprisingly insightful piece of suspense-soaked storytelling, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I've read The Long Walk at least five times.

So when someone "in the industry" told me that Frank Darabont might be adapting The Long Walk once he's finished turning King's The Mist into a big goopy monster movie, I got excited. And then skpetical. And then, once I did some Googlizing, discovered Ryan's initial report on the project, and came across this rather excellent interview with the filmmaker, I got all excited again. Mr. Darabont, who turned both The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile into very fine films, seems to have a very good grasp on the story: "It is just a bunch of kids walking. And talking. And getting shot. That's why I love it. It's a very intense ensemble character piece, another one of those "people in a contained pressure-cooker situation" stories that Steve does so well and seems to specialize in." And regarding the eventual budget of the project, Mr. Darabont says "...chances are The Long Walk is more of an art house film than what we'd consider a mainstream Hollywood movie. When I do make it, I'm sure the budget will be even lower than on The Mist...a lot lower."

I'm just psyched that someone's tackling this particular piece of King's back catalog -- and to have it be Darabont, well, now I know my favorite story is in really good hands. I'll keep you all up to date on this project as soon as more info hits the scene -- and if you come across any news, please drop me a line!