Friday, February 10, 2023

Is this Victor Sweetser’s short horror story that was bought by New Line Cinema after a "highly competitive bidding war"?


With the story only on the market for less than 24 hours, a tremendous amount of interest was generated around town for what is being described as a reinvention of the haunted house movie.


This is the story of a 100-year-old Victorian home offered up for free, with the caveat the new owner has to put it on a flatbed and move it from the lot it occupies. The story begins cleverly with texts back and forth between a husband and a wife, who cannot get over their good luck to be chosen to take the house. Naturally, we learn there is no such thing as a free house.

The narrator is a teen named Chloe, who lives in the town where the home is being moved. She and her boyfriend Mason are disappointed to see it’s going to be plopped onto The Shole, their nickname for the shithole empty lot where the neighborhood kids go to drink, smoke and lose their virginity. They decide to explore the structure before the homeowners move in.

In a yarn that is one part Poltergeist mixed in with Stephen King, they learn the house is haunted, and its supernatural occupant begins to turn itself loose on members of its new neighborhood, with horrifying results. It becomes a full-fledged scare fest.

This Redditor says they write under that name, and they posted part 1, part 2, and part 3 of "The House That Came to Birch Street" which has all the elements described in the Deadline article about "Occupant". (I didn't detect a reinvention in this version.)

Plenty of other free fiction by the author to read.