If classic movie monsters like Dracula and Godzilla teamed up instead of wreaking havoc on their own, they could have been many times more lethal. Maybe that's what Rob Zombie and warped comic-book scribe and screenwriter Steve Niles had in mind when they joined forces to create the horror-based production company Creep Entertainment International.
Zombie hooked up with Niles earlier this year after being contacted by professional wrestler Diamond Dallas Page, who lives in Zombie's neighborhood. Page is friends with Dark Horse Comics producer Barry Levine, who for months was trying to get the rocker to work with Niles, but Zombie wouldn't return his calls. So Levine asked Page to act as a muscular messenger.
"It took a professional wrestler to get me on the phone and get this thing going," Zombie said, then laughed. "You can't say no to Diamond Dallas Page because he'll kick your ass."
Zombie and Niles will collaborate on scary comics, movies, TV shows, video games, books, toys and music. As much work as that will entail, they'll also both continue to create their own projects as well. In the coming year, Zombie will direct the sequel to his cinematic debut, "House of 1000 Corpses," work on a new Rob Zombie record, relaunch his record label, Zombie-A-Go-Go, and continue writing on his comic-book series "Spookshow International."
"When I'm working on my own stuff, I always hit these points where my brain's fried and I can't get anything done," Zombie said of his interest in starting Creep International. "That's when I jump to one of these projects with Steve. I'll work on it for a while until I can't think of anything else to write, then I'll send it to him and he'll take over. Then he'll send it back to me. We've been cranking out a lot of scripts that way."
Three Creep International comics are currently under way. Like everything Zombie touches, they're dark and demented, filled with evil acts and murderous deeds. However, there's a major difference between his solo comic-book work and his collaborations with Niles.
"The ones I've been doing on my own are more wacky," Zombie said. "They have the vibe of 'The Munsters,' but the ones I'm doing with Steve are not funny. They're like serious horror movies adapted into comics."
The first project for the two artists will be "The Nail," a hybrid of a '70s motorcycle gang story and wrestling tale. The comic is scheduled to come out in March on Dark Horse Comics and may be adapted into a movie in the future.
"The lead character is a wrestler from an era before wrestling became glamorous," enthused Zombie. "I remember going to matches when I was a kid and it just seemed so sleazy — big, nasty guys cracking each other's heads open. So this character was once popular and now he's older and he's just trying to make ends meet, and he gets involved in all these ugly situations."
The second creative venture for Zombie and Niles will be the comic "Bigfoot," about a man's search for revenge against the beast that slaughtered his family; it's scheduled to be released by IDW Comics in March.
"As a kid in the '70s, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster were so freaky," Zombie said. "I still remember seeing that grainy movie footage on the TV show 'In Search Of,' and it just left a mark. We're trying to take something that has been really perverted into stupidity by things like 'Harry and the Hendersons' and make it scary and cool."
The last Creep project, "Lords of Salem," will be a hybrid of an album and a comic book, and will be about an evil rock band that captivates and possesses teenagers, who, of course, become hideously violent.
"Everyone has always tried to do movies about satanic bands and backwards music and it always comes off as really stupid," Zombie said. "I wanted to do it right. And you can't really read a comic book about music, so I want to create that band so the album you read about in the comic book will actually exist, as will the band."
Zombie is thrilled to be making his mark in the comic book world for a number of reasons. It expands his horror-based empire into a new medium, taps into a form of entertainment he cherished in his youth and it's a hell of a lot easier to create fantastic comics than films.
"You can literally do anything in comics," he said. "In a movie you're limited by what's possible and what you can afford. In comics you can come up with the idea to have a spaceship piloted by giant pirate robot that fights space babes on flying motorcycles over a pterodactyl landscape, and it's no problem."