Mick Garris is a producer, director, screenwriter and novelist specializing in the horror genre. He has had his hand in dozens of films and television shows, published several works of fiction, and is perhaps best known for his long and fruitful association with author Stephen King.
Garris was born in Santa Monica, California, and grew up in the San Fernando Valley. He began making home movies at the age of 12 and started working as a freelance film and music journalist while still in his teens. An avid musician, he was the lead singer of the band Horsefeathers until its demise in 1977.
Garris’ first job in the film industry was doing publicity for Avco-Embassy Pictures, where he produced “behind the scenes” documentaries for numerous genre films. This led to a stint as the host of THE FANTASY FILM FESTIVAL, a TV talk show airing on L.A.’s legendary Z Channel, in which Garris interviewed many high-profile actors and filmmakers.
His big break came when he was hired by Steven Spielberg to serve as a writer and story editor on AMAZING STORIES (1985). Spielberg asked Mick to direct an episode based on one of this stories, and he has been writing, producing, and directing ever since. This led to more work as a director on FREDDY’S NIGHTMARES (1988) and TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1989), and as the co-creator of SHE-WOLF OF LONDON (1990-91). During this period, Garris also co-wrote the screenplays for *BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED (1987), THE FLY II (1989) and HOCUS POCUS (1993).
His first feature film as a director was CRITTERS 2 (1988), followed by PSYCHO IV: THE BEGINNING (1990). In 1992, Garris began his association with Stephen King when he was selected to direct the author’s original screenplay for SLEEPWALKERS. Pleased with the results, King chose Garris to helm the epic mini-series based his novel, THE STAND (1994), which went on to become one of history’s most highly-rated television shows.
Garris and King followed up with a three-part TV adaptation of THE SHINING in 1997. Garris went on to direct QUICKSILVER HIGHWAY (1997), based on two stories by King and Clive Barker, VIRTUAL OBSESSION (1998), THE JUDGE (2001) and LOST IN OZ (2002). He and Stephen King reunited for RIDING THE BULLET (2004) and DESPERATION (2006).
In 2005, Garris created the Showtime anthology series MASTERS OF HORROR (2005-06), which featured contributions by him and other leading filmmakers specializing in the horror genre, including John Carpenter, Joe Dante and John Landis. A spinoff anthology series followed: FEAR ITSELF (2008-09).
In 2011, Garris published his first novel: Development Hell. This was preceded by the short story collection, A Life in Cinema (2002), and followed by the novellas Snow Shadows (2013) and Tyler’s Third Act (2013). His new novel, Salome, and another novella, Ugly, will be released in 2014.
Garris returned to his roots as the Creator and Host of POST MORTEM (2010-11), a genre-themed talk show airing on FearNetHD. Recently, he produced and directed another mini-series adaptation of a Stephen King novel, BAG OF BONES (2011), and served as Executive Producer of the feature film UNBROKEN (2014), directed by Angelina Jolie.
He has directed episodes of PRETTY LITTLE LIARS and its spinoff, RAVENSWOOD, and WITCHES OF EAST END, and currently has several series and features in development.
Inquiring Minds Want To Know!
I’ve always been curious, and I’ve always asked questions. The creative process fascinates me, and once I began interviewing artists of varying stripes when I was a teenager, it became clear how each one takes a different path to achieve their creative goals.
My first interviews were of musicians, when I was writing for various rock-based publications, such as the San Diego DOOR (yes, Cameron Crowe and I both wrote about music for them at the same time, when we were both in high school), where I seemed to specialize in now-dead rock stars. My interviews with a weeping, lovingly intoxicated Janis Joplin and spur-of-the-moment conversations with Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa were among the most memorable.
But as my interests metamorphosed from music to film, so did my journalistic journey. In 1979, I began a series of interviews on The Z Channel, the first pay-TV station in Los Angeles, focusing on science fiction and horror films. Thirty years later, I conducted a completely different series for FearNet, called POST MORTEM. Tellingly, many of the subjects on the latter show had been guests on the former.
The information imparted by these creative giants is fascinating, and each one of them presents their route to creating their films in a unique way. In the later shows, of course, the forum is intended a simple conversation between filmmakers, where the older Fantasy Film Festival—recorded off the air onto a Betamax at the time, then transferred to DVD and onto our digital platform—was a novice film fan with an inquisitive mind and a fascination for the dark arts.
We felt that these conversations, aside from being entertaining, are a slice of history, some of the “pieces of time” Peter Bogdanovich famously proclaimed to be the essence of filmmaking.
So sit back, and let’s chat.