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Quint interviews David Slade about vampires, gore and 30 DAYS OF NIGHT!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I’ve only got a few more interviews from Comic-Con left. Pretty crazy how many I did that it’s now 3 weeks after the end of the con and I still have stuff for you guys. Look for my last few to hit by Friday. Here is my chat with David Slade about 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, his vampire flick. It’s an adaptation of Steve Niles’ incredibly successful series of comics and graphic novels. I have a small connection to this film, a cameo even if I never once set foot on the set. But you’ll find out more below. We talk a bit about Slade’s first film, HARD CANDY, which we gave a lot of love to here at AICN, but mostly we focus on his thoughts on this upcoming horror flick. I really enjoyed this one and think you will, too. Kraken was taking pictures for me during the Con and grabbed this one just as Slade sat down. Enjoy!

Kraken: Oh, yeah. There we go. I think that’s the only one I need!

David Slade: I generally open my mouth when someone points a camera at me... I’m fried first of all, so I’ll apologize if my speech slurs, because we’ve been at it since nine this morning.

Quint: We’ll sound very similar, because I’ve been jumping around a lot, too. Comic-Con is probably the busiest time of my life.

David Slade: Of course it is, yeah yeah. It’s my first time, so I’m… like sensory overload.

Quint: Have you been on the floor?

David Slade: I’ve been on Gentle Giant and IDW’s panels, signing posters and stuff, so… I’ve been on the floor, but I haven’t actually been able to move around the floor, but you know.

Quint: I believe I have a cameo in your movie.

David Slade: Tell me about this.

Quint: I was in New Zealand last year and some of my friends at Weta… they told me that they required a decapitated head for your film…

David Slade: Right.

Quint: …so they had me shave and they had me go like this… (I roll my eyes up and droop my lip down, making a dead face)

David Slade: Oh, you’re that head? I recognize your decapitated head now.

Quint: You recognize my head?

David Slade: I’m afraid it’s not in a close-up, but it is in scenes.

Quint: If I can see it, that’s all I need.

David Slade: Well it’s…

Quint: Yeah, where am I so I know where to look?

David Slade: OK, day one, there’s a massive carnage sequence and in that carnage sequence you’re probably in it for *snaps fingers* that much time.

Quint: If I can see it, that’s all that matters.

David Slade: If I had known the history, I would have made sure we got a close-up of it. I remember seeing it and going like “Wow, look at that, that looks great.” There was another one that looked exactly like Alanis Morisette that was there. This Alanis, which we posed her in various positions on the floor… At one point I literally had one hand in a pocket and the other one and the other one with a cigarette.

Quint: So the footage…

David Slade: Were you able to see the stuff in the hall?

Quint: Yeah, I’ve been going up and down from different interviews and stuff all day, but I was sitting in the back, so I got to watch the footage yeah. So obviously there’s no worry about it being toned down.

David Slade: No, really there isn’t. We were afraid that we weren’t going to get our R certificate and we actually put a little more gore in it, more than we wanted actually, so that we could take something out and they passed it, so we have to resubmit it I believe with a little bit of gore taken out.

Quint: Oh, because you want less gore…

David Slade: It’s something minor that you wouldn’t even notice, but you know. It’s definitely not a PG-13 film. In fact actually, at the very beginning of this film, when I took this film on… because of my concerns over doing a studio film, since obviously my first film was an independent film… completely independent… we independently financed with no studio pressure whatsoever… I actually had them write the R rating into my contract, so that there was no fear ever of anyone saying, “Hey, you can’t…” you know, because these actors had blood all over there faces. We are actually having problems with publicity photos, because you can’t just let pictures of blood go out on the internet completely uncensored.

Quint: Yeah, I’ve noticed that they’re doing lots of age-gates now online, where you release a red band trailer, you release a certain…

David Slade: Yeah, it’s all about red-band at the moment.

Quint:… any kind of footage, you have to go through and verify your age…

David Slade: You look at the graphic novel and it’s like imagine that as PG-13, it’d be like twenty minutes long.

Quint: You could add some rainbows or something into it maybe.

David Slade: Yeah, so no it is definitely an R rated film. It was definitely always going to be scary horror. It was my ambition always to do a scary vampire film, because vampire films usually fall into the category of fantasy and no, we wanted this to be vicious, brutal, but in the 80s… 70s/80s tradition of classically made horror movies, not in the kind of more contemporary kind of like “show everything” gore, though there is a lot of violence in gore, it’s character driven, weirdly enough, character driven gore, but you understand that when you see it, but it’s a very difficult thing to explain.

Quint: I was going to bring that up, because HARD CANDY is such a character movie, it could almost be a play, you know? It’s very much about characters hiding things from each other, the psychological warfare, so I was wondering since you made the jump from that to this, if you would make sure to focus on the character work…

David Slade: Absolutely. We did a lot of rehearsal work. The character work… Listen, at the end of the day, it’s a horror film, I’m not going to make it sound anymore highfalutin than a horror film. I can talk about Danny Huston’s motivation and all the stuff we did in rehearsals, which has tremendous depth to it, but at the same time I’m not going to tell you it’s some art house movie, because it’s a horror film with tons of action in it, but it’s got great character material in it, too. I mean, I wouldn’t get Danny Huston. I wouldn’t get Ben Foster. I wouldn’t get Josh Hartnett… I wouldn’t get those actors had it been a slasher movie or anything other than something with great character and I believe those films can survive in the studio system. I mean God, look at Christopher Nolan’s BATMAN, which I think is a great character movie, but its full of action and it’s full of everything else and I’m mad to see his new film, but I think it just takes someone willing to fight to get that and make that. Films are often plot driven, action driven, they have to be character driven, you know, even if they are horror movies at the end of the day, so that’s what we strove for.

Quint: Well, do you realize now that all the HARD CANDY people have successfully moved into the comic book world now? Ellen (Page)’s in X-MEN. Patrick (Wilson)’s now in WATCHMAN and you went on to do a Steve Niles book.

David Slade: It’s true and Brian Nelson wrote the shooting drafts for this, so that’s everyone yeah, absolutely. Yeah, is Patrick definitely confirmed as NIGHT OWL?

Quint: Yes, yeah they confirmed him on the panel.

David Slade: I was at a meeting at Warner Brothers and they definitely wanted him, but they were still messing around with his deal, but I’m glad. Patrick is brilliant.

Quint: Yeah, he’s great and it really wasn’t until HARD CANDY that I really kind of gave him credit, because you know, I had only seen a couple of the studio things he had done, but HARD CANDY is where I saw it. I’ve never met him, but we have a few mutual friends and they were always telling be how great he was and I had probably only seen PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and THE ALAMO…

David Slade: Yeah yeah, which is not his best work, but it’s…

Quint: Then I see HARD CANDY… that’s a hard role to pull off. That’s a really hard role.

David Slade: That is a hard role. It was a hard role to cast and you know, I saw a lot of people for it and a lot of famous people wanted to do that role and he wasn’t as famous as some of the other people and there were some. There was some producer pressure to try to cast someone more famous, but I just convinced them that Patrick was going to be famous, the same way that we said about Ellen and finally enough she was. She went on to become Kitty Pryde and he went on to great success afterwards too. He was phenomenal to work with and they both were. He’s just a dedicated actor… I mean Jesus… the shit he put himself through, and he put himself through it, he was voluntary about everything we did. We said what we would want to do and he did everything and he was happy to. He passed out in the middle of a take at one point and I was like… I was looking around at everybody and I was about to say cut and he goes “oh…”

Quint: Was that during the castration scene?

David Slade: That was during the struggle scene, when he tried to struggle himself off of the table when he’s trying to get to the cell phone… anyways 30 DAYS OF NIGHT.

Quint: Yeah 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, vampires and blood and gore.

David Slade: Lots of blood and lots of vampires, yes.

Quint: I love that you’re keeping a lot of the visuals from the book. I love that you’re not cutting down on the vampire’s design, the fangs… that’s one of the great things from the book is that distinctive vampire look.

David Slade: We do our best. Yeah, their shark’s teeth … You know one of the things and I don’t know if they said it on stage or whatever, but its you know, what I said with Sam (Raimi) and Rob Tapert was that really… I wanted to keep the vampire look, because I felt that if I could do that in reality, it would be, for this generation, kind of the same effect in terms of “never seen that before,” if it looked physical and real and didn’t look like a special effect as like Max Shrek in NOSFERATU. That’s what I was after, people who’s faces where so bizarre, but subtly bizarre, that they were terrifying and you weren’t thinking “Oh look, it’s a monster. I’m not scared anymore because I’ve seen videogame monsters,” and it wasn’t CGI, because everybody plays videogames, they’re not scared of videogame monsters anymore, but that was something that hit home, something that could be a deformed guy, it could be something strange and be real. It had to be real and this was the thing about the schism of this was really this whole loving Ben (Templesmith)’s work, but then needing desperately to set it in a real recognizable world with some kind of gritty reality to it and so I think we’ve managed to find that, to find that edge, to keep it as rough and as tough as gritty and real as humanly possible, so it’s terrifying, yet at the same time you can play absolute tribute and views from such fantastic material that Ben gave us to work with to begin with… and Steve, with his fantastic writing. Steve wrote the passage, you know, essentially which we don’t even need anymore in the film, but just the idea that these are the vampires… these are what vampires are. The myth is Ann Rice and all of those fantastically wonderful fantasy films, but this is reality, so it can be anything you want it to be and it can be vicious and nasty and nihilistic and with great hatred for humanity.

Quint: So what’s next? Do you have anything lined up after…

David Slade: A bunch of stuff, like I don’t know yet.

Quint: Do you want to keep doing genre stuff, or do you want…

David Slade: I want to do something I’ve never done before. And something that is fantastic, like work with fantastic actors where at the end of the day I can…

Quint: A pirate musical?

David Slade: Sorry?

Quint: A pirate musical.

David Slade: The spaghetti monster musical could be down the line, yeah, with pirates.

Quint: With pirates… and leprechauns…

David Slade: Leprechauns… Flying spaghetti monster movie was a possibility, but I think I turned that down. You know I’ve been up for a lot of films that are huge and massive and I don’t know, there’s a bunch of stuff kind of floating around. I’m looking to work with fantastic people, I want a fantastic piece of writing basically at the end of the day. It will probably be like nothing I’ve ever done before and that could mean anything and because of the range of films that we’re taking incredibly seriously right now, because they’re all so different I don’t even want to hint at it, because I’ve been at work on three films while finishing off this film, that I’ve just ended up having to stop work because of the schedule, because I have to do this. I have to follow this all the way to the end. I can not just stop and then move on.

Quint: Well, when is the release?

David Slade: October 19th.

Quint: Finally a horror movie coming out in October.

David Slade: Yes, you would that would be… yeah October 19th… besides SAW, which comes out two weeks later. October 19th… I flyi back to New Zealand tomorrow to work with Weta on the effects work and doing the sound mix and the grading, so I have about a month and a half left in the service of vampires now. It’s been nearly two years in the service of vampires, both on and off screen and it’s finally coming to an end.

Quint: I can’t wait to see it.

David Slade: Thank you. Thank you for being so kind.

Quint: No, thanks for taking the time to talk to us, we really appreciate it.

David Slade: Your site’s been really good to us.

Hope you dug it. Slade talks the talk and if HARD CANDY is anything to go by, he also walks the walk. I’m really anxious to see this flick if only for Danny Huston’s portrayal of a royally pissed off fanged man. Be back soon with more goodies! Stay tuned! -Quint

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 16, 2007, 7:59 a.m. CST

    First Fuckers!

    by Dr. Frankenstein

    yeah baby!

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 8:11 a.m. CST

    Can't Wait

    by calnorso

    I like that he went for the hard R-rating, and its about time we got a GOOD vampire flick

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 8:14 a.m. CST

    I like David Slade

    by Darth Kong

    He's changed a lot since TOMMY BOY and JUST SHOOT ME though hasn't he?

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Hard Candy is incredible

    by DirkD13"

    Can't wait to see what Slade does with this.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Again - copy editing, anyone??

    by Steve Rogers

    "I had them right it into my contract" - Come on Quint. "And like so no it was..." seriously dude, we don't need to have syllable, pause and dropped word reproduced verbatim from your tape recorder. The shit is fucking horrible to read. Just crop that stuff out.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 8:37 a.m. CST


    by Duncan Irons

    I was about to rant about why Quint didn't ask him about Gaiman's Neverwhere when i realized that this interview was made at the con... damn....

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Enough of Vampires

    by TheBloop

    When are Chupacabra going get their own movie? Sci Fi Channels Dark Seas doesn't count. WE WANT THE GOAR SUCKERS!!!

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 9:03 a.m. CST

    Any body count how many times . . .

    by Nice Marmot

    . . . these 2 interrupted each other?

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 9:04 a.m. CST


    by Quint

    Lotta talkbackers are cranky this morning... Sorry you couldn't read the interview (notice a lack of quotes because whether you want to believe it or not, I did sit down and ask questions that were answered by another person) because 5% of it was about my head appearing in his movie somewhere.<BR><BR>Damn, I'm cranky, too. Time to get some sleep...

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 9:08 a.m. CST


    by jimmy rabbitte

    Slade = silly two-hit wonder band, whose biggest claim to fame is that Quiet Riot covered a couple of their songs.<p> Spade(,David) = Saturday Night Live alumnus/ co-star to Chris Farley in Tommy Boy, etc.../ Dennis on "Just Shoot Me." Not to mention a close, personal friend of Heather Locklear...<p> To sum up...<p> Slade: wrote tunes<p> Spade: wrote jokes.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 9:16 a.m. CST

    Lucky Thirteenth!

    by spud mcspud

    I'm cluthcing at straws here...<P> Movie looks awesome.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 9:19 a.m. CST

    Chupacrabras = Critters

    by spud mcspud

    Chupa 1: They have weapons.<P> Chupa 2: So what?<P> Chupa 1 gets blown the fuck away.<P> Chupa 2: FUCK!<P> Chupa 2 rolls for his little furry life.<P> Sorry TheBloop, they already made it. Four times. With Leo DiCaprio. Now we need a Skinwlaker Ranch movie.<P> David Slade makes hardcore horror, it seems. Can we get him for a remake of a GOOD Carpenter flick now? How about CHRISTINE?<P> REALLY looking forward to 30 DAYS too. That's a great trailer.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Flying Spaghetti Monster musical = teh awesome

    by Tubbs Tattsyrup

    I want.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Excited about this...*giggles like school girl*

    by redfist

    I want this movie to be the bad ass! I love the novel and the trailer.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Quint that was great..

    by dr sauch

    how you stopped him from cutting you off with the point-blank "pirate musical". He didn't cut you off after that. Seriously though, Slade is great and Josh Hartnett is underrated and I can't wait for this.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 9:39 a.m. CST

    Deformed vampires?

    by Abin Sur

    I dig the idea myself...making them a cross between a shark and a retard is BRILLIANT.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Steve Niles sucks.

    by Mosquito March

    And I'm not talking about blood.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Everything about this sounds great.

    by Wilclas

    So as the vampire design. Can´t wait.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 9:59 a.m. CST

    Only drawback- Harnett.

    by Judge Briggs

    You know you're all thinking the same!

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 10:37 a.m. CST

    Re: Slade (the band)

    by Steve Rogers

    Cum On Feel The Noize is a great song. Nuff said.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 10:45 a.m. CST

    I'm not much of a gore hound

    by Bloo

    but from this interview and what not, you count me interested in this film

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 10:49 a.m. CST

    jimmy rabbitte

    by Darth Kong

    Yeah, thanks for that. I was well aware. <rolls eyes> Too early for y'all is it?

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 10:53 a.m. CST

    I interviewed Niles for the magazine I write for

    by Purgatori

    Great guy, with a lot of great stuff coming up. I think we're the only magazine that's got this on the cover and not Halloween. This and Sweeney Todd are the only things I'm looking forward to this fall/winter season.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 11:36 a.m. CST


    by Gatsbys West Egg Omlet

    who is doing Sweeny Todd? Movie? Musical?

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Sweeny Todd = Tim Burton

    by indyit

    And I loved 30 days of Night, have high hopes for this flick ^^

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 11:55 a.m. CST

    Good interviews...

    by Sledge Hammer've been doing some quality work of late with this stuff Quint, kudos. You do need a better copy editor though, so many obvious spelling/gramatical mistakes really do take away from the quality of what you're doing a bit. Still both this and the whacked out Fonda interviews were good stuff all the same.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 12:07 p.m. CST


    by Purgatori

    it's going to be Burton and it's also a musical. The posters and still that I've seen look amazing. So I have high hopes. He's somehow managed to get that great dark and grey lifeless look from The Corpse Bride to transfer to reality.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Ghoulies > Critters

    by TheBloop

    And no, there were no more goat suckers that the Shaggy Dog was werewolf. Count Floyd would back me on that one. AAAWHHHOOOO!

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Judge Briggs

    by skimn

    In total agreement. Outside of Luck Number Sleven, Hartnett's been totally "meh" as far as I'm concerned. He's basically Josh Brolin with a better agent.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 12:45 p.m. CST

    I thought it said "David Spade."

    by Larry of Arabia

    I should go back to bed now...

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 2:08 p.m. CST

    Josh Hartnett = Life Sucker

    by TheBloop

    You know this is true

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 2:12 p.m. CST

    re: Darth Kong

    by jimmy rabbitte

    Not at all too early... I was just trying to goof on the similarity of the names... that was all I had at the time<p> ...maybe it *was* too early after all... ...and for no reason at all, I'll close by saying...<p> Ma-Ma-Mama Weer All Crazee Now!!!!

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Alanis gag: Genius!

    by MaxTheSilent

    Cool guy. 30 DAYS OF NIGHT looks awesome.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 4:49 p.m. CST

    Mysterious Yobo

    by Purgatori

    If you want to bash on way too many flicks being made...why don't we start with stoner comedies? But if we did that what would Seth Rogen do for the next ten years? The fact is we NEED a good vampire flick to wash the taint of things like that fucking awful acting done by the dude who played Craven in Underworld. Vampires need what we got when Shaun of the Dead came out for the zombies. And I'm hoping that Benicio Del Toro's Wolfman movie will do for werewolves. Cause god knows, Skin Walkers sucked donkey balls. And before you all start, I actually like Seth Rogen. Just using the insane glut of stoner flicks as an example.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 5:32 p.m. CST


    by the last starfighter

    how i want a good vampire movie, but with David Slade directing, most likely this will be shit. Hard Candy is an insult to anybody who knows anybody who has dealt with any form of molestation (despite what you may think, many don't want their perpetrator's balls cut off...violence begets violence, etc.) and the man has directed some of the worst music videos ever. When you work with a band like Muse you would think it would be hard to make creatively lacking videos. 30 Days of Night would be cool if someone better directed.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 5:53 p.m. CST

    I totally misread that as David Spade...

    by PirateEmery

    ...and was rewarded with the funniest image ever.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 7:05 p.m. CST

    hard candy

    by GavinVanDraven

    was uncomfortable to watch. i hope this "30 days of night" is as good as i thought it would be when i thought it up over 10 years ago. i guess more than one person can come up with the same idea... meh.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 10:58 p.m. CST

    Boy, he shot you down.

    by where_are_quints_hobbit_set_reports

    <p>Quint: You could add some rainbows or something into it maybe. <p> David Slade: Yeah, so no. <p> I lol'ed at that one.

  • Aug. 16, 2007, 11:01 p.m. CST

    Story and Character

    by MediaNerd

    I liked Hard Candy quite a bit, though it reached too far at times. I really hope all his talk during the interview about character and story focus holds up with this one. Gore for gore is boring, but you add a driving motivation and you have something...

  • Aug. 17, 2007, 1:24 a.m. CST

    David SLADE?!? Ohhh, I thought you wrote "David SPADE"

    by MrMysteryGuest

    When I first read that, I thought "WTF? Spade's in this movie? What's he playing, a vampire, a townie? What?" Then I read it again and I saw David Slade, so I said, "Oh, okay..." But it would be an interesting movie if David Spade was in it, though, and he played it straight! (Yes, I know I'm like the third or fourth person to notice the Slade-Spade deal, but I had to write it -- this was just to funny to leave alone! :) )

  • Aug. 17, 2007, 7:49 a.m. CST

    Hey- leave Critters alone

    by Lost Prophet

    It's just great. How can you not love a film where they fire a rocket launcher at a toilet because there is a "critter" in it.

  • Oct. 24, 2007, 1:45 p.m. CST

    Bruce Campbell/Mike Richardson interview

    by TheMostHorrible

    This Saturday 10/27 at 7 pm pacific, a great interview with Bruce Campbell and Mike Richardson of Dark Horse comics airs on the radio variety show Live Wire, on Oregon Public Broadcasting. If you're local you know where to find it, but the rest of you can listen online at: (I feel like a tool using tiny url when the real address is much tinier than the tiny, but it seems like the thing to do.) Anyways, there's a link to listen live and it's totally worth a listen. Bruce and Mike talk a lot about "My Name is Bruce", Sam Raimi as an abusive stick wielding director, 30 Days of Night, Hellboy and more. Bruce even steps into some sketch comedy with Faces for Radio Theater and goes OFF on people who like to call him Ash. The musical guest is the band Loch Lomond.