The producers of this year’s Smile are lining up a new horror project, titled Clown In A Cornfield, Deadline reports.

Producers Temple Hill Entertainment, also known for The Maze Runner and Twilight franchises, have tapped Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil and black comedy Little Evil helmer Eli Craig to direct the YA slasher thriller, based on a script by Carter Blanchard, itself adapted from Adam Cesare’s novel.

Clown In A Cornfield centres on a fading midwestern town in which Frendo the clown re-emerges as a terrifying scourge. In the novel, “Quinn Maybrook just wants to make it until graduation. She might not make it to morning. Quinn and her father moved to tiny, boring Kettle Springs to find a fresh start. But ever since the Baypen Corn Syrup Factory shut down, Kettle Springs has cracked in half. On one side are the adults, who are desperate to make Kettle Springs great again, and on the other are the kids, who want to have fun, make prank videos, and get out of Kettle Springs as quickly as they can.

“Kettle Springs is caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and progress. It’s a fight that looks like it will destroy the town. Until Frendo, the Baypen mascot, a creepy clown in a pork-pie hat, goes homicidal and decides that the only way for Kettle Springs to grow back is to cull the rotten crop of kids who live there now.” A book sequel, Clown in A Cornfield II: Frendo Lives, was published earlier this summer, while a third instalment is reportedly in the works.

“We love Eli Craig’s brand of scary fun and are thrilled to be working with him on this terrifying slasher adaptation that is both timely and timeless,” said Temple Hill producers in a joint statement.

“Nostalgia-driven, elevated horrors that deliver on the promise of the genre – thrilling action, heart-stopping suspense and deeply satisfying endings – continue to dominate at the global box office,” said David Bishop, CEO of Protagonist, who is launching worldwide sales. “Our friends at Temple Hill are masters of taking this critical formula and creating wholly original stories that surprise, delight and gratify audiences and Eli is the perfect visionary to bring this special project to its full potential.”

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