In the spirit of Halloween, we’re bringing you the scary scoop on Darren Shan’s sinister series Cirque Du Freak, and the upcoming movie The Vampire’s Assistant (PG-13) opening October 23rd. It’s based on the first three books of the series, and stars John C. Reiley, Ken Watanabe, Salma Hayek, and Chris Massoglia as Darren.
In the book series Darren is an ordinary kid who stumbles on a freak show with his best friend. When Darren steals a spider from a vampire, things quickly go wrong and Darren has to bargain for his friend’s life. The price? His becoming a half-vampire himself (i.e.vampire’s assistant!), and traveling with the nightmarish Cirque Du Freak.
This series is SO good. I’m talking stay-up-late-reading-under-the-covers good. It’s super freaky and scary, in ways you wouldn’t think a children’s book series could be. And believe it or not, we were able to get the author himself, Darren Shan, to give us an exclusive interview!! It must have been destiny. Read below. . . if you dare.
Q: Is Darren an “autobiographical” character?
Darren: No. He shares certain characteristics with me, as do most of my lead characters, but we’re not one and the same person, despite us sharing a name.
Q: Is there anything that creeps you out in real life?
Darren: Embarrassingly enough — spiders!!! Although the things that creep me out more than anything else are snakes — I can’t stand them!!
RATHA: Wow that must have given him nightmares writing these books! You Cirque Du Freak fans know what I mean — there are spiders and snakes aplenty. Madame Octa or Evra the Snake Boy,
Q: What was your involvement, if any, in making the movie (The Vampire’s Assistant)?Darren: None. I opted to keep out of the process, so that I could stay focused on the books. I think the film-making process is best left to those who know what they’re doing.
Q: What are your favorite parts of the movie?
Darren: The opening credits. That might sound strange, but it’s not meant to be a criticism of the rest of the film. I honestly do like the movie overall — I just thought that the opening credits were truly amazing!
RATHA: Ok I will DEFINITELY have to make sure I’m not late for this movie, so I don’t miss those credits!
Q: Will diehard fans of the books like the movie?
Darren: Hard to tell. I think if they go in accepting that it’s going to be only a loose adaptation of the books, then they might enjoy it for what it is — as I did.
RATHA: Aah yes. It’s always tricky for us literary folks who love our books.
Q: What are you doing for Halloween this year?
Darren: I’m going to be celebrating it in Universal Studios Orlando!!! I’m not there for work, just a holiday, which turned out to be a happy twist of fate. . . or DESTINY!!!!!
RATHA: NICE! Be sure not to freak out Mickey or Minnie — hee hee! Seriously, thanks so much for the exclusive interview, Darren. I personally can’t wait to read the rest of the series! Right now I’m on Book #2: The Vampire’s Assistant.
If you are new to the series, take a look at Jake T. Austin talking about the book that starts it all, A Living Nightmare.
And let us know what creeps YOU out. I once almost drank a spider in the middle of the night. (I was drinking from a glass of water I kept by my bedside, when all of a sudden I felt something in my mouth. I spit it out and it was a dead spider, floating in the water. I guess it had somehow crawled in and drowned. Thank goodness I didn’t swallow it!) Anyways — leave a message in the Comments!
— Ratha, STACKS Writer
UPDATE: New Video with The Vampire’s Assistant actor Josh Hutcherson!
Movie image courtesy Universal Pictures