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Niles, Steve (30 Days of Night)

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Steve Niles

Growing up in a household where movies, music and comics were touted as “wastes of time and money” caused me to carry these ideals into my adulthood. As I matured and began to develop my own sense of the world, it was difficult for me to lose that mindset. For years I denied myself the pleasure of going to the theater or picking up a comic to even casually flip through the pages. I was all too often reminded of my childhood and instances where I would run excitedly to my mother with the newest Superman or Batman comic in hand, only to be shot down time and time again. “Go put that back!” my mother would say. “That stuff is a waste of good time and money!”

Eventually I began to peel away the stigma my parents had placed on movies and found that I could actually go see an occasional film without my children starving to death. Let’s put it this way: I didn’t go to the theater between the time The Rock was released until I was taken on a date to the X-Files movie! But the comics! The comics were surely still a waste of time (of which I had very little) and definitely money (of which I had even less).

Years later my husband brought home a stack of comics. I secretly damned him for wasting our money (thanks, Mom), and then while he was at work, I committed a sin against my upbringing. I read one! Then the strangest thing happened. Guess what?! I absolutely LOVED it! I absorbed every page with anticipation of the next. Before I realized what had happened, I had read the whole stack!

Obsession took hold, and I found myself scouring the internet for more information on this comic writing genius who had caused me to stray so far from the beliefs that had been instilled in me for so long. It got so bad that I went to my local comic book store and PAID for a membership so that I could BUY more of this man’s work! I had a file that automatically filled with more bloody goodness on a regular basis. I was hooked!

You may be wondering who in the hell could cause such a reaction from a comic book prude such as myself. Well, it was none other than Steve Niles, creator of titles such as 30 Days of Night, Wake the Dead, Criminal Macabre, and more recently The Creeper just to name a few. In his career he has worked with the likes of Rob Zombie, Ben Tempelsmith, Thomas Jane (The Punisher), and Bernie Wrightson.

Steve Niles brought me out of the mental dark ages and transported me into Dark Days instead! To my surprise and overwhelming glee I was recently given the opportunity to interview the man himself! And this is how it went…


30 Days of Night
Melissa Bostaph: Hello Steve, I can’t thank you enough for giving me some of your valuable time. I’d like to start in with some background information so our readers can get to know you a bit. When did your interest in horror begin?

Steve Niles: When I was very young. I started with issues of Creepy and Eerie Magazine, and then when I saw Night of the Living Dead on TV for the first time, I was hooked for life.

MB: Did your family support your interest in horror?

SN: What a great question. I don’t get to give props to my mom too often, but she was insanely supportive of my love of horror. She bought me the first issue of Fangoria when it came out despite her sisters saying they would never let their kids even look at that filth. My dad bought me my first Super 8 camera even though he didn’t really like the stuff I filmed. But it was my mom really. When I was 16 she bought me my first bottle of foam latex so I could create gore effects and stain the walls with fake blood. She even helped me get my first bass. I never made decisions she was very happy with, but she always backed me up, and now today she has this shelf with all my book and news clippings she shows off to her friends.

MB: Who/what have been the biggest influences in your writing career?

SN: Hands down, Richard Matheson. He not only made me want to write but he was the first author I ever read that I enjoyed. They had a tough time getting me to read anything but comics when I was a kid, but when I was given a copy of I AM LEGEND all that changed. I’ve been a voracious reader ever since.

MB: Were comics always your passion, or did your creativity start some other way?

SN: I always loved comics, but I thought I wanted to be a filmmaker or a special effects artist when I was a kid. I idolized guys like Dick Smith, George Romero, Rick Baker, John Carpenter, and Rob Bottin. It was only after becoming frustrated with amateur filmmaking that I looked to comics.

MB: Can your fans look forward to seeing any Steve Niles cameo roles in any of the upcoming films you are connected with?

SN: If you look very carefully, you might spot me in 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, but I can’t say for sure since they are still filming.

MB: Speaking of your upcoming film projects, I am very excited about 30 Days of Night being put on the big screen!

SN: Me too! And I couldn’t be happier with David Slade at the helm. He’s an outstanding director. And with producers like Sam Raimi, Mike Richardson, and Rob Tappert involved, I feel that much more secure that we’re going to get a great horror film next year.

MB: Now 30 Days of Night has a very odd history. The comic version came about only after the story was turned down, when you originally pitched it as a film, and now it has come full circle.

BatmanSN: Yeah, it was one of a dozen or so stories I pitched to everybody who would listen in comics and film, then when I did the comic, it was like they’d never seen it before. I was so shocked at the response, but obviously really happy. That books success gave me and Templesmith our careers. I’ll always be eternally grateful.

MB: Did you ever imagine after the initial rejection that you would ever see this particular project on the big screen?

SN: Not in a million years. I had other projects like Freaks of the Heartland and the Cal McDonald books and comics I thought had a better chance. Now because of 30 Days, those stories have life and you never know, they might wind up on the screen someday.

MB: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, and most recently, Danny Huston have all been cast in major roles in the film. Are you pleased with the casting so far?

SN: Very much so. I heard a lot of criticism about Josh Hartnett, but I think he’ll make a great Eben. He has that stoic, stone-faced quality that I always pictured for the character. I recently saw Lucky Number Sleven and that sealed it for me. He was great in it. To be honest, I hadn’t seen a lot of Melissa George, but since she was cast I’ve checked out her work and she seems like she’ll make a rock solid Stella. As far as Danny Huston, I couldn’t be happier. He’s an amazing actor and comes from such an historical filmmaking family. I can’t wait to see what he does.

MB: Did you ever have anyone else pictured for any of these roles?

SN: Not really. I try not to think about those things. I like leaving it in the capable hands of the director and casting agents.

MB: Director David Slade has said “We’re faced with a tremendous task, which is making a scary vampire film”. This shouldn’t be too difficult considering you have created a new breed, if you will, of vampires. Not that I am complaining AT ALL, but your vampires are vicious killing machines. What made you decide to take the all too common “romance” out of your vampires?

SN: Vampires are the most common monster and that makes them seem safe and harmless. We have everything from Count Chocula, Buffy the Vampire Slayer to action vampires in Blade and Underworld. It waters down the scares. As much as I love Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, to me there’s nothing scary about her undead. When I think of something scary, I think of the shark in Jaws. It doesn’t care one shit about you and will doing anything it can to eat your flesh. That’s what I wanted to see in vampires; ruthless, feral and do not care one bit about human life.

MB: Slade has also said “Indeed, I don’t believe there’s much of the genre left in what we’ve written, but it’s very faithful both to Steve Niles’ writing, and the town and the esthetic–we hope at this point, because we’re not shooting until the summer–will be very close to Ben Templesmith’s artwork. But we’re going to maintain the level of realism.”. Ok…The first part of that makes me nervous! The story is non-stop dread and blood! How can they take the “genre” out of a Steve Niles HORROR story and still stay true to the original vision?

SN: Why? David is just talking about what he wants to do. The reality of the story is that it’s about a town attacked by vampires. I think David will do it justice.

MB: Josh Hartnett was recently quoted: “It’s less of a horror movie. You saw ‘Alien,’ right?” Hartnett asked. “It’s like that. It’s kind of a supernatural, but kind of a western, you know, in that genre. It’s all about being on the edge. The outskirts of society. Having to create your own society with an outside element creating massive fear and panic. Most of the film you don’t even know they’re vampires.” Again…My Fan-girl cries when I hear stuff like this! Please tell me that 30 Days of Night isn’t going to be missing the horror or more importantly the VAMPIRES?

SN: I knew this was coming. We have to remember that the mainstream mainly sees horror as women in high heels being victimized by guys with chainsaws and they want to distance themselves from that. That’s what I read into what he’s saying. People get so caught up with labels. I try not to. I know Alien is a horror movie. I know Silence of the Lambs is one as well and so is Jaws.

MB: 30 Days of Night isn’t the only movie your name is attached to right now. You have joined forces with Thomas Jane and Lion’s Gate to produce five films which include The Lurkers and In the Blood.

SN: We have a production company called RAW. I’m writing The Lurkers right now, a second draft actually so the project is moving along nicely. The other title we are working on is Dark Country written by Tab Murphy. I’m excited about both movies and when I get a chance to start writing In the Blood I’ll be thrilled. I’ve always loved werewolves and that’s my chance to go nuts with that particular monster.

BigfootMB: Can you share any other titles with us?

SN: My first screen credit will be as a producer. Through RAW, Tom and I helped produce David Arquette’s directorial/writing debut on The Tripper. It’s a great little horror film with a political slant. It’s premiering at Screamfest here in LA on Friday the 13th. I’ve also just completed a draft of BIGFOOT based on the comic I wrote with Rob Zombie. Rob is also helping with the writing chores. A Cal McDonald film (Criminal Macabre) is still going to happen. I’m working closely with Mike Richardson and we’re trying to find the right place to do it.

MB: When can we expect to start seeing these films?

SN: The Tripper, Friday October 13th and 30 Days of Night is set to be released October 19th 2007. None of the other films have dates yet.

MB: Jane is set to star in The Lurkers, has anyone else been cast for the film?

SN: Not yet, but we have some ideas.

MB: You are also the executive producer of The Tripper. How did you become involved with that project?

SN: Tom is married to Patricia Arquette so he’s David’s brother-in-law. David asked us to read the script and Tom and I thought it would be fun to do. Tom also took on a role in the film and he is absolutely hilarious…in that funny/scary way Tom is so good at.

MB: Wake the Dead is one of my personal favorite retellings of the Frankenstein story. I haven’t heard anything about Dimension or the possible movie for a while. Is there anymore news on the Hollywood front pertaining to that project?

SN: Yeah, that one sort of got lost in the shuffle when the Weinstein’s made their break. I’m still trying to figure out how to get that one up and running again.

MB: You were hired by Fox Atomic Comics a short time ago to write a graphic novel called 28 Days Later: The Aftermath, which will tie the movie 28 Days Later to its upcoming sequel 28 Weeks Later. How is that project coming along?

SN: I’m really having fun with the project. It’s an 88 page graphic novel but I’m writing them as four 22 page shorts that will all interconnect and bridge the first movie to the second. I’m working with three different artists so I think it’s going to turn out to be a pretty cool book.

MB: Bigfoot and The Nail are two comics that you collaborated on with Rob Zombie. With all your recent projects your work with Rob seems to have taken a hiatus, will we be seeing anything more from Creep Entertainment International?

SN: Both of us became suddenly really busy, Rob with his films and music, me with my usual overload of writing, but we’re still doing stuff together. Right now we’re working on the screenplay for Bigfoot which we sold to Rogue last year. We’re really close to have a draft right now.

Criminal MacabreMB: Having worked with some of the most amazing talents in the comic world throughout your career, is there anyone you haven’t worked with that you would like to?

SN: Too many to name. There are so many great artists out there, it would be almost impossible to start naming them all.

MB: If you could only continue work on just ONE of your projects/characters which would it be and why?

SN: That’s easy…Cal McDonald because he’s so fun to write.

MB: And just for fun…Are there any new movies coming out that you as a horror fan are excited about?

SN: Rob’s Halloween remake. I’m anxious to see what he does.

MB: The Dread Central staff members have each compiled their top 5 Halloween movie recommendations. What would be your top 5 picks for the upcoming holiday?

SN: Nosferatu, Frankenstein, Night of the Living Dead, The Exorcist, Jaws.

MB: Well, that about wraps it up for me. Again, I can’t thank you enough for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me; it has been a thrill for me!

SN: Thank you!


Big thanks to Steve for taking the time out to speak with us. Be on the lookout for more of his work to be covered here really soon!

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Check Out the Opening 2 Minutes of Another WolfCop

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It was just earlier today that we brought you guys The Dude Design’s the newest poster for writer-director Lowell Dean’s horror-comedy sequel Another WolfCop.

And now we have the movie’s opening 2 minutes!

The clip showcases the new flick’s villain trying to sell us on his “Chicken Milk Beer” before losing his cool and taking it out the commercial’s crew. We then cut to a ragtag group of criminals, dressed as homeless Santas trying to outrun the cops.

A fun two-minutes if you ask me!

You can check out Another WolfCop‘s opening scene below and then make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on social media!

The film is written and directed by Lowell Dean, produced by Bernie Hernando, Deborah Marks, and Hugh Patterson, and distributed worldwide by Cineplex.

Another WolfCop co-stars Amy Matysio, Jonathan Cherry, and Serena Miller. The film also features special appearances from Canadian music icon Gowan and legendary filmmaker Kevin Smith. It was executive produced by Sean Buckley, J. Joly, Bill Marks, Brian Wideen, Michael Kennedy, and Michael Hirsch.

The film is slated for a wide Cineplex theatrical release on Friday, December 8, 2017, with the film seeing a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital home entertainment release through A71 and Black Fawn in 2018.

Synopsis:

A month has passed since the eclipse transformed hard-drinking Officer Lou Garou into the crime-fighting hellion WolfCop. Although the Shape Shifters controlling the town have been extinguished, Woodhaven is far from returning to normal. Lou’s liquor-fueled antics and full moon outbursts are seriously testing his relationship with Officer Tina Walsh – the new Chief of Police. An old friend has mysteriously reappeared with a truly bizarre secret to share, and a homicidal new villain has emerged from the shadows looking to finish what the Shape Shifters started. To defeat this lethal adversary, it will take more than a lone wolf packing a pistol.

Prepare for the next chapter of WolfCop that will be more dirty and hairy than the original! Consider yourself warned.

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The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror

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Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

Directed by Nicholas Woods


The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

  • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
  • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
  • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
  • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
  • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
  • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
  • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
  • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
  • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
  • The Axiom
4.0

Summary

In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

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User Rating 3.9 (10 votes)
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Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation – First Trailer and Artwork!

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As a fan of flicks like Mad Monster Party, I was surprisingly pleased with the last two Hotel Transylvania affairs. For my money you can put the classic monsters in just about anything, and I’ll watch it happily, and these animated features feel like a natural progression of the 1967 Rankin and Bass classic. Which is why I’m looking forward to Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, and if you are too, check out the film’s new trailer and poster.

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, who co-wrote the film with Michael McCullers, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation features the voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, and Mel Brooks.

Look for it in theaters on July 13, 2018.

Synopsis:
In Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, join our favorite monster family as they embark on a vacation on a luxury monster cruise ship so Drac can take a summer vacation from providing everyone else’s vacation at the hotel. It’s smooth sailing for Drac’s Pack as the monsters indulge in all of the shipboard fun the cruise has to offer, from monster volleyball to exotic excursions, and catching up on their moon tans.

But the dream vacation turns into a nightmare when Mavis realizes Drac has fallen for the mysterious captain of the ship, Ericka, who hides a dangerous secret that could destroy all of monsterkind.

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