As many prog fans have by now heard, there will be a movie coming out based on Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s “Karn Evil 9”. Expectations are already mixed.
Providing the movie is successful, Hollywood might develop a sudden interest in adapting other progressive rock works into big-budget blockbusters. To help any screenwriters along, I’ve created a set of possible ideas for more prog epic movies! Some are stretches, some are shoe-ins, but they’re all good ways to get in on a trend!
“Tarkus” from Tarkus by Emerson, Lake & Palmer
I mean, they’re already doing one ELP big-budget epic! Why not do another? “Tarkus'” has story and even the character design already there, after all. This would not be much of a stretch. It’s already got plenty of good, trendy blockbuster elements, what with all the fighting in a post-apocalyptic world which can be tenuously linked to our own to deliver some sort of deep message. Just add in a random romantic subplot (maybe it turns out Tarkus and Iconoclast are exes, or Tarkus could have a mate out there a la Carl Palmer’s suggestion) and you’re golden. Hell, it could even be marketed as a daikaiju film; that wouldn’t even be the first time Keith Emerson was associated with the genre.
This one would probably be animated, which would present a problem given the story is rather violent and, obviously, animation is for children and children only. Maybe the violence would have to be toned down. But keep the fights in, absolutely! Everyone loves to see huge creatures fighting! Just ask Toho Studios.
“Post-War, Saturday Echo” from Quatermass by Quatermass
This song-based movie could get a bit of an arty adaptation rather than a blockbuster adaptation, making this a prog-based movie with actual Oscar potenial. Rather than having sci-fi elements and a story on a world scale, I’m envisioning something a bit closer to earth. Maybe the tale of someone lost in a big city, dealing with the inherent loneliness of modern, urban life. Probably include a moral about how capitalism is evil and manipulates everyone. Cast it in dingy colors or better yet, make it black and white. When you win that Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay (or would it be Best Original Screenplay? How does one categorize a movie with a story adapted from a 10-minute keyboard-driven prog epic?), remember this blog and give me a follow. Or a shout-out in your speech. You’re welcome.
“In the Court of the Crimson King” from In The Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson
Everyone loves fantasy, right? If not everyone, at the very least a lot of people do! That means this has an open market waiting for it!
Once again, this would be an easy one, since we’ve already got a rogue’s gallery of courtiers. Maybe instead of making it the typical high fantasy with wizards and princesses and unicorns and quests, this could be set in a deadly decadent court with everyone trying to kill each other, which when it is written out sounds a bit like the idea behind Game of Thrones. And a few courtiers are trying to summon back a Fire Witch to the Court of The Crimson King (“KIIIIIIIIIIIING! AAAAAAAAAAAH!”) for their own nefarious purposes.
And then (spoilers!) the Yellow Jester turns out to be behind everything. Or else, to baffle those familiar with the source material, turns out the Yellow Jester is not behind everything and instead it’s the Purple Piper! Or the Crimson King! I can already hear the screaming arguments on the internet over the whole thing.
“Stargazer” from Rising by Rainbow
Is Rainbow prog? I’ll leave it to the comments section to parse/fight out, but if I didn’t think so this wouldn’t make the list.
Anyway, here’s another option for a dark fantasy, but rather than give us a clear set of characters, we’re given a clear story instead. And since stunt casting often provokes discussion and the lead character is a control freak obsessed with the occult, I even already have a casting idea for the lead:
The Wall by Pink Floyd
…wait, this one’s been done already. Moving on.