Phillip K. Dick, as almost everyone knows, was a deeply cynical and brilliant writer who wove his stories through apparitions of conspiracy theory, dark political agendas and (despite the fact that some would say he presented things through a lens of paranoia), some frighteningly prescient thoughts on authoritarian governments.
All the while he found a way to drift through issues of spirituality and transcendence as seen through the lens of the remnants of the 1960s drug culture. The first thing that comes to mind is probably "Blade Runner". While that's a fine film, I'm going to go with a few less obvious for this PKD edition of Nightmare Theater recommendations.
His style became clearly evident in some of the first PKD stories that I read which included "A Scanner Darkly" which was adapted for film in 2006 by Richard Linklater.
|This was the cover that introduced me to Phillip K. Dick.|
While this 1988 horror film is based on Ray Nelson's short story "8 o'clock in the Morning", I can't help but think that both Nelson and Carpenter were deeply inspired by the style and subject matter of Phillip K. Dick. Although Carpenter approached the material with a more action/comedy tongue in cheek approach (casting Rowdy Roddy Piper as lead and including a 4 minute buddy fight scene with Kieth David kind of spell that out) the core elements of PKD's primary obsessions are all over this film!
It's hard to deny the Phillip K. Dick influence at work in this film. The sense of "paranoia that might not be paranoia", Authoritarian Governments obscuring the truth from the masses, and somewhere mixed up in that truth, sure enough, there's aliens ...Sounds like Phillip K. Dick must have been typing in the subconscious of John Carpenter and Ray Nelson to me!
While I have yet to see the actual film itself, the trailer looks promising and I have spoken extensively with Producers John Alan Simon and Elizabeth Karr about adapting "Radio Free Albemuth" for the big screen.
|Link to Radio Free Interview by T. Reed for FilmCourage.com|