In 1981, rock band KISS released a concept album entitled “(Music From) The Elder”. The LP was intended to be the soundtrack to a movie — a movie which, due to the relative commercial failure of the album, was never made.
30 years after the LP’s original release, U.K.-based writer, musician and independent filmmaker Seb Hunter announced plans to produce a “post-apocalyptic road movie” based on “(Music From) The Elder”, with production slated to begin this summer.
Speaking to Sweden’s Metalshrine, Hunter stated about how he first get the idea of turning “The Elder” into a movie, “About two years ago, I was just e-mailing somebody and bizarrely I was e-mailing Julian Cope‘s wife, who I e-mail every now and then and we sort of e-mailed each other back and forth and I can’t remember why we were talking about ‘The Elder’. Sometimes you’re just doing streams of consciousness e-mails and I just said, ‘Oh, and I’m finally going to make ‘The Elder’ film!’ as a joke literally and she e-mailed back and said, ‘Yes, what a brilliant idea!’ and I just thought, ‘Yeah, that is a brilliant idea! Fucking hell!’ Basically, that was about two years ago and I’ve just been sort of developing the idea. It’s one of those ideas that when you say… when you mention it to people, some people just go, ‘That is the best idea in the world, ever!’ or they just think it’s ridiculous. I knew it was a good idea and enough people agreed with me to get to this stage. It does actually seem to be happening.”
When asked if “The Elder” is going to be a serious movie, Hunter said, “Yeah, yeah! It’s a very serious movie! I think the only way to do this is to do it properly and not to make some kind of kitsch sorcery thing. Not to completely copy the ideas that KISS had. It’s 30 years and a lot has happened in 30 years in art and culture and cinema and everything. I think the only way to make this credible, to make it work as far as I see it… I’ve decided to reset it as a kinda post-apocalyptic road movie, but with all the signifies in place and the characters are the same and the general narrative is the same or at least what we know of it. It basically tells the same story and, of course, it’s an old story with a boy on a quest and the story of good and evil. It wasn’t exactly a radical storytelling, but in a sort of credible environment really and that’s it. I’m not making a film for KISS fans. I’m making a film that I want to be for the general audience. I want to make a good, low-budget, high-concept film which will appeal to everybody. Hopefully it will be underwritten and paid for by KISS fans, as long as they don’t sue us. This is the big potential problem that we have at the moment. We’ve gone this far and people know about it and I’m 99% sure that KISS know about it. We’ve written to the management and we’ve written to the label, but we haven’t heard anything and the big worry is that they… you know how Gene Simmons likes to wield his lawyers and he’s not scared of doing that, so the big worry of course is that he’ll come down on us like a ton of bricks… and we’re prepared for that. People ask question about what chance do we have on a project that doesn’t set out to glorify the KISS brand? I understand, but we’re not asking for money and we’re not asking for investments. We’re potentially reactivating some long-dead part of their catalog in an incredible new way. We’re doing it respectfully and we’d love their authorization. I’m hoping they’ll be able to see the potential in it.”
For more information, visit ElderTheMovie.com.
A book exploring “(Music From) The Elder” is scheduled for release in the spring. “Music From The Elder: The Unauthorized Story Of the Most Spectacular Failure In The History Of Kiss” will explore the odd circumstances that led the traditionally hard-rocking band to attempt a classical and Broadway-influenced concept record about a young boy’s medieval quest to become a warrior (or something), and the effect its commercial failure had on the band.