Hulu recently picked up a book for an anthology series that should please horror fans: Nathan Ballingrud’s debut collection, North American Lake Monsters. It’s a fantastic collection of short horror stories that is perfect for the format.
Hulu ordered the show earlier this year, and Ballingrud noted that the series will be called Monsterland, and that production has begun on the series.
Some new info: the NALM show will be called MONSTERLAND. Kaitlyn Dever and Jonathan Tucker star in the pilot as Toni and Alex; readers of the book will remember them as the protagonists of “You Go Where It Takes You.”https://t.co/PO4YtZnOk5
— Nathan Ballingrud (@NBallingrud) November 8, 2019
Ballingrud (by way of The Hollywood Reporter) revealed some interesting details about the pilot episode: Hulu recently cast Kaitlyn Dever and Jonathan Tucker, who’ll play Toni and Alex, from the collection’s first story, “You Go Where It Takes You.” (You can listen to it here). The story is a good example of what the rest of the collection brings: Toni is a waitress who’s balancing work, and an unruly kid in daycare, who encounters Alex in her diner. He tells her that he stole a car and is on the run — that’s just the tip of the iceberg: the car’s prior owner had some horrifying secrets that will change them.
Every time I pick up North American Lake Monsters, I want to take copious notes on how Ballingrud assembles each story. They’re each a masterclass in structure, perfectly balancing excellent, flawed characters who come up against some sort of horrifying thing in their lives. Usually, those fantastical elements are almost an afterthought, a manifestation of the things that regular people contend with in their everyday lives: broken relationships, crimes, and in one story, a beached lake monster. The stories are kind of like watching a car wreck — Ballingrud sets you up for a terrifying reveal, and it’s impossible to look away as you pass by.
With series like Black Mirror, Love, Death + Robots, and The Twilight Zone gracing our streaming services now, it’s clear that the anthology series is having a moment. That’s a good thing for people who enjoy short fiction, and Ballingrud’s collection feels as though it’s the perfect source for such a show, full of stories that utterly captivate your attention and leave you devastated when they end.