Interview with the creator of ABATTOIR, Darren Lynn Bousman, and Ian Berriman from UK-based science fiction magazine SFX
Saw’s Darren Lynn Bousman is setting his sights on both cinemas and comics shops this year. The writer/director’s latest project, Abattoir, will be both a film and a maxi-sized three issue comics mini-series. Why? Because there’s so much to say.
“It started out as a movie idea from myself and my writing partner Michael Peterson,” explains Bousman. “As we were in the early stages of developing it, we realised how huge this mythology was – it would have been hard to capture everything in a 90-minute movie. That sparked the idea of creating the world we wanted to create and using the comic book medium to help expand what the movie alone never could.”
It’s Bousman’s first opportunity to work in the medium, and he’s relishing it. “When I was in grade school, I was addicted to Sandman. And I really loved and collected all the EC books.”
The starting point was trying to put a twist on a heavily codified subgenre.
“It began with me calling up my writing partner saying, ‘I want to do a haunted house movie.’ And therein lies the problem. Everyone in the world has done a haunted house movie! How do we create something new and original when the very concept has been done and redone countless times? When we finally hit it, we knew we’d hit it, as it was a way into a haunted house story I have never seen.”
In the story, a real estate agent who’s cleaning up the aftermath of a massacre in a mansion is visited by a twisted old man, who draws him into “a web of shadows, murders and massacres.” Hmm, not certain where our sympathies lie here… Surely estate agents deserve everything they get?
“Normally, I’d say ‘Yes!’ but since I’m not looking for a house… ‘No!’ Real estate agents are angels – angels, I tell ya!”
The cover art for issue one’s already been produced, and features that “twisted old man,” one Jebediah Crone. Bousman says creating an “iconic villain” was high on his to-do list.
“We tried to come up with a character harbouring a deep mythology. One of our goals when approaching the project was to try to create a franchise akin to what we had in the ’80s. I mean, when was the last great villain created?”
The primary question for fans of the Saw franchise, of course, will be whether Abattoir lives up to its bloody-sounding title.
“Don’t worry, it’ll have lots of blood for the gorehounds,” chuckles Bousman. “But we’re really focusing on the atmosphere and story. In my old age, I’ve pushed the limit on blood as much as I care to – but I haven’t pushed the limit on atmosphere and story. I’ve realized that blood is only one way to unnerve people and I’m focusing on all the other ways to make people uncomfortable!”
- Ian Berriman