If you read my report about The Watcher of Westfield last Sunday and thought to yourself, “Damn, that would make for a terrifying horror movie!” well, you’re not alone. The Tracking Board claims The Watcher is a hot commodity in Hollywood right now, with multiple studios vying for the rights to turn this true story into a feature film.
Derek and Maria Broaddus, a couple with 3 children, have filed a lawsuit against their home’s previous owners, John and Andrea Woods, for failing to disclose that the house at 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey came with it’s very own stalker. An unknown person who dubbed himself “The Watcher” has left a series of creepy, vaguely threatening letters, which include the following bone-rattling missives:
The Broaddus family claims that they were so shook by these ghastly ramblings they fled the home before they had even settled (just like George and Kathy Lutz got the hell out of Amityville in 1976). Their lawsuit amounts to a fraud charge against the home’s previous owners, as they certainly would not have purchased the property had the Woods family disclosed the existence of this stalker.
Next Stop: Hollywood
It really is a scary story that seems tailor-made for a film adaptation—so much so that I almost suspected the entire thing was a ruse and/or part of some viral marketing campaign.
According to The Tracking Board, big names like James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring) and Bryan Bertino (The Strangers, Mockingbird) are in on this mad dash to nab The Watcher: “Sources confirm that interest is swelling and the project is taking shape at the likes of Blumhouse Productions, Dimension Films, New Line Cinema, and Universal. Several different takes on the true terror tale are being pitched across the board, some unofficially, with rights still up in the air.”
It will be interesting to see how this saga plays out for a variety of reasons. I’m no entertainment lawyer, but the first question that comes to my mind is: Who owns the rights to this story: The Boraddus Family, the Woods Family, or the elusive Watcher himself? Obviously, the fiend would need to emerge from the shadows if he wants to milk this cash cow—an action that could either enhance or kill the appeal of this mysterious tale. Like, what if he turns out to be some pimple-faced World of Warcraft addict living in his parents garage? Well that doesn’t sound like a terribly exciting film to me.
Even if the Watcher has no interest in financial windfalls, the lure of fame must be either exciting or terrifying for him. Will the stalker disappear into the dark ether from which he came, or could the prospect of a movie fuel a dangerous escalation (if he is as mentally unstable as his messages imply)?
We’ll bring you updates on this captivating story as it develops.
Have you been following media reports about The Watcher of Westfield? Do you agree that this true horror story is perfect for a film adaptation? Sound off in the Comments section!
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