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DID YOU READ

ADAPT THIS: “Creature Tech” by Doug TenNapel

creature-tech

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With Hollywood turning more of its attention to the world of graphic novels for inspiration, I’ll cast the spotlight on a new comic book each week that has the potential to pack a theater or keep you glued to your television screens. At the end of some “Adapt This” columns, you’ll also find thoughts from the industry’s top comic creators about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.


This Week’s Book: Creature Tech by Doug TenNapel

The Premise: After brilliant scientist and former preacher Michael Ong is named head researcher at a strange government facility, his life takes a turn for the weird when an alien being attaches itself to his body in a symbiotic relationship that gives him strange new powers. Ong barely has time to register his condition before he finds himself battling slug monsters, demonic cat-beasts, and a mad scientist intent on conquering the world with the help of a giant space eel.

Luckily, Ong has help from the local rednecks, the alien attached to his body, and a human-sized, CIA-trained mantis. (And those are the good guys!)

The Pitch: It’s worth pointing out right from the start that the adaptation rights to TenNapel’s Creature Tech were bought up by 20th Century Fox way back in 2002, almost half a year before the the book hit shelves and only after an intense bidding war. However, there’s been little word on the project since then, other than to announce that “Eureka” television series writer Andrew Cosby was working on the film’s screenplay.

The creator of the “Earthworm Jim” franchise of games, television series, and toys, TenNapel channeled a similarly zany tone for Creature Tech, and it’s easy to see how the tale of bizarre science and supernatural dangers run amuck could make for a fun big-screen adventure. When the book initially arrived on shelves, its story earned favorable comparisons to those of “Shrek” and the “Toy Story” movies, which also cast a quirky eye on their characters’ worlds.

Even so, the element that makes Creature Tech seem most apt for adaptation has nothing to do with the story’s eclectic cast of characters or the crazy things they get up to. What makes Creature Tech so appealing is that, at its core, it’s actually a wonderful little love story.

Much like “Shrek” or countless other offbeat films set within a universe where real-world rules don’t seem to apply, the one constant in Creature Tech is its main character’s desire to protect the love of his life and reveal his true feelings to her. It’s the sort of anchor that keeps a story grounded no matter how insane the environment becomes – which is good, because in Creature Tech, things get very, very insane.

Along with Michael Ong, there’s a long list of fun, quirky characters to be found in Creature Tech, whether human, alien, ghost, or insect. In fact, if the source material is translated well, there’s a good chance that supporting character Blue (a human-sized mantis trained by the CIA to be Ong’s bodyguard) could earn more than a few cheers from audiences.

Creature Tech also features a great matchup of hero and villain, with the evil Dr. Jameson and his diabolical machinations matching up nicely with the film’s unlikely hero. Like in all good stories of this sort, Ong is forced to face up to demons both within himself and in the world around him before he’s finally able to save the day (and the girl).

The Closing Argument: If it’s a standard studio pitch you’re looking for, a good “Creature Tech” movie would blend the weird-science tone of “Eureka” and the offbeat heroism of “Monsters vs. Aliens” with a nice dose of “Men In Black”-style creature effects. The entertainment should come as much from the characters themselves as from the world they inhabit — a world filled with unbelievably strange elements around every corner.

Whether an adaptation of Creature Tech takes form as a live-action film with digital effects or an animated film, there’s a great adventure just waiting to be mined in TenNapel’s story of faith, love, and science-fiction. Here’s hoping the studio sees it that way as well, and finally gets around to giving the adaptation the nudge it deserves.


Would “Creature Tech” make a good movie? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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