"Trick or Treat"
was probably the sickest tale of the 30 Years of
Terror, where did that stem from beyond the
The urban legend was
definitely the starting point Ė the razorblade
in the apple, that sort of thing. The original
Halloween was full of things that related to the
night itself. A lot of the sequels have eschewed
that, so the night of October 31st is
almost arbitrary. I also wanted to get into the
other side of the character that we see in the
original film Ė the side of him that likes
playing games with people and scaring them.
Laurie doesnít see The Shape because she catches
him out, she sees him because he lets her.
Thereís always been
an element of ĎTrick or Treatí to The Shape
himself, so it was fun to tie that with
traditional Halloween folklore. Also, the ending
of Halloween, with Tommy and Lindsay running to
the Mackenzies, was an angle that tied in with
what would happen many years later. In that
sense I think it worked well Ė all the various
elements, The Shape, The Trick or Treaters, the
folklore and the tie-in scene from the movie
managed to blend seamlessly into each other.
Why do you think
Michael hates Haddonfield so much?
I don't think he
hates it so much as he demands its attention,
sort of how a child would in many ways - he
certainly enjoys the fear he creates. I think
the darker sides of childhood, the untamed mind
that exists there before the world makes you a
social 'human being', is manifest in The Shape.
There's a frozen moment within him from when he
killed his sister, Judith, and he's never really
progressed beyond that point. I don't think he
wants to either. There's something about that
frozen moment that links to him being immortal
too, at least in an academic sense. He's frozen
and immutable, like he's always been there and
being the physical home of The Shape, is in a
lot of ways the cause of The Shape. He's very
much a product of his environment, just like
Jack The Ripper was. In this case, he's the
product of normal suburbia - all the repressed
emotion of fake Norman Rockwell smiles. A
collective unconscious almost, a monster of
abjection, and the harder they try to force that
away and bury it, the more monstrous it will
I had to
ask: What did you think of Rob
wasn't for me, really. I'm very fond
of the original and I grew up with
it, and not only that, all of the
things I find interesting and unique
in Halloween were removed for the
remake. It wasn't about The Shape,
it was a bout Michael Myers, and
very much about humanizing, which I
guess is the complete opposite of
what I'm trying to do in the comic
want to feel any sympathy for The
Shape. That's a Jason Voorhees
thing, and it works very well there.
I see The Shape as a completely evil
bastard, far beyond redemption, and
in many ways, far beyond our
understanding. I certainly don't see
him as a misunderstood man in a mask
who is just looking for a hug. All
of Loomis' dialogue about the nature
of evil doesn't really apply or have
the same eerie resonance when we
know so much about Michael Myers as
an actual person.
That said, I
preferred the first half of the remake, where
Rob Zombie was clearly doing his own thing,
rather than emulating the original. I would have
enjoyed the film more if it went it completely
in its own direction, simply because I'm so
attached to John Carpenter's original. For the
audience it was meant for, it did really well,
and more importantly, it kept the Halloween
series alive. It will definitely be interesting
to see where they take the story next.
How would you sculpt
a reboot/sequel to the "Halloween" movies?
If I was doing a
sequel, it would be something like Halloween:
Nightdance, something to get The Shape back
to his roots and just focus on scares and
atmosphere. I'd get Dean Cundey involved again
to give it that wonderful look, and try to avoid
the phenomenon of 'shakeycam'. I miss having
beautifully composed images in scary movies.
As for a remake,
that's a tough call because I don't feel the
original can be bettered, nor do I feel it's
dated at all. It's timeless for me. The only way
I can think of approaching it is by being
radically different. I'd take the core concepts
of Loomis and The Shape and relocate them to
Victorian England, something radical like that.
Can you tell us
about your history of writing and where it
As clichť as it
sounds, IĎve always wrote stories even if only
to pass the time. This goes back as far as I can
remember. Iíve always had an active imagination
and suffered from really intense nightmares.
Similarly, Iíve always been fascinated by things
that go bump in the night. It was always the
scary stories that made an impression on me,
regardless of medium.
Even my pre-teen
writing was somewhat bleak. When we had to do a
story at school, mine would be several times
longer than everybody elseís and would usually
end with half of the cast dead. I saw
Halloween when I was young, so thatís a key
influence. In terms of comic books, it would be
things like Doomlord which used to run in
Eagle, the old UK Scream comics,
Captain Britain and Spider-Man.
Later on, it would be just about every horror
film that came out. My friends and I would trawl
markets, backstreet stores and shitty little
scuzzholes to find horror movies Ė always a hard
task as all the good stuff was either banned or
censored. Another big influence on me at that
time was the Marshall Law comic. Lots of
people talk about Watchmen being a big
deconstruction of superhero books that made them
see the genre differently, but for me it was
always Marshall Law.
your decision to ignore the mark of
Thorn storyline in your storyline in
decision was made by the film
franchise. Halloween: H20 basically
erased the previous three films out
of existence, so we decided to
follow that path (these books were
originally being developed before
they announced the remake, so were
set in the continuity that was
established at that point).
from a writer's perspective, it made
sense to stick with that. Mainly
because a central aim of our books
was to capture the tone of the
original film, and the more minimal
continuity suited it best, rather
than the "let's explain everything"
tone of the middle trilogy. I know a
lot of fans liked that, but they're
so far removed from the simplicity
of the original, they really don't
gel. Similarly, the producers don't
want to go back to that storyline,
at least as it was.
while I'm not interested in uniting
the continuities (I know that every
second fan has a 'great idea' to
unite the storylines, but the
producers don't want that, H20
explicitly says that the other
continuity didn't happen and we
can't legally use all of the
characters), there is a way to
include a lot of what people loved
about those movies while dispensing
with a lot of the baggage. We shall
Devil's Due ever ask that you
No - the
only really specific request I
received from them was to put The
Shape in the first few pages of
Halloween: Nightdance, mainly for
those people who flick through the
first few pages of a book before
they buy it.
I was really opposed
to that because it didn't fit the story at all,
so thankfully I was able to stick to my original
outline. I have a really supportive editorial
team, namely Stephen Christy and Cody DeMatteis,
and that, as well as the backing from Trancas
International, helps a lot.
I was surprised that
you kept Laurie Michael's brother; why did you
feel it should have remained?
I never liked the
idea of them being related, I have to be honest.
It was an idea that actually diminished the
first film for me. It made the original seem
more like a series of completely unlikely
coincidences, and also grounded The Shape into
being simply Michael Myers. No longer was he an
abstract force, but a guy with family problems.
However itís not my
place to drop everything from the series Ė I
donít really have the right to do that as many
fans have a lot invested in these characters.
However, Halloween: H20 did radically
change the series and we are in that universe.
My role is to make it all work in the context of
what we want to do, so thatís where
Halloween: The First Death of Laurie Strode
fits in. A lot of things stop being a
coincidence in that story and instead become
fated, unavoidable elements.
One thing I wanted
to ensure is that we didnít go strolling down
the bloodline path again. Thatís been done, and
really isnít in the intent of the original. So
the sister aspect is still very much a part of
our world, but itís certainly not the driving
force of our stories. I want The Shape to be
scary again, and one part of that is making him
more unpredictable. All of the actions he does
do, however, have their roots in the original
film, or in Halloween II. We canít assume
that we saw everything The Shape is capable of
in the brief time we spent following him over
Thatís also the
double-edged sword of obsessive fandom rhetoric!
We repeat things and people complain itís seen
before, we do something new and itís suddenly
decried as being out of character. Iíve just
learned to switch off from all of that and trust
my own judgment. Everything that does occur Iíve
thought about carefully and discussed at length
with the whole team Ė all of whom are massive
fans with a truly disturbing amount of
knowledge. Be afraidÖ
your method to storytelling and do
you have a specific niche you
really have a fixed method as such,
but there are certain things that
play out the same. I do tend to keep
an idea floating around in my head
for several months before I start
typing, so the themes develop. From
there I start to get visuals and
imagery (I start with visuals a lot,
rather than plot moments), and those
develop into set pieces. I also
rewrite as I go, so every time I go
back to the story, I go through it.
Iím not really the sort of writer
who can pound out a draft.
thing I also often do is make a
music playlist that fits the mood of
what Iím writing, be it lyrically or
sonically. The mood and rhythm of
the music influences how the story
takes shape (when Iím struggling
with a tale structurally I tend to
listen to pieces of music and take a
cue form their structure).
As for a
niche Ė horror, definitely, as much
as I donít really care for the word
because itís kind of limiting.
Thatís always gonna be my first
love. One thing I think is important
though, is to bring influences from
other mediums. I like a lot of
surrealism myself. Iím limited in
that with Halloween, but it still
creeps in (be it in the form of
Ballerinas or flattening notions of
time and space etc.). Hopefully when
I start to put out my own material
(as in not a licensed book), then I
can explore more in that direction.
So I have to ask:
Can you tell us if your Michael is Supernatural
He is definitely
supernatural, but hopefully in the ambiguous and
abstract way he is in the first film - I tend to
loathe explanations as they always reduce the
character and belong in sci-fi, rather than
horror. We've got this horrible culture now of
DVD special features and message boards which
means that everybody wants to know reasons.
Everybody wants to know why. That, to me, is not
something conducive to good horror. I like
possible explanations, but anything more than
that reduces an eerie entity to bland facts.
That said, the
nearest I gave to an explanation is the
Charlie story which was included in the
Halloween: Nightdance trade paperback.
There's a flattening of time in that as Charlie
Bowles develops his 'evil' side. He becomes one
with past, present and future in his
hallucinations. The purpose of this is to give
some idea of the nature of evil in our stories -
it's a timeless force that exists everywhere at
every time in a constant state of 'now', if that
makes any sense? Charlie sensed it, but The
Shape actually *is* it. He's had 15 years in
silence attuning himself to this force to the
point where he is, as Loomis says, "pure evil".
This is why events happen around him that seem
like coincidences, as he is at one with darkness
and with fate. He's going to get more powerful
as our stories progress, more dangerous and more
terrifying. I don't want the readers cheering
him on because he's not the hero.
All of this is drawn
from the original film - from him being a part
of the night of Halloween, from him being a very
different entity in the mask to without. John
Carpenter says that the predominant theme in
Halloween is that 'evil never dies', and we're
trying to be very true to that. In a future
issue, a character asks, "He's in every
street, every leave that falls - how are you
gonna stop that?" I think that sums him up.
the films in the series are your
original is so superior to the
others that there's no comparison at
all. I see the original Halloween as
a work of art, whereas I see the
sequels as mostly fun films. From
the sequels, I like Halloween II,
Halloween III and Halloween: H20.
They come the closest to the
original in mood and tone for me,
even though they are still a long
the research for writing the comic
much, because I already know way too
much about these films, firstly as a
fan, and secondly as a consequence
of making Halloween: 25 Years of
Terror. There was a period just
after that where I was completely
ĎHalloweened Outí, but when we got
the comics rolling it all felt fresh
and exciting again.
confusion and frustration is ambiguous through
most of your series; will you ever try to break
down his fascination with women?
Not any more than Iíve done already Ė at least
directly, anyway. Iím gonna paraphrase a David
Lynch quote because I the exact words escape me:
ďIf you get too specific then the dream stops.Ē
It goes back to my general dislike of spelling
things out, especially within horror.
I think thereís a
lot of material in Nightdance that can be
interpreted in lots of ways, and there will be
similar material to that in future storylines Ė
that hint of sexuality. I just donít want that
to be the focal point of the character Ė it
should be an aspect, but thatís all.
I think it all comes
back to Judith for The Shape in a lot of waysÖ
Can you tell us
about your turn in to the writing field?
I got lucky. I think
everyone who breaks in at any level gets lucky.
I studied Film Theory at university, which
didnít open any doors whatsoever, but it did
help with a critical understanding which helps
me a lot. I donít have any formal training in
writing, other than what Iíve taught myself
through constant practice. I just managed to get
a break by being at the right place at the right
time. You just have to keep trying.
When did you start
writing comic books?
My first attempts
would have been in the early 90s. I was working
with a local artist, but we'd never get anywhere
due to differing opinions. He'd come up with
these completely random ideas for inexplicable
reasons - you know, "I think there should be a
dog in this scene." You do? Why? It just made it
After that, my focus
went towards screenwriting, which is a direction
I still want to go. Ideally, Iíll get to the
stage where I can do both for a living. The
great thing about a comic script is the speed it
comes to life. You write something, and three
months later itís on shelves. I love that.
Thereís also a lot more creative freedom there
because you have less people to answer to. You
also arenít catering exclusively for the date
crowd, which is one of the problems I have with
recent horror movies in general.
Do you write novels
or short stories? If so, how different are the
mediums? If not, would you ever consider it?
I have written short
stories. I'm far, far too lazy to contemplate
writing a novel, however. I also don't read
enough, which I'm ashamed of saying. I read
comic books and I watch films. Those are the
languages I understand, and even those are
extremely far removed from each other.
For example, the act
of motion in a screenplay is easy. Take a scene
in which a man walks across a room, picks up a
knife, walks to the other side of the room and
stabs himself. In a screenplay, I'd probably
describe it like I have here, but in a comic
book, I have to break that action down into
still images but still communicate that
movement. On my first comic scripting attempts
it was a challenge just getting from
If you want to read
an example of my regular prose writing, then
simply pop along to the website
www.halloweencomics.com - there you will find
'Sam', a short story which is there for free
Have you ever
considered writing other horror comics before?
All the time! I have
many stories of my own I wish to tell, but Iíd
love to tackle all of the famous characters.
Freddy and Jason are both characters Iíd like to
write for, but my approach would be different to
what it has been on the Halloween books. What I
would carry over from my Halloween experience is
my focus on keeping it real, as cheesy as that
sounds. That means playing it less for laughs
and more for horrific imagery and suspense.
What is your goal
with the mythos you're spreading along the
To really use the
comic medium to itís fullest to build a universe
and tell unique Halloween stories that couldnít
be told the same on film. The skill of the
original film is that itís a uniquely cinematic
experience Ė itís a film where the form and
content are perfectly matched. The style is
constantly expressing the narrative and
characters at hand. It would be to do that film
a massive injustice to try and simply copy it.
entirely new possibilities, both in the telling
of the story and the story itself, so these
stories arenít meant to be films quickly
adjusted for another medium. Iím taking a lot of
care to ensure that I exploit the medium as much
as I can and what we ultimately create is an
experience unique to comic books.
Iím taking the whole
mythos extremely seriously (maybe too
seriously), but fully determined to give these
characters and storylines respect.
Any last words for
Well, to everybody
who has supported this line so far, or who has
even picked-up one thing Iíve been involved
with, Iíd like to say a big THANK YOU. Itís
always appreciated. If you like what you read,
then that makes it even better. If not, I hope
next time I wonít disappoint!
Thanks for your time
No problem sir!
Felix Vasquez Jr.