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SYFY WIRE Mike Flanagan

The Season of Passage: Mike Flanagan adapting sci-fi horror film haunted by Martian memories

By Benjamin Bullard

A former Martian astronaut haunted by horrifying secrets from her time on the Red Planet, in a movie helmed by someone who knows a thing or two about hauntings. That’s what we have to look forward to with Universal’s reported movie pickup of sci-fi horror novel The Season of Passage, with The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor creator Mike Flanagan set to co-write and direct.

Deadline reports that Flanagan, alongside brother James Flanagan, will co-write a screen adaptation of the bestselling 1993 novel by Christopher Pike (not to be confused with Starfleet Captain Christopher Pike), with Mike Flanagan directing. The Season of Passage mixes horror, science fiction, and fantasy in following Dr. Lauren Wagner back to Earth as one of only two astronauts to survive their harrowing Martian excursion.

Pike’s novel sends U.S. astronauts to Mars to discover the fate of an earlier Russian expedition, whose crew members haven’t been heard from. Wagner and her fellow U.S. crew members learn there’s a seemingly supernatural reason for their disappearance — and that some of the Russians may still be alive on the Red Planet, living out a zombie-like fate that’s not only dangerous for anyone who comes looking, but worse than death itself.

The Season of Passage

Mike Flanagan will also co-produce the new movie for Universal Pictures, in partnership with Intrepid Pictures’ Trevor Macy, according to the report. There’s no early word on just how closely the planned film will follow the events of Pike’s novel, which received praise from readers and horror-friendly critics upon its early-1990s release. Events in the novel are set in a “future” of the early 2000s, with astronauts investigating a Martian mission that kicked off in 1996 — so it’s not tough to imagine that a present-day film adaptation would at least tweak the timeline.

Flanagan, of course, is on familiar ground with a horror film that frames fantastical events in terms of its protagonist’s haunting memories. In addition to creating The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor for Netflix, Flanagan also has horror movie credits that include Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and the 2019 The Shining sequel, Doctor Sleep, starring Ewan McGregor.

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