Steve Niles interview (August 2007)

August 22, 2007 | Interviews

Steve Niles, writer of 30 Days Of Night. Photo by Tim Bradstreet.

Steve Niles is surprisingly cheerful for a man with blood slowly dripping out of his arm.
The acclaimed horror novelist and comic book scribe is such a busy man these days he even has to double up his newspaper interviews with his medical appointments (he’s healthy as a horse, by the way).
The biggest thing on the 42-year-old’s plate — ahead of writing Criminal Macabre for Dark Horse Comics, Bad Planet for Image Comics and the highly anticipated new book, Simon Dark, for DC Comics — is the impending release of the film 30 Days Of Night, based on a comic book, and screenplay, by Niles.
“I really is just the thrill of my life,” he says of the film.
“[Producer] Sam Raimi and [director] David Slade did more than justice to the comic. It’s faithful to the comic and it’s a really solid horror movie.”
The appeal of the story — which revolves around a group of people trying to survive after vampires invade an Alaskan town where the sun goes down for one month — comes from a different take on its villains, according to the creator.
“[Films like] Underworld and Blade have really humanized vampires and made them action heroes, while [novelist] Anne Rice has made them sympathetic romance characters and what we really set out to do in 30 Days Of Night is to make vampires scary again,” Niles says.
“We stripped away all that humanity and just made it so all they see when they look at a human is food — nothing more.”
Having the film arrive in theatres in October is also a strange twist of fate, according to the writer.
“I pitched it around when I got to Hollywood about 10 or 11 years ago and got no’s across the board,” says Niles, who’ll be a guest at this weekend’s Rue Morgue Festival of Fear ( as part of Fan Expo Canada at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
“Then when [publisher] IDW started, my friend Ted Adams called at said ‘Well, we really can’t pay any money, but if you have any ideas for comics, let me know.’ I literally just sent him my failed movie pitch list and he called back and said ‘Hey, this one about vampires in Alaska looks pretty good.’”
Things heated up quickly after the comic, drawn by gifted Australian artist Ben Templesmith, began to take shape, Niles says.
“We started doing the comic and the day the ad came out we started getting calls from the studios — from the very same people who had turned it down,” he says with a laugh.
Back on the comic book front, Niles said he’s very excited about the upcoming release of Simon Dark, which features a creator-owned character that resides in DC Comics’ infamous Gotham City
“It’s a take on the Frankenstein mythology,” Niles explains. “It’s a boy who’s only 17-years-old who’s living in a burned-out church and doesn’t know who he is — all he knows is that he’s made up of other people.
“The story is about him finding out who he is, who made him and what this world is that he’s been introduced to.”
• 30 Days Of Night arrives in theatres on Oct. 19, but a live-action prequel written by Niles called 30 Days Of Night: Blood Trails will begin on in September.

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