Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Michael Wheatley - Speaker

Presented a paper entitled '"All Flesh is Grass": Weirding Nature in Stephen King and Joe Hill's In the Tall Grass'. The abstract for this paper was as follows:

Since expanding into original programming, Netflix has seen a steady stream of adaptations of Stephen King’s works. Gerald’s Game (2017), 1922 (2017) and In the Tall Grass (2019) have each presented King’s unique blend of the American macabre and familial unrest to streaming audiences. In doing so, Netflix has directly contributed to the current resurgence of interest in King’s fiction. The Dark Tower (2017), It (2017, 2019), Mr Mercedes (2017–), Pet Sematary (2019) and Doctor Sleep (2019) have all seen productions in recent years.

Adopting the framework of the ecoWeird, this paper considers how Netflix’s adaptation of Joe Hill and Stephen King’s novella, ‘In the Tall Grass’, presents a Weird image of Nature. Considering notions of hybridity and the ecological liminal space, the narrative positions a field of grass as a sentient entity which actively undermines the human protagonists trapped within. In doing so, In the Tall Grass weirds traditional conceptions of Nature, including passivity and a lack of agency, as the field itself becomes an incomprehensible entity. Vincenzo Natali’s direction further situates the film within the Weird mode by frequently evoking notions of the Gothic sublime and cosmic horror.

Employing Timothy Morton’s theory of dark ecology alongside an interdisciplinary close reading of both Netflix’s adaptation and Hill and King’s original text, this paper intends to provide a clear example of what an ecoWeird text is by drawing upon Netflix Originals. In doing so, it hopes to invite discussion about Weird portrays of the nonhuman in further Netflix Originals, such as Gareth Edward’s Apostle (2018).
1 Feb 2020


Duration1 Feb 20202 Feb 2020
Location of eventLancaster University
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Web address (URL)
Degree of recognitionInternational event

Event: Conference

ID: 36489156