Zachary Quinto plays a soul-sucking vampire who preys on children and traps them in an alternate dimension where it’s always Christmas in the new AMC series NOS4A2 (pronounced “Nosferatu,” after the classic 1922 vampire film). The series is an adaption of the 2013 award-winning horror novel of the same name by Joe Hill, and the first trailer just debuted earlier today at WonderCon in Anaheim.
(Some spoilers for the book below.)
Hill comes by his horror chops naturally; his dad is an obscure novelist named Stephen King. NOS4A2 is Hill’s third novel, about a woman named Vic McQueen with a gift for finding lost things, who discovers that children have been disappearing. The culprit is a supernatural child abductor named Charles Manx, who hunts for his victims in a 1938 Rolls-Royce dubbed the “Wraith.” He feeds off their souls in order to remain immortal, trapping whatever is left of them in a prison dimension in his imagination called Christmasland. The novel moves back and forth between multiple time periods: Vic as a young girl in 1986, Vic as a rebellious teenager in 1996, and an older Vic with a son in 2008 and 2012. Naturally Manx targets her son, and Vic must defeat him once and for all to save the boy.
Judging by the trailer, the TV adaptation will stay true to several key features in the book, while seemingly focused on Vic’s youth and teen years (for now). Manx’s signature ride, the Wraith, is here, along with Vic’s love of motorcycles. We see the Shorter Way Bridge, which Vic discovers will take her wherever any given thing she’s seeking might be located. The supporting cast includes Maggie Leigh (Jahkara Smith), a librarian who uses Scrabble tiles for divination, and Bing Partridge (Olafur Darri Olafsson), a worker who helps Manx kidnap the children, believing they will be happy forever in Christmasland.
Quinto brings just the right amount of sinister charm to Charles Manx, who is disturbed by Vic’s ability to access Christmasland: “No one has ever been able to enter except me.” We see a boy lured into the Wraith by a host of Christmas presents, and we also see the same kid transformed into a vampire-like creature later on after admitting he doesn’t; feel so good—likely drawn from a scene in the novel where Vic tries to rescue one of the kids trapped in Christmasland. Vic thinks she knows what she needs to do to take down Manx: “I’m the only one with the power to stop him and I’m going to burn Christmasland to the ground.”
Incidentally, Hill also created the fantastic comic book series, Locke and Key, about the mysterious Keyhouse filled with portals to other dimensions that can be opened by various keys. There have been several attempts to adapt Locke and Key for television over the years, most notably pilots for Fox and Hulu, neither of which were picked up for a full series. Yes, we are still bitter, but Netflix took over after Hulu passed, so fingers crossed we’ll see it on our screens eventually. At least we have NOS4A2 until then.
NOS4A2 debuts on AMC June 2, 2019, after the Season 5 premiere of Fear the Walking Dead.
Listing image by YouTube/AMC