Exclusive: Author Dave Zeltserman Talks The Boy Who Killed Demons - Dread Central
Connect with us

News

Exclusive: Author Dave Zeltserman Talks The Boy Who Killed Demons

Published

on

Author Dave Zeltserman Talks The Boy Who Killed DemonsNext week author Dave Zeltserman is heading to the New York Comic Con with The Overlook Press in support of his soon-to-be-released The Boy Who Killed Demons, but before he faces the masses in the Big Apple, he spent a few minutes chatting with Dread Central about the book.

Dread Central: The Boy Who Killed Demons has a teenage protagonist.  Would you say, then, that the book is geared toward teens or more so the adult crowd?  Or a bit of both?

Dave Zeltserman: I’d say both. Demons is a heroic and straightforward story of a 15-year-old boy who must find a way to stop demons from destroying the world and should appeal to all readers. It’s not as graphic and violent as some of my adult novels, but otherwise I didn’t make any other concessions to write this as a YA novel, and I think adult readers will enjoy this one every bit as much as my previous novels, if not more. My protagonist, Henry, is a smart, resourceful, and I believe honestly written character whom both teen and adult readers will identify with and root for.

DC: How are the adults treated in the tale?  Are they involved in Henry’s world or more on the sidelines?  Does he have anyone mentoring his demon hunting?

DZ: Henry is all alone in his fight against the demons, and he needs to keep this fight hidden from his parents and everyone else, including a neighbor down the street who’s one of the demons.

DC: The book’s synopsis mentions Henry’s alienation from his parents, friends, teachers, etc.  That seems to be a fairly common occurrence among teens, but no doubt in Henry’s case it’s even more extreme than usual.  Can you talk about how you incorporated this theme into the book?

DZ: Henry knows that if his parents find out he sees demons, they’ll have him loaded up on psychiatric drugs, and there will be no one left to stop the demons. There’s a lot of stress between him and his parents as they can’t understand how their well-adjusted, outgoing son has become a sullen loner. Henry also knows that if the demons ever discover he can see them, he’ll be dead soon afterwards. His having to fight them in secrecy takes a toll, and he has to sacrifice so much of not only a normal teen existence, but his life, including a budding romance, to save the world.

DC: As for the ancient texts that Henry studies in the course of his research on the supernatural, did you use actual, existing writings, or did you create your own for the book?

DZ: I created my own. There were really two texts—an eighteenth century German text that Henry has to translate (for a good part of the text he thinks the author was a quack) and a rumored seventeenth century text, L’Occulto Illuminato, which only a handful of people know about. Henry has to go to great lengths to get a copy of L’Occulto Illuminato, including betraying a close friend.

DC: Without spoiling too much, what can you tell us about the “demons” of the title?  Is there a variety of them, or are they mostly similar?  How detailed are the descriptions of them in the book?

DZ: A description of the demons is given on the first page of the novel so I’m not giving anything away. The demons are described in explicit detail, and they’re similar and with a singular purpose. Outside of Henry, and perhaps a handful of other people, everyone else is fooled into thinking these demons are normal, everyday people. The gift Henry has is sort of like the gift Roddy Piper has in They Live, except Henry doesn’t need special glasses to see the demons for what they are.

DC: The Boy Who Killed Demons was written in diary form.  What motivated you to select that format for this particular tale, and did it create any particular challenges for you, or did it perhaps make things easier since you could write more in the “train of thought” format?

DZ: The journal form seemed the most natural way to write this book, and it allowed me to mix standard first-person narrative with Henry’s musings and rants while being able to be more playful with it. It also allowed a more natural way to parcel out Henry’s journey. I don’t know if I’ll ever write another book in journal form, but the form worked nicely with Demons.

DC: You’ve written noir, mystery, and horror novels.  Do you have a preference, and is there a difference in how you approach each genre?

DZ: When I started out writing, I thought of myself as a noir writer, but the simple fact is most of the great classic noir writers, like Jim Thompson, Gil Brewer, Dan Marlowe, died broke. While I love reading the dark journeys that noir novels can take you on, most readers want someone somewhat likable to root for and don’t want to follow a vicious, borderline-sociopathic character on a one-way ticket to hell. And most publishers will not publish true noir. I feel very fortunate that the London publisher Serpent’s Tail published my first four noir novels, but after that it was time to move on and find other types of books that I wanted to write. Whether it’s noir, horror, or something else, I approach all my books the same way—getting into the heads of my characters and living the book in my mind as I write it.

DC: What are your horror influences?  Favorite authors, films, etc.?

DZ: When I was a kid, I was heavily into Lovecraft, and read everything of his I could find, and there’s some Lovecraft influence in Demons, although the writing style is very different. My favorite horror novel is I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. An absolutely brilliant novel. Shelley’s Frankenstein is another favorite. It can be a tough go through the first half, but once you get to the monster’s story, it’s spellbinding. After I wrote Monster, I went on a kick of reading other Frankenstein retellings, and I thought Peter Ackroyd’s The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein was superb and found it fascinating the directions he took it.

My favorite horror films are two from John Carpenter: They Live and The Thing. Also George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead—it may be low budget, but it’s still one of the creepiest movies out there. Others are Psycho, The Birds, The Howling, Fright Night (original), The Exorcist, Child’s Play, 13 Tzameti, and the recent The Cabin in the Woods. Also, as a kid I could not get enough of “The Twilight Zone” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”; quite a few of those episodes have stayed with me over the years.

DC: Lastly, now that The Boy Who Killed Demons is being released, what’s next for you?  Any upcoming projects you can share with us?

DZ: I’m in the process of putting together a Julius Katz Collection that I’ll be publishing as a paperback and ebook. This will be made up of the first six Julius Katz mystery stories that were originally published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine plus a new and previously unpublished long novella. These stories are the polar opposite of my noir novels—very lighthearted and charming—and have so far won a Shamus, Derringer, and two Ellery Queen Readers Choice Awards. I’ve also just finished a noirish PI in hell novel that I’m very fond of and will be looking to get that published. And I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one of my film deals goes into production next year.

Look for Dave Zeltserman’s The Boy Who Killed Demons on October 16th from The Overlook Press.  The 2014 New York Comic Con runs October 9th-12th. You can visit Dave in Booth #128 on Friday, October 10th, from 1:00-4:00 pm ET.

Our thanks to Dave for his time and to Kait Heacock at Overlook for setting up the interview.

Synopsis:
“My name’s Henry Dudlow. I’m fifteen and a half. And I’m cursed. Or damned. Take your pick. The reason? I see demons.”

The setting is quiet Newton, Massachussetts, where nothing ever happens. Nothing, that is, until two months after Henry Dudlow’s 13th birthday, when his neighbor, Mr. Hanley, suddenly starts to look… different. While everyone else sees a balding man with a beer belly, Henry suddenly sees a nasty, bilious, rage-filled demon.

Once Henry catches on to the real Mr. Hanley, he starts to see demons all around him, and his boring, adolescent life is transformed. There’s no more time for friends or sports or the lovely Sally Freeman; instead Henry must work his way through ancient texts and hunt down the demons before they steal any more innocent children. And if hunting demons is hard at any age, it’s borderline impossible when your parents are on your case, your grades are getting worse, and you can’t tell anyone about your chosen mission.

The Boy Who Killed Demons

Get this site 100% Ad Free Support Us on Patreon!
Continue Reading
Comments

News

Blumhouse’s New Halloween Will Change The Original Film’s Ending (Slightly)

Published

on

As you can imagine, one of the films all of us here at Dread Central are looking forward to the most is Blumhouse’s upcoming sequel to John Carpenter’s Halloween.

The new film is co-written by Danny McBride (as strange as that may sound) and David Gordon Green and will be directed by Green.

Speaking of Kenny Powers himself, Danny McBride, the actor was recently out and about promoting the new season of HBO’s “Vice Principals” and dropped some new insights into Halloween (2018).

“We’re kind of ignoring all the films past the first one,” McBride told Yahoo! “It picks up after the first one, but it’s sort of an alternate reality. It’s as if the first Halloween ended in a slightly different way.”

Really? Interesting… But what about the new film’s tone? Should we be scared, Danny?

“I think you should be very scared,” McBride says. “I mean, this isn’t a comedy at all. I think there was, like, maybe one joke on the page, but the rest is straight horror. So hopefully it gets in people’s heads and keeps them up late at night.”

Sounds good to us!

McBride then talked a bit about how original Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis came back into the fold for this new installment.

“I think everyone was kind of on the mindset of it’d be a grab to get her, but no one really knew if we would be able to,” McBride said. “So Dave and I just busted our ass on this script to really make that Laurie Strode character something she wouldn’t be able to say no to. When we finished the script, we sent it to her, and she said she was in. So we just flipped out. We were over the moon about her involvement.”

And finally, Kenny Powers spoke a bit about the huge pressures that are on him and his collaborator David Gordon Green with taking on such a beloved series.

“I just hope that we don’t f*** it up and piss people off,” he said. “This is such a diehard fan base. You don’t want horror fans being your enemies because they show up at your house with masks on. We are diehard fans of Halloween. We’re watching all the sequels and where things have taken left turns here and there that maybe bites for fans, and at least trying to deliver what we would have wanted to see. Hopefully, that will line up with most fans.”

What do you think of McBride’s new comments regarding Blumhouse’s Halloween? Do they make you more (or less) excited to check out the new installent?

Make sure to hit us up and let us know in the comments below or on social media!

Halloween (2018) is written by Danny McBride and David Gordon Green with Green directing. Creator and original director John Carpenter will be acting as executive producer on the new film with franchise regular Malek Akkad producing.

Look for the next Halloween film worldwide on October 19, 2018.

Synopsis:
Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

Get this site 100% Ad Free Support Us on Patreon!
Continue Reading

News

Exclusive: This Nails Clip Proves Dingy Hospitals Will Always Be Creepy

Published

on

Today sees the VOD release of Dark Sky Films’ Nails, the directorial debut of screenwriter and Cinelicious Pics Head of Distribution Dennis Bartok. Following the story of a woman who goes through a near-death car accident only to find herself paralyzed and trapped in her own body. She then becomes convinced that a strange and malevolent entity that she dubs “Nails” is set on destroying her marriage, her family, and, ultimately, her life.

To celebrate the release of the film, we’ve got an exclusive clip that you can watch below. In it, Leah McNamara’s Gemma is walking through the bowels of a hospital when she stumbles across a bed with a working gas mask. When an alarm suddenly goes off, she jumps in surprise, knocking over a nearby tray, spilling sharp instruments across the floor. It’s while she attempts to clean the mess that Nails makes an appearance…

Nails also stars Shauna McDonald, Ross Noble, Steve Wall, and Charlotte Bradley. You can watch the film on iTunes.

Get this site 100% Ad Free Support Us on Patreon!
Continue Reading

News

Are You Afraid of the Dark? Film Will Be Dark and Scary

Published

on

I don’t know about you guys, but I am a huge fan of Nickelodeon’s 90’s kid’s horror anthology “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”. I even own the entire series on DVD with some of my favorite episodes being “Laughing the Dark” and “Dead Man’s Float”.

It is with this in mind, we are excited as hell to pass along the news that the classic series will be making it’s way to the big screen in the near future!

Gary Dauberman the screenwriter behind such recent horror hits as IT, Annabelle: Creation and The Nun has been tasked with penning the script for the new feature film.

“The show is about the shared experience of telling stories — especially scary ones,” Dauberman told THR. “We’re going to celebrate that with this movie and honor the darker, scarier tone of the show, which was really groundbreaking for Nickelodeon at the time. I hope the Midnight Society approves.”

The flick will be hitting us via producer Matt Kaplan (The Darkness) and Paramount’s new division Paramount Players. Which is headed by Brian Robbins (Varsity Blues) and will work with Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, and BET to generate projects.

Did you watch “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” as a kid on Snick? What’re your favorite episodes? Make sure to let us know in the comments below or on social media!

We will let you know as soon as we hear more on Are You Afraid of the Dark? so stay tuned! Until then, you can buy the entire series on DVD starting right HERE!

Synopsis:

This spooky anthology series for kids recounts ghost stories told by the young members of the Midnight Society as they gather around a campfire. Each episode opens with members of the Midnight Society at their secret spot in the woods, where they prepare their fire and the night’s storyteller announces the title of his or her offering. However, the cameras soon leave the storyteller and switch to the tale being told.

Get this site 100% Ad Free Support Us on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Go Ad Free!

Support Dread Central on Patreon!

Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

* indicates required

From Around the Web

Trending