I think it’s safe to say at this point in time that Locke And Key is one of my favorite things ever. Note I didn’t say favorite comics ever, or even horror stories. Just things. The story of the Lockes is one that I’ve become deeply invested in over the years and the idea of seeing it turned into a TV Show was as intriguing as it was worrying.
So you can imagine my reaction The Locke And Key pilot in a mysterious Lynchian package in the mail. If you can’t lets just say that it involved yelling “SQQUUUUUEEEE” for several minutes before going behind The Winky’s to thank the man who lives beside the dumpster (not a bad chap that).
As a work in and of itself Locke And Key isn’t exactly flawless, but taken as a pilot it showcases a lot of potential. Make no mistake if a certain network (coughMTVhack) was smart enough to pick up this show (and really in the wake of Walking Dead why wouldn’t you?) this really does feel like the right cast and creative team to bring Locke and Key to life. An intriguing mixture of old and new mysteries that suggests that the creative team could simultaneously be faithful to the source material and spin it off into bold new directions.
The Pilot Episode of Locke And Key condenses the whole of the first arc of the comics into just under an hour. The basic story is the same; a family tragedy drives the Locke family back to their ancestral home where they end up dead in the sights of a dark supernatural force and in position of a certain collection of reality warping keys. The abridgement works surprisingly well, no Nightmare “Readers Digest Condensed” version here. Really only the nightmarish attack on The Locke family that kicks things off, and Sam Lesser’s journey across America feel like they actually suffer from their abbreviations. But considering that this was first being developed for Network TV the impulse to tone down those two rather disturbing segments is understandable.
Other than that, it’s all good. Keyhouse and Lovecraft both feel just right, a ton of atmosphere and history. Though I have to admit I was expecting something a bit, well showier given that Mark Romenak was directing. Most of the actors do feel slightly broad in their roles, but that’s just par for the course with pilots and I’m sure by a few episodes in things would have been much smoother. Nick Stahl as the wounded Duncan Locke and Ksenia Solo as the androgynous, creepy as all fucking hell Dodge were already spot on.
Locke And Key promised(s?) to be a great adaptation and a greater variation (just where were they planning to go with their suggestions about Duncan?) Let’s just say that should it be picked up, I would be confident that one of my favorite pieces of comics material was in the right hands.