Posted: Mon, Jun 30 2008 - 22:01 PM

In 1984, two of America's most popular authors, Stephen King and Peter Straub, collaborated on what was anticipated to be "the greatest horror novel of all time": The Talisman. Critical reception was mixed, due in no small part to the fact the book - despite the reputations of its creators - was not a horror story. It was, in fact, a coming of age fantasy involving a young boy on a grand quest.
THE TALISMAN - original hardback cover
From the Flap
Jack Sawyer, twelve years old, is about to begin a most fantastic journey - an exalting, terrifying quest for the Talisman. Only the Talisman can save his dying mother and defeat the enemy who is out to destroy them. But to reach his goal, Jack must make his way not only across the breadth of the United States, but through the wondrous and menacing Territories as well. The Territories lie as firmly in the imagination as Atlantis or Oz; they are as real as every reader's own vision of that parallel world which can only be evoked in the mind's mysterious eye. In the Territories, Jack finds a world little removed from the Earth's own Dark Ages: though the air is so sweet and clear a man can smell a radish being pulled from the ground a mile away, a life can be snuffed out instantly in the continual struggle between good and evil. Jack discovers 'twinners', odd reflections of the people he knows on Earth - most notably the dying Queen Laura, the 'twinner' of Jack's own imperiled mother. But only a few can flip from one world to the other like Jack's late father, his malevolent uncle Morgan Sloat, and Jack himself. As Jack makes his way westward towards the redemptive Talisman, a dual array of heart-stopping encounters challenges him every step of the way - from a terrifying period of captivity in an orphanage run by a sadistic religious fanatic, to the sudden and murderous attacks on the Territories by the enemies of the Queen. Stephen King and Peter Straub have combined their talents to create an unforgettable epic of fantasy, adventure and resounding triumph.

Despite some critical drubbing, many fans (myself included) count this book as one of their favorites. King and Straub collaborated on a sequel, Black House, in 2001. It was wonderful. A third novel is rumored to be in the works.

Not long after publication of The Talisman, Steven Spielberg purchased the movie rights. For nearly a quarter century, the film version of this story has been through countless scripts and innumerable green lights, only to be shut down time and time (and time and time) again. The most recent was a six hour miniseries for TNT that was supposed to air this summer of 2008. However, the plug was pulled due to budgetary issues. (I gave up on Spielberg directing this himself a looooong time ago.)

And yet, leave it to YouTube to breathe new life into an old story.

Mathieu Ratthe. Don't know the name? Neither did I until just a few minutes ago. But I suspect this young Canadian filmmaker will be a household name in the not-too-distant future. He has written and directed a short demo scene from the opening chapter of The Talisman, because, as he puts it:

"My main objective for creating this piece is to demonstrate my directing ability and my vision to the producers who own the rights to the story: STEVEN SPIELBERG & KATHLEEN KENNEDY."

The 6 1/2 minute piece is so well done, I hope Spielberg's camp gets a hold of this guy posthaste and sign him to a production deal.

If you've read the book, you'll see what I mean. If you haven't, I think you'll still be impressed by this video.

Check it out.

WORDSLINGER'S NOTE: There is one other video on Mathieu Ratthe's YouTube page that is so impressive I have to put it on here. It's called Lovefield. I cannot remember the last time I saw a piece of film that so strongly evoked the emotional spectrum from one extreme end to the other so quickly. This goes from horrific to heartfelt in five minutes. Talent and brevity ... somebody hire this guy, fast.


Mathieu Ratthe said:

Dear Andy,

Thank you so much for these kinds words. It means a lot to me. I'm actually in the process of trying to get my director reel (TALISMAN & LOVEFIELD) to the people in question and an article like this can only help me. THANK YOU. I also need to mention that I made these two pieces with no money and by asking favors left to right. Hopefully in the near future I will able to show the vision that I really had in mind and not just part of it.

Thanks again...

All the best,


Jonnathan Molina said:

Kudos to Andy for highlighting this great vision of "The Talisman" to the world. Mr Ratthe, I wouldn't have known about your mini-masterpiece had it not been for this blog being linked by USATODAY's Pop Candy Blog; I'm guessing you're well on your way to get the support you need! Congratulations on an amazing job, I really enjoyed your creepy visuals and direction; truly suspenseful!

Elaine in Canada said:

Lovefield - the depth of emotion from one extreme to the other is palpable. The Talisman "trailer" makes me wantmore.

I'm sure that when Mr. Spielberg views these, he will see not only the obvious depth of talent of Mathieu Ratthe, but will also see in him a kindred spirit. I know I do.

(Dream scenario: Spielberg produces, Ratthe directs)

Thanks for the post, wordslinger.

Tony Scialdone said:

Andy: it's good to see you're getting famous've earned it with your hard work! I increased your bandwidth, by the way. You needed it. =)

Hatori Hanso said:

Wow...looks amazing! I've read that book when I was a kid & still can't figure out why hollywood hasn't filmed it yet. It's a bonafide classic, if done by the likes of Mr Ratthe. My only problem is the kid actor...He was amazing in Birth but here....I don't know...kind of boring....but hey, it's a demo so wtf...GOOD LUCK!!!!

nightengale said:

I nearly lept out of my skin at the mere mention of a "Talisman/Black house" Movie. All I can say is...please please please!!! I am very familiar with both King and Straub's work and when these two get together, something unique happens that does not happen alone in their independant works. I am amazed at the look and feel of the short reel on YouTube. The young boy chosen for the scene is one that is a marvelous actor to begin with - the character would be well depicted by him, as well as the other people in the film. I would only like to add that, it was uncanny, as if the very thing I imagine while reading this book so many years ago was put directly to the screen. I can't imaginge that any Fan of this book would not jump at the chance to go see it in theaters, especially with this particular director! I know that I would!

flowist said:

Dear Mr. Ratthe,
The International Poetic Short Film Festival seeks authorization and 2 copies of " LOVEFIELD " to screen. IPSFF will be held October 5, 12, 19 and 26, 2009
at The NUYORICAN Poets Café
236 East 3rd Street
New York, NY 10009
José Antonio
Please visit

Eric said:

Man I too was surfing youtube for some new video to watch since I'm obsessed with films, and that's when I stumbled upon these video.
For ten minutes I sat in my seat absolutely amazed by the quality of it.

Matt Ratthe, You are one crazy Motherfxxker I swear to god. Very soon your picture will be showing in cinema and you'll be in line with all the big shot directors in the world.

As a student filmmaker I feel bad just from looking at the quality of those short films. If someone like you don't make it, no one else should.

Pat said:

Matt Ratthe clearly shows a level of professionalism and talent, but unfortunately I find his vision lacking. This very much feels like standard Hollywood fare. I'm not saying it's bad, because it isn't, and considering his said budget and experience it is near wonderful (especially the cinematography of Lovefield), but it feels like very modern, uninspired filmmaking, full of melodramatic shock horror. Of course, everything has it's place, but if Mr Ratthe were to get his hands on The Talisman, it would most likely turn out as just another typical Hollywood-esque production, with little artistic integrity that I think King's films deserve, considering so few have had any.

Mon, Sep 27 2010 - 10:42 AM

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