After conquering the comic-book field with an unending stream of horrific graphic novels (ALEISTER ARCANE, REMAINS, CRIMINAL MACABRE), writer Steve Niles is now poised to make a major splash on the big screen. Niles tells Fango that this spring, he will be producing an offbeat serial-killer thriller called THE TRIPPER, as well as co-writing (with Rob Zombie) a movie adaptation of his BIGFOOT comic for Rogue Pictures. These projects join the previous Niles comics-to-films-optioned 30 DAYS OF NIGHT (now gearing up under HARD CANDY director David Slade), WAKE THE DEAD (in limbo due to the Miramax/Weinstein breakup) and the CAL McDONALD movie (another question mark due to MGM’s acquisition by Sony). Last year, Niles joined forces with actor Thomas (THE PUNISHER) Jane to form Raw Entertainment, a company with a major slate of genre films in development including THE LURKERS (based on Niles’ comic, set to star Jane as a detective mixed up with the supernatural); IN THE BLOOD (a werewolf film set in a small town); BAD PLANET (Earth invaded by alien spiders) and THE DARK COUNTRY (a suspense thriller).
THE TRIPPER will be Raw’s first cinematic effort to begin rolling, with actor David (RIDING THE BULLET) Arquette making his directorial debut. The film, to be shot this spring in California’s scenic Santa Cruz, is set at a “freedom festival,” where a maniac begins knocking off the participants. Jane will co-star as a detective on the case. “I’m usually not attracted to the typical slasher films, except for the classics like HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH, PSYCHO and TEXAS CHAINSAW, so what drew me to THE TRIPPER was David’s take on the genre,” Niles says of the script written by Arquette and Joe (DARKNESS FALLS) Harris. “It’s political without pounding you over the head, and has a great blend of horror and humor. Oh, and it’s bloody. Very bloody. That attracted me too.”
Meanwhile, Rogue Pictures has optioned Niles and Zombie’s BIGFOOT, which IDW (Niles’ main outfit) published last fall. The serious comic yarn features a rampaging, bloodthirsty Sasquatch and spectacular artwork by Richard (HEAVY METAL) Corben. Niles has yearned to do a frightening Bigfoot movie ever since old TV commercials for THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK gave him nightmares as a child. The screenwriters will use the graphic novel as a skeleton to build the feature film version and expand upon its themes. “The whole reason Rob and I created the BIGFOOT comic, and now the film, is to undo the damage done by movies like HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS that made Bigfoot a silly character,” Niles says. “I’ve always found the idea of Bigfoot to be scary. I hope the film reflects that.”
For more on Niles’ busy lineup, see his official website at www.steveniles.com and explore IDW’s jam-packed genre catalog at www.idwpublishing.com. The writer will provide more scoops at the West Coast edition of FANGORIA’s Weekend of Horrors convention, June 2-4, 2006 at the Burbank Airport Hilton. See www.creationent.com for more info.