I am THRILLED to welcome Adam to the blog today. I am sure that he will be featured many more times in the future. However, for now, we talk about one of the best movies I have seen for a long time, and how it felt to have his original story adapted for a screenplay and when he first saw his Jotunn come to life …
Welcome Adam! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me.
“And on the third day things did not get better. The rain fell hard and cold, the white sun never broke through the low grey cloud, and they were lost. But it was the dead thing they found hanging from a tree that changed the trip beyond recognition.“
Q1. Did you work closely with Joe on the screenplay for the movie, or were you happy for him just to get on with it?
Very much the latter. Joe’s a terrific screenwriter and from the very first draft, I remember being impressed with his depiction of the characters and dialogue. David Bruckner and the Imaginarium producers worked on the screenplay closely with Joe through successive drafts; that tends to be how it works in development – producers and screenwriter work together, with the director coming in later. I wasn’t a producer; pretty much just the author of the book being adapted. But I was always kept in the loop, shown drafts and consulted on certain “technical” things like, what the hell is this thing you put in the woods? And what’s the history of it and the community that worships it? I have to say the entire experience was very satisfying and exciting, despite what you often hear about adaptations.
Q2. Did you do much research into Nordic Gods and lore or was it something you already knew about?
I knew some things, from my own reading and interests, and did some research into interpretations of Ragnarok, the wild hunt and some Gods, but not that much. Most of my research actually went into getting the landscape, black metal culture and that of Scandinavia right. On the supernormal elements I really wanted to create my own amalgam of Pan, Baphomet, a Lovecraftian deity, Arthur Machen’s “White People”, whilst using my own twisted imaginings (of untraceable origin).
Q3. How did you feel the first time you saw the movie? Your story, your original blood, sweat and tears, playing to millions of people worldwide on the big screen?
Though I had seen rushes and some of the film being shot, my first full viewing of the finished article was at a private screening in London, with the writer, producers, cast and crew (most from the UK and Romania) and though it was a memorable experience, I couldn’t relax. My eyes were jumping all over the screen. Then I kept zoning out for brief periods to think of my visit to the mountainous forest and sets in Transylvania, or I pondered drafts of the screenplay and the creative decisions they had made … it was very hard to just concentrate on the film without so many inner distractions. But I remember when the God appeared at the end. There’s one scene where it rises onto its legs and you can see the night sky behind it and I felt a true sublime of terror, equal parts awe and wonder and fear. The very effect I try and conjure in my stories for readers. That was the highlight for me at the screening, and it was the first time that I’d seen the god beyond sketches.
I’ve probably watched the film 6 or 7 times at home since and my enjoyment has grown with each viewing. I also went to see the film at the cinema 4 times, either alone or with different groups of friends.
I’m also both relieved and pleased that so many viewers have enjoyed the film so much; it has found an enormous audience on Netflix, right from the first availability in early 2018. The god found a sizable congregation online as well, the internet seemed to melt at one point. But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully visualize or really comprehend the film’s popularity – I can’t share the viewing figures but they have been staggering. What pleases me most too is that this was an indie British horror film, and a first film for the production company and director, with a relatively small budget. But all of the enthusiasm and passion in its development, and the great adventure of the production, translated into the film.
Q4. What do you think are the unique qualities of British horror?
Location and landscape for starters and the various historical and social factors, that may even be unconscious in writers, must play a part. Our own tradition, particularly post-80s in today’s newer authors; I get a strong sense of Clive Barker, James Herbert, Shaun Hutson’s influences in modern British horror, more so than most other writers.
Q5. You are often named as an inspiration to authors that I interview. Who inspires YOU and who are your favourite writers?
Oh, there are many inspirers and influencers in my own horror. From the horror canon, M. R. James, Blackwood, Machen, Onions, Hartley, Aickman, Wakefield, Campbell, Jackson, Wharton, Wells, King, Lovecraft and Ligotti, to name a few. Even if their style has had little effect, their work made me want to write horror.
I also have many contemporary favourites whose work I always seek out: Sarah Waters, John Langan, Nathan Ballingrud, Conrad Williams, Rebecca Lloyd, Brian Hodge, Gemma Files, Laird Barron, Joel Lane, Christopher Slatsky, Reggie Oliver, John Connolly . . . to be honest, I could be here all day.
Find out more about The Ritual here on Adam’s website.
Adam L.G. Nevill was born in Birmingham, England, in 1969 and grew up in England and New Zealand. He is the author of the horror novels ‘Banquet for the Damned’, ‘Apartment 16’, ‘The Ritual’, ‘Last Days’, ‘House of Small Shadows’, ‘No One Gets Out Alive’, ‘Lost Girl’, ‘Under a Watchful Eye’ and ‘The Reddening’. He has two collections of short stories: ‘Some Will Not Sleep’ (winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection, 2017) and ‘Hasty for the Dark’.
His novels, ‘The Ritual’, ‘Last Days’ and ‘No One Gets Out Alive’ were the winners of The August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel. ‘The Ritual’ and ‘Last Days’ were also awarded Best in Category: Horror, by R.U.S.A. Several of his novels are currently in development for film and television, and in 2016 Imaginarium adapted ‘The Ritual’ into a feature film.
Adam also offers three free books to readers of horror: ‘Cries from the Crypt’, downloadable from his website, and ‘Before You Sleep‘ and ‘Before You Wake‘, available from major online retailers.
Adam lives in Devon, England. More information about the author and his books is available at: www.adamlgnevill.com
Thank you so very much to Adam, I think we all know he is a very busy (and lovely) chap. I was so happy to be able to chat to him. Make sure you go check out his website and download those free books – they are great. And as always, sleep well …