Growing up in Spring Grove in the '70s and '80s, horror author Brian Keene sucked up all the film, comics and novels of the time.

And in turn, the vivid imagery of the time influenced his colorful writing style, he said.

"I find that I write with a very cinematic style, a very visual style," Keene said.

That style comes through in his novella "The Cage," which begins with a violent, white-knuckle hostage situation that quickly unravels into science-fiction terror, he said.

Now there are plans to turn that book into a film. A Kickstarter page for the endeavor aims to raise $85,000 this month to supplement its production.

 The Cage  takes place in a fictionalized version of the West Manchester Mall.
The Cage takes place in a fictionalized version of the West Manchester Mall. (Submitted photo)

York County roots: The book takes place at Big Bill's Home Electronics, where a gunman shoots up the store and takes hostages, who are picked off one by one. The rest of the story details the others' struggle for survival in the "cage," a storage area in the back of the store.

"The Cage" is based in Central Pennsylvania, in a fictionalized model of the West Manchester Mall, which used to have a home electronics store, he said. In fact, many of his works use fictionalized versions of places in the area, he said.

"This region is steeped in myth and folklore and legend, and it lends itself well to this type of genre," Keene said.

If the Kickstarter campaign succeeds, "The Cage"

will be filmed in Los Angeles. But Keene said he trusts the "wonders of movie-making" to represent Pennsylvania in a believable way.

The book lends itself to the drama and character development necessary for a film, he said. And the all-important plot twist -- as well as lots of cool monsters -- doesn't hurt, either, he said.

Inspired most by Stephen King, Elmore Leonard and Joe Lansdale, the Wrightsville father of two also credits the landscapes and legends of the land for his ideas.

"Stephen King has Maine, and I've got Pennsylvania," he said.

Kicking it off: Although Keene, 46, has had four of his more than 40 books become movies, this one is a bit different, he said.

Before, filmmakers would shop the project around Hollywood, and studios would change a lot of the content that was original to the book, Keene said.

But the crew of "The Cage" didn't want that to happen, he said.

"They didn't think that'd be true to the work, so they decided to go with this option instead," Keene said.

Through Kickstarter, the crew accepts pledges from fans and supporters with the goal of keeping the raw energy of the book intact, he said. The campaign raised $12,000 in four days and extends till the end of October.

Authors usually don't get a say in film adaptations of their work, he said, but in the productions he has inspired, the filmmakers kept him involved.

"I've been incredibly lucky in that regard," he said.

Other funding is in place, but the campaign aims to raise the rest of the capital needed for production, Keene said.

"I hope folks will check out the Kickstarter page, and if it's something that they find interesting, I hope they'll forgo one cup of Starbucks and send us one dollar instead," he said. "And we'll get there."

--Reach Mollie Durkin at

Support the effort: Access the Kickstarter here. Pledges will be collected through the end of October.