On this page we would like to show you the film edition of Night Eyes (called Nachtogen in Dutch), which was filmed in Hollywood. There are several Jack Lance collections of stories, but they are only published in Dutch. For these, we recommend you visit the website of the Jack Lance Community.
A young woman, Linda Raines, drives home one evening to her remote home, far from civilisation. There is a reason she lives there, alone. This day, however, she is not alone. Another vehicle is parked in the spot where she always parks her car. It is an exact copy of her own car, down to the smallest detail. This is the beginning of a confrontation with a horror from which Linda thought she had escaped. Read More
Linda Raines is driving home one day and is more than a little surprised to see her car – the one she is in now – parked in front of her house. She gets out, inspects the other car and finds that it is an exact copy of her own, down to the smallest detail. It seems impossible, but sometimes the impossible can be true, as Linda discovers when remarkable events and horrors unfold.
It was in 1990, I was still very young, when one morning, still sleep-deprived, I drove the usual route to work and was going to park my car behind the last corner. I was musing a bit about routine, that you do the same thing every day, at least often, which sometimes isn’t fun at all.
And then it happened. Read More
I saw an image before my eyes. I imagined that behind that last corner – which I still had to take – my own car would already be there, in my familiar spot. The image was so strong that I was almost afraid to actually take the turn. When I did, it was a relief that my own spot was free. There was no car there.
This strange thought did linger and eventually became the story Night Eyes. A short version of it was first published in 1991 in ParaVisie magazine; a longer version later appeared in my story collection Night Eyes, titled after this story.
After that, for a long time, nothing special happened as far as this story was concerned. My career, on the other hand, was going very well. I also started writing novels and they were published in one language after another and are currently read in much of the world.
My latest novel is titled Zone. It is an airplane thriller set aboard a Boeing 747. Flight 582 takes off from LAX in Los Angeles, bound for Sydney. What happens on that plane is stuff you don’t want to experience yourself, I assure you. But to be able to write this story I had to brush up my knowledge about airplanes in general, and what goes on in a cockpit in particular. Without the help of Jan Cocheret, Boeing 777 pilot at Emirates, this novel would not have seen the light of day. Jan has an interesting life. Not only does he have a cool job, he is also married to Cilly Dartell – best known for the TV program Hart van Nederland that she hosted for years – and together they have two sons. One of them, David, lives and works as a film director in Los Angeles. Once when I was in Dubai, the base of Emirates and therefore also the home of Jan and Cilly, we talked about David. I can safely say that the seeds for the Hollywood adaptation of Night Eyes were sown in that bustling metropolis in the desert.
David Cocheret is an energetic young fellow and he was looking for the right story to film. My Night Eyes was to his taste. Together we worked on the script and the decision was made to go ahead with the filming. The filming took place in December 2012. On the gray morning of December 8, I boarded a KLM jumbo, for an eleven-hour flight to LAX. There is a nine-hour time difference between Amsterdam and Los Angeles. Although the Boeing had taken off just before ten in the morning, I stepped out of the terminal in sunny California just after noon, under a blue, cloudless sky.
I had been given an address where the set was located and I drove there in a rental car. It took some getting used to the wide and busy streets of Los Angeles (in America everything seems to be bigger than we are used to). Suddenly I was driving along Sunset Boulevard and a little further I crossed Santa Monica Boulevard. Then I reached Hollywood Boulevard, passed the Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theatre. Just past the Chinese Theatre, the navigation system told me to turn right. I did and suddenly found myself in another world.
No more wide streets, no more glitz and glamour. I was suddenly driving in high mountains – the canyons of the Hollywood Hills – on a fairly narrow road. Because that’s what Los Angeles is, too. You’re in a metropolis, and yet near pristine wilderness, which you can literally find in the middle of the city. Less than three miles from the Walk of Fame, I reached the set.
A house, somewhat cube-shaped, built against a steep canyon, was the destination according to the navigation system. That I had been led to the right address I deduced from the half-open tent in front of the house, in which a lot of film equipment was set up. A small army of film crew was busy with all sorts of things.
Thus began my three days on the set of Night Eyes. If you don’t know better, it seems like making a film isn’t that big of a deal and you sometimes wonder why a production has to cost so much money. But then when you see with your own eyes what is involved, you start to understand a bit better.
For starters, the set for each scene must be built, including all the props that are needed. A lot of attention is also paid to getting the lighting right. I still don’t know all of the jargon that a crew uses, but among other things, you see large screens always being placed around the set to brush away image-polluting shadows. And for a scene that takes place in the dark, but is shot during the day, every trace of daylight is carefully taped.
Naturally, the actors rehearse every scene they are about to play. There is a moment in Night Eyes when Larry knocks Michael down with a chair. That scene has been rehearsed so many times that Steve Wilcox, the actor who plays Michael, was almost smashed to a pulp.
After the rehearsals, the big moment approaches. The cameras are brought into position, the microphones adjusted – those big horns that sometimes appear on screen when you watch the bloopers of a film production process. The people responsible for lighting are ready. The make-up artist is putting the finishing touches on the actors. The director and his assistant take their seats on the high folding chairs and they see on a small screen what the camera is recording.
Then the caller announces in a loud voice that everyone on the set, about thirty people altogether, must be quiet from now on and he always ends with the cry: ‘Rolling!’ Then the director shouts: ‘And… action!‘ Then someone else in front of the camera briefly shows the board that has the scene number and the number of the take – the professional term for it is clapboard – and when he has closed it, the shoot has finally begun.
A scene is short. A film is cut up into lots of puzzle pieces, and each piece usually lasts less than half a minute. Not infrequently, many takes are taken of each scene. The man who will later do the editing is also already on the set. He puts each take in order, and by order he means the arrangement of scenes as described in the script.
Because a film is not shot chronologically, the whole puzzle of scenes is divided into groups that are most convenient for the production process. What happens at the end of the film may have been shot on the first day of production, so to speak.
So it’s quite a task not only arranging all the takes logically, but also of deciding which of the many takes is really the best.
It was a cheerful bunch on the set. A lot of young people, who were having fun. But at the same time they were doing their work in a very professional manner.
It all came together. Precisely because of that contagious enthusiasm with which Night Eyes was made, which I will always remember. Cast and crew were great, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. And I sincerely wonder if I will ever meet such an inspired director as David Cocheret again.
The best scene I’ve seen myself being created? Definitely the one where Linda arrives at the house and sees her own Jeep Liberty, the one she’s sitting in that very moment, parked already there at the house.
Because that’s how this all started. A quarter of a century ago it was just a rather silly thought that occurred to me. But on that evening in December 2012, exactly that image became reality. And isn’t that part of the magic of Hollywood?
Every story has an epilogue. Almost two years later, in September 2014, I traveled again to Los Angeles. I met the film crew again, not on a set this time, but in a beautiful movie theater in Hollywood, where for insiders and a few guests from the film world, the very first premiere of Night Eyes took place.
The next day I drove back to that cube-like house in the Hollywood Hills, where filming had taken place two years earlier in December.
I stood there for a while. I looked at that distinct home, at the rugged canyons – barely more than a stone’s throw away from the Chinese Theatre and the Walk of Fame – and all the wonderful memories of the shooting of the movie floated to the surface. The atmosphere, the experience, the passion of everyone involved in the production of Night Eyes.
I relived the recording days again, as if I could experience them one more time. It was a bit like the experiences of Linda Raines.
I am so glad I got to meet that brave young woman.
Somewhere in that wonderful place, the infinite world called Imagination.
The old woman looks tired. Her blue nightgown falls far too wide over her skinny body. Her little hair is white as snow. Like a ghost, she stands at the top of the stairs. Her panting breath cuts through the silence of the night. Hesitantly, she places one foot on the top step. When she puts her second foot next to the first, she has to hold on to the banister with both hands.
Another step down. And another.
Then all goes wrong.
The old woman’s mouth drops open, as if startled. She lets go of the handrail and grabs her chest with both hands.
She falls forward. Read More
She hits a step hard on her right shoulder and then does an involuntary somersault. The woman clatters further down, with so much noise that it seems like a bull is stamping down the stairs.
On the tiled floor at the bottom of the stairs, she lies dead still, on her stomach, arms spread.
The only one who sees it is she.
The Glass House slipped into view behind the last bend. In the evening twilight, it was almost invisible from this distance. Blinking to stay awake, Linda Raines drove the last six hundred feet along the cobbled sandy path. She wanted to park her black Jeep Liberty, as usual, in front of the centuries-old oak tree, of which some gnarled branches, full of young green leaves, hung almost protectively over the flat roof of the modern building, consisting almost only of glass windows.
However, a car was already parked in her spot. She was so tired that she only saw it at the last moment. She was this close to colliding with it.
The other car was black, just like hers.
And it was also a Jeep Liberty.
Confused, she frowned and even thought for a moment that she had not taken her own car to work this morning and was now sitting in another car, Paul’s. The thought disappeared immediately. She was of course in her own car. Then her eyes fell on the number plate.
Her license plate.
Linda’s eyes widened and she was suddenly awake, as if a bucket of ice-cold water had been thrown in her face.
Now she stared at the other Jeep in bewilderment and clenched her fingers around the steering wheel. Her first impulse, in a fit of panic, was to turn her car around and drive off with her foot on the accelerator. She came close to doing just that.
She did not do it. Not yet. Motionless, she remained behind the wheel. Why? What was stopping her? Wasn’t she supposed to drive off?
Maybe it was a very bad decision, but finally Linda turned off the engine. She opened the door and stepped out cautiously.
The wind rustled through the foliage and she smelled the springtime scents of the forest in which the Glass House was idyllically nestled, like a child in the safety of its mother’s lap.
Linda hesitated and stroked her dark half-long hair.
The Glass House looked dark, silent and deserted. There was nothing that caught her eye – except that she was looking at the boot of her own car, which she was also standing next to.
Curiosity (or was it something else?) finally won out over fear and she shuffled over to the other Jeep.
She peered in through the window on the driver’s side.
The same grey upholstery. In the cup holder lay the crumpled wrapper of a roll of peppermint and a petrol receipt. Just like in her car. The interior needed to be vacuumed and she could say the same about her own Jeep. Dirt and dust lay in the same places. Linda’s eye caught a stack of sketches on the back seat. The first finger exercises for the book cover of a first time author, which Paul wanted to publish in the autumn. She had worked on them today and these drawings lay in the same place in her car.
This was her car. Bought second-hand a year and a half ago, then three years old, with only a few miles on the odometer. They had told her that at Johnson’s Garage, although she didn’t really care. She was only interested in the price, and she hoped the car wouldn’t let her down too often. She preferred to spend her money on trinkets for the house – even though, understandably enough, she hadn’t spent a penny on them lately.
Linda reached out a hand to touch the second car and hoped fleetingly that she would not feel anything, as if the other Jeep were a mirage. But her fingers touched cold metal.
She had not taken her own Jeep to the car wash for weeks. A grey cake of bird droppings sat on the roof of both cars. She glanced inside and saw a stain on the dashboard that she recognised as dried vanilla milkshake.
Linda thought of the scratch on the back of her car, just above the bumper. Result of a moment of inattention (or stupidity, if she was honest) outside a supermarket, a year or so ago. There had been barbed wire in a flower bed along the not-so-small car park, which she had driven over in reverse. When she heard that wire scraping against the bumper and the paintwork, she had cursed profusely. Now Linda crouched down at the exhaust of the other Jeep and saw a jagged line of rust in the black paintwork there too.
It could not be entirely ruled out that someone had put a second Jeep Liberty here. Who would have done that, and why, was a mystery, but it was possible. What was impossible, however, was that the other Jeep was so identical to hers, down to the smallest detail. This bit of rust was the straw. The writhing orange stripe had been on her car like a scar for a long time and no human being would be able to reproduce it so precisely.
So she was really looking at a mirror image of her own Jeep.
It was a conclusion that chilled Linda to the bone.
Her heart hammered. Now what? What was she going to do? She wanted to jump into her own car and drive away.
But she couldn’t do that and she didn’t understand what was stopping her.
Then she stood up again and took her key ring out of her trouser pocket.
Was it possible? Would her own car key fit on this door?
Linda bit her lower lip. She slid the key into the lock, gave it a turn, and all the doors clicked open at once. She pulled open the door and got behind the wheel before she could change her mind.
With wide eyes, she noticed again that everything was the same. The seat was like hers. This car even smelt like hers. She looked in the rear-view mirror and saw the Jeep she had used to drive up to here.
The last few weeks she had often been afraid, and she had had every reason to be. But despite everything that had happened, she had never been so afraid as she was now.
For the third time, the impulse came to run away, as fast as possible, with her tail between her legs. If she stayed, she would not get away at all. For a moment she had the terrible fear that the door next to her would suddenly slam shut of its own accord, that all the doors would lock again, and that she would be locked in.
Linda screamed raucously, pushed against the door and almost tumbled out.
She ran back to her own Jeep. Now she would let nothing hold her back and flee. She jerked open the door and was already standing with one foot on the floorboard, when she stiffened and cast a grim look at the other Jeep.
She just couldn’t leave. Or it wasn’t allowed, by something or someone.
Desperately, Linda tried to keep her wits about her.
She had touched the other Jeep, felt the metal, and she had been behind the wheel. All of this meant that the car was really there and not a delusion.
If it was, someone had to have left it there.
It made sense. It also meant that she might not be alone.
Somewhere close by there could be someone watching her. Now, at this moment.
Even more cold fear ran through her entire body.
Linda closed her eyes for a moment, muttered a quick prayer, opened her eyes again and for the first time her gaze slipped past the other Jeep, to the Glass House.
The curtains in the large living room were closed and no light shone behind them. But still, there could be eyes that lurked at her, from behind a curtain.
The Glass House was an almost artistically designed house. The entire ground floor was made of glass. The front of the upper floor, bedroom and kitchen, was also made of glass, only the side walls were made of plastic sheeting. The house resembled an aquarium.
She peered at the curtains for a moment longer, trying to detect movement behind them, a figure. Or just a glimpse of a face.
Suspense in the tradition of Stephen King. Read More
What happens is original in a Stephen King like atmosphere and surprising climax.
Horror that is nowhere to be found in the Netherlands.
I have to say that the Stephen King Fanclub is right: this man is a great writer and it is great to read. There is only one Stephen King, but Jack Lance is a great second, and you must read his scary stories.
When you start reading, you can’t stop. You’re staying curious, and want to read it cover to cover.
Dagblad De Gelderlander
At the minute you read that Linda sees the exact copy of her own car in the driveway you know… this aint no good…