During a FANGORIA RADIO chat recently, THE MIST FX chief Greg Nicotero told listeners that he’s ready to follow in the footsteps of former KNB partner Robert (BURIED ALIVE) Kurtzman and segue into directing. “Since I have been directing 2nd unit for some time know, I’ve had the opportunity to work next to the likes of George Romero [LAND OF THE DEAD] and Frank Darabont [THE MIST] and feel this is something I would like to do,” Nicotero said. “I haven’t ventured into this so far because I’ve never split my focus from KNB. Howard and I always put the company first over all these years, and will continue to do so.” Nicotero has been circling several projects to make his directorial debut on; these possible movies include:
• THE DRIVE-IN: Based on BUBBA HO-TEP author Joe R. Lansdale’s wild 1989 horror/sci-fi novel (subtitled A B-MOVIE WITH BLOOD AND POPCORN) about people at an all-night horror-movie marathon trapped in the titular Texas locale by meteor-riding aliens. The survivors are forced to fend off starvation, monsters, dinosaurs and assorted freaks. “Everybody loves that book,” Nicotero said. “Lansdale wants to write the first draft, and [well-known genre consultant/publicist] Jeff Walker is producing it. The story has themes in common with THE MIST.”
• OBSEQUY: From the David J. Schow story, featured in 2006’s HAVOC SWIMS JADED collection. This is a darkly funny zombie tale of how one’s dead-end life can be perfect preparation for life as the undead. Nicotero and Schow have been pals for years, dating back to KNB’s stint creating the FX on the Schow-scripted LEATHERFACE: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III.
• MYTHOS: The story of how a geologist, Dr. Andrea Hunley, accidentally unearths a legendary relic known as the Head of Echidna. Unbeknownst to her, it contains the means to resurrect mythological creatures: the Hydra, the Gorgon, the Chimera, the Cyclops and two Harpies. An underground secret society steals the statue and releases the creatures into an unsuspecting contemporary Italy. After conventional weapons have no affect on the monsters, it is revealed that only the descendants of the original Greek gods that defeated the beasts can kill them. A team is hastily assembled consisting of the direct blood descendants of Ulysses, Perseus and Hercules, none of whom are trained warriors. As they rush onward to meet the challenge, none of them realize the far-reaching goals of their enemy and how each of them is a part of a larger intrigue. This large-scale creature fest was scripted by KNB FX artist Shannon Shea, who has worked on such films as THE REAPING, JURASSIC PARK and TERMINATOR 2, as well as MASTERS OF HORROR.
“MYTHOS appeals to me because it’s a cross between a Ray Harryhausen film and DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, with some great backstory added into the mix,” Nicotero said. “Not to mention the fact that Shannon Shea’s script is amazing, very visual…one of those scripts where you can see everything on the page very clearly. Between MYTHOS and Landsale’s THE DRIVE-IN, I feel like we have a lot to say in elevating the genre.”
While sorting out his prospects, Nicotero and KNB partner Howard Berger have enough to keep their shop busy. They’ve recently wrapped Alexandre (HILLS HAVE EYES) Aja’s MIRRORS (with Aja’s PIRANHA remake waiting in the wings), PRINCE CASPIAN (the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA sequel), DIARY OF THE DEAD (with another Romero DEAD film gearing up for spring 2008) and D.J. (DISTURBIA) Caruso’s new film EAGLE EYE. The duo is also eager to begin work on FEAR ITSELF, the network-transformed third season of MASTERS OF HORROR. “Luckily, most of the scripts made it in before the writers’ strike,” Nicotero said. “I’m especially excited about one Steve Niles wrote.” The 30 DAYS OF NIGHT creator has adapted Fango contributor Paul Kane’s zombie short story “Dead Time” into a teleplay retitled NEW YEAR’S DAY. “KNB will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2008, and we have been busier than ever,” Nicotero said.