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Literature

The Hawkline Monster – A Gothic Western

The Hawkline Monster promo blurb: It is the beginning of the 20th century. A huge yellow house stands in a field of frost in the Dead Hills of East Oregon. In the basement of the house are The Chemicals.

Hawkline Monster - A Gothic WesternThe Chemicals were Professor Hawkline’s lifework – but the Professor has disappeared and his lifework must be completed by his two beautiful daughters…Who lay in bedrooms upstairs with two professional killers, Greer and Cameron. While their beloved giant butler lies dead and ignored on the front hall floor. Meanwhile, in the ice caves below the house, the Hawkline Monster laughs and roars.

In the early years of the 20th Century, a huge Victorian mansion stands isolated from the world in the Dead Hills of Eastern Oregon. It is home to Professor Hawkline, his beautiful daughters, and the secret laboratory that lies hidden in the basement deep beneath the house. But something has gone horribly wrong with the professor’s experiments. He has disappeared and the monster he has unwittingly created is loose somewhere in Hawkline Manor.

So the Hawkline sisters send for professional killers to destroy the monster and rescue their father from oblivion. But even as the hired gunslingers plot its destruction, the Hawkline Monster howls and roars while its diabolic blend of mischief and evil takes hold.

The Hawkline Monster was published in 1974 and had several attempts at adapting for film. Hal Ashby unsuccessfully attempted to make a film adaptation of this book. Jack NicholsonHarry Dean Stanton and Jeff Bridges were all considered for the lead roles. Brautigan wrote a screenplay which Ashby rejected. When asked to write a second draft, Brautigan turned him down. The film was never made. Director Tim Burton also tried to make a film version, Jack Nicholson and Clint Eastwood were attached to star but after Eastwood left the project so did Nicholson and then eventually Burton left the project too.

‘The twists and turns of the plot, the precise coolness of the language, the rich humour and wicked wit make this book a classic.’ — The Times

‘Reads like a spaghetti Western crossed with Frankenstein, viewed through an opium haze.’ — Sunday Times

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