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Web Stalker – For Comic Book Author Steve Niles, Horror Is More Than a Passing Fad

It must be pretty confusing to be Steve Niles: The comic book author who gave us 30 Days of Night has more projects and properties flying around than he can keep track of himself. When told that Dark Horse Comics hinted about a pending film announcement, he blanks as to what it’s in reference to. “Honestly I’m doing so much stuff for Dark Horse that I’m not sure what the hell they’re talking about,” he says.

So for the horror fans that have been keeping track, here’s what Niles can talk about:

The 30 Days sequel everyone’s counting on? “Right now the
problem is the budget,” says Niles. “They’ve offered me the
chance to write it, and even co-direct; we’ve got all the same players
involved as before, now we’re just trying to make the deal.” However it
goes down, Niles is eager to get to work. “Theatrical or
straight-to-dvd I’d be interested — depending on the budget and the
cast. If we do a sequel we’d have to at least get Melissa George.”

What about the adaptation of Wake the Dead? “It’s basically a loose retelling of Frankenstein,” Niles explains. “We tried to get it made before and it just didn’t happen, and now Jay Russell (The Water Horse)
has got it off the ground. All of a sudden this project I thought was
completely dead is alive again — which is really fitting for a
Frankenstein project.” And Niles likes being more hands on: “Before I was just selling off
properties and I didn’t really have much to do with getting the stuff
made into a movie,” he says. “Now I’m working
with directors, working with talent, trying to get it directly to the
screen.”

There’s also talk of a new John Carpenter film in the works. “I’m
starting a script for him right now. I
think they’ll be announcing it very soon…” he mentions. “They’ll
announce the studio and the title… it’s based on an old comic — one
that I didn’t write!” (There’s some speculation that it’s an adaptation of Scott Hampton’s Spookhouse.)

He’s not so busy that he doesn’t know a fake-out when he sees one, however. I ask Niles about a screenplay listed on his Wikipedia page
that completely baffles him. “That’s the strangest thing I’ve ever
heard! I don’t even know what that is, and I don’t know who any of
these people are,” he laughs as we delete the erroneous mention. The
Internet can make it very difficult to maintain
professional distinctions, Niles says. “Anybody is primed to be a
victim. That’s why I don’t read reviews anymore. You
can’t! There’s no criteria for what a review is. You pick up a review
and it’s just someone who decided that day that he hates your guts. I
read something on a website I check out regularly… there was a guy
who wrote a whole paragraph about how he’d never read my stuff, but
that he heard I had a bad reputation. That’s pretty much a non-article,
isn’t it? That’s the nature of things now — anyone who can type can
post their opinions online.”

It wasn’t always like this, he continues: “I’ve been of doing this
stuff twenty-odd years… before, nobody got a lot of attention. They
used to run our comic book covers in articles, but now they run our
photos!” This makes big events like Comic-Con an adventure. “I get recognized, but the people that stop me
aren’t the ones that freak me out — I think it’s really cool, and
often wind up talking to them a little while. What’s weird is walking
through the crowd and hearing my name somewhere off in the distance… that’s
strange! To actually have people recognize you is very surreal, but I’m
not going to knock it, because I actually get to talk to people who buy
my books and read my stuff. I welcome as much contact from them as I
can get.”

No matter what news Dark Horse is holding over our heads, Niles is
determined to bring more enduring (and less predictable) films to the
genre. “I wish there was more of a range. We get occasional big-studio
horror, which they inevitably decide to make PG-13; or you’ve got the
independent-spirited stuff, but it’s got totally over-the-top
violence,” he says. But make no mistake, “I’m always happy making
horror movies,” he adds,” even if people talk say horror’s just a fad.
I’ve heard horror died at least six times in the last year,” comments Niles. “It dies for exactly as long as it takes to make another movie!”

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