The NOS4A2 novelist gives SYFY WIRE an update on Netflix's TV adaptation of his acclaimed IDW horror fantasy comic — the upcoming inaugural season of which Hill has seen in its entirety. Not only does he praise Locke & Key's creative braintrust, but he reveals he's happy with how it's turning out, considering the decade-long journey the show has taken to get to the small screen.
After the Eisner-winning comic was published in 2008, Fox ordered up a pilot way back in 2010, but it went nowhere. After talk of turning it into a film trilogy in 2014 fizzled, Hulu swooped in and greenlit its own pilot. Things were looking up, but then Hulu unexpectedly passed, opening the door for Netflix, which gave it a full-season order.
"In the end, it was worth the wait. I've seen all 10 episodes, and I thought it was absolute TV crack," Hill tells SYFY WIRE, echoing comments he made at the Locke & Key Spectacular panel at last summer's San Diego Comic-Con. "It's super Netflixy, in the very best, kiss-your-weekend goodbye kind of way."
Maybe they should have named it Netflix & Chills?
Locke & Key follows the adventures of the three Locke siblings, who move into their ancestral Massachusetts estate after their father's ghastly murder and discover the house hosts magical keys that give them amazing powers and hides dark secrets. As they go about testing their new abilities, little do they know they are being stalked by a demon with devilish plans of its own to steal the keys.
Hill confesses that he is thrilled to see the saga in the hands of former Lost producer Carlton Cuse, who rescued the show from development hell and got it to Netflix, because the two share similar ideas.
"In the process of taking the show to screen, I've kind of adopted Carlton Cuse (or he's adopted me?) as a creative partner and guru," says Hill. "Carlton and I have a lot of the same ideas about how stories ought to work. We have simpatico instincts, believe the same things about timing and pace, about what makes a scene pop and what makes it fizzle. Also, he's a calming, patient, good humored influence and those are qualities I particularly admire in a person."
Hill also has kind words for the show's other executive producer Meredith Averill, who knows a thing or two about the horror genre herself.
"All that needs be said is she wrote the 'Bent-Necked Lady' episode of The Haunting of Hill House," says Hill. "Her storytelling chops are absolutely second-to-none, and her feel for character is exquisite. I can't believe we got her for our show! The whole writer's room is, in fact, a crowd of wildly overqualified and brilliant scribes, and they brought their absolute best to Locke & Key. We've been awfully lucky."
Hill notes that whatever Locke & Key's fate as a TV series may hold, creating the comic's epic fantasy world with his "soul brothers," illustrator Gabriel Rodriguez and editor Chris Ryall, has been one of the "great pleasures" of his professional life.
Of course, that's not the only strip the horror maestro (and son of Stephen King) has got cooking. IDW is about to release his latest series, a throwback crime comic called Dying Is Easy, inspired by classic '80s cop heroes played by the likes of Bruce Willis and Eddie Murphy. And let's not forget about his latest horror miniseries, Basketful of Heads, which hit stores in October, among other imprints.
Locke & Key premieres on Netflix Feb. 7