Let’s start with Halloween. Every kid loves it, but why is it so special to you? What kind of things did you do as a kid that made it so much a part of your style as a writer?
I love Halloween for a lot of reasons. The childhood nostalgia is a huge factor. Halloween, for all its dark themes, was the one all-fun holiday every year for me. As a horror fan it’s huge because the focus of the world for a few short weeks is everything I adore. It’s the one time a year I’m not the weirdo. Or at least as much as the rest of the year.
Do you remember what the first horror movie you ever watched was?
The very first? I’m not too sure. I remember getting really freaked out by a Night Gallery episode as a kid. There was one where a guy could hypnotize a person into a fake death. When a guy is buried, all he has to do is tap on the grave, and they rise from the dead. Great episode. I watched it again recently and it was still creepy as hell.
I’ll have to look that one up. What movies scared you the most as a kid? For me it was The Exorcist and Salem’s Lot hands down.
I remember being scared by the commercials for The Exorcist. That dude who did the voice-overs for the 70′s movies was scary as hell! And Salem’s Lot…what kid wasn’t freaked by the scratching at the window scene?
What’s your favorite horror movie of all time? Or a few if you can’t pick one.
I always say the same three: Frankenstein, The Exorcist, and the original Night of the Living Dead. Romero in general was a real inspiration for me. Not only did he make the best horror movie, he also did them his way. He’s the original DIY guy.
Moving away from movies, what are some of your favorite Halloween or horror related stories or comics?
The classics like the old EC are always great. For me, more for the art than stories. Anything Bernie Wrightson did was huge. I bought everything with his name on it. I read lots of Creepy and Eerie. Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run are still some of the best horror comics ever written.
Which character from the horror genre would you like to do a story on that you haven’t yet?
I don’t know if there are any characters, but I sure would like to do a long run on something. My entire career has been 4-6 issue arcs. I’d love to take a character and just go for a year or two. If it wasn’t one of my own creations, there are some great characters out there I think I could do justice, like The Spectre or Ghost Rider.
Going way back now, what made you want to write horror stories more so than superhero or other types of stories?
I really just fell into it. I always loved horror, but when I started doing comics I wanted to work for DC and Marvel like everybody else. As I progressed I found myself always gravitating towards darker themes, so I just went with it.
Not to get too dark, but what scares you the most?
The things that scare me are all real world things. I am always horrified at how terrible people treat each other in the name of religion or whatever. Nothing I could ever come up with could equal what people do to each other every day. It’s terrifying.
This one will be a quiet Halloween. We live off a dirt road so no trick or treaters. We’re carving pumpkins today and then watching a mini-horror marathon tonight. We watched the new Blu-ray of Frankenstein last night. So damn crisp looking we actually spotted some flaws we never saw before.
What is your favorite Halloween memory?
I have a lot of great Halloween memories as a kid and as an adult. I miss being a kid on Halloween. That was the best. Recently I’ve had so much fun because there ‘s so much available that wasn’t when I was a kid. Last year I went as Lucifer with bat wings and contacts. I had a blast scaring people.
Thank you very much to Steve Niles for sharing his thoughts on Halloween with us. Have the very Happiest of Halloweens, from all of us here at Comic Booked!