Masters of Horror
Initially serving as a story editor, writer and director on the Steven Spielberg produced anthology series "Amazing Stories" (1985), filmmaker and screenwriter Mick Garris made his feature debut with the Spielberg produced "Batteries Not Included" (1987). He would later work frequently with bestselling horror fiction author Stephen King in developing his books into television and film versions, including "Sleepwalkers" (1992), "The Stand" (1994), "The Shining" (1997), and "Riding the Bullet" (2004), as well as the upcoming "From a Buick 8" and "Bag of Bones."
Mick also helped create the syndicated horror series "She-Wolf of London" (1990; aka. "Love & Curses"), the Showtime thriller anthology television series "Masters of Horror" (2005-2007), the ABC science fiction TV series "Masters of Science Fiction" (2007), and the NBC suspense television series "Fear Itself" (2008).
Childhood and Family:
Born on December 4, 1951, in Santa Monica, California, Michael Alan Garris spent his formative years with his single mother in the San Fernando neighborhood of Van Nuys. He has a brother named Craig Richard Garris, who was born on June 4, 1953, and died on April 21, 1992, of complications from AIDS.
Garris has been married to his present wife, Cynthia, since May 13, 1982.
Starting out creating 8mm home movies, Mick Garris became a freelance critic for a number of film and music celebrities in his twenties. Through the 1970s, he wrote publications for various bands and movies for newspapers and magazines, including The San Diego Door, the L.A. Herald Examiner, Cinefantastique, and Starlog.
He was the lead singer for the San Diego-based rock band called the “Horsefeathers Quintet” for eight years. Following the band's demise in 1976, Garris was recruited as a receptionist, and later a secretary, for George Lucas’ newly formed company, Star Wars Corporation. During this time, he got his first job in publicity with Avco Embassy Pictures as a project coordinator on a line of genre films, including John Carpenter's "The Fog," "Escape from New York," and Joe Dante's "The Howling."
In 1982, Garris teamed up with John Landis to co-write the documentary "Coming Soon.” Three years later, he served as story editor on the Steven Spielberg-produced anthology series "Amazing Stories" (1985), in which he wrote scripts for eight episodes. In the Emmy nominated show that aired on NBC between 1985 and 1987, he also made his episodic TV writing debut with "The Amazing Falsworth" (1985), which was helmed by Peter Hyams and starred Gregory Hines. His work won an Edgar Award for Best Episode in a TV Series.
Garris, who made his TV directing debut in the episode "Life on Death Row" (1986; he also provided the story) of "Amazing Stories," made his TV movie debut as a producer, writer and director in the family comedy "Fuzz Bucket" (1986; aired as part of the Disney/ABC Sunday Movie).
The following year, Garris made his feature debut and received story credit for the Spielberg produced "Batteries Not Included" (1987), a family film directed by Matthew Robbins. The film received nominations from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for Best Fantasy Film and the Young Artist Award for Best Family Motion Picture – Comedy. Garris spent the rest of the decade working on "Critters 2: The Main Course" (1988). He also provided the story and co-wrote the screenplay for Chris Walas’ sci-fi film "The Fly II" (1989; starring Eric Stoltz and Daphne Zuniga), a sequel to the 1986 movie "The Fly." It received a Saturn Award - Best Horror Film nomination from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.
Entering the 1990s, Garris directed "Psycho IV: The Beginning" (1990; starring Anthony Perkins, Olivia Hussey, Henry Thomas, and CCH Pounder). He also co-created (with Tom McLoughlin) and wrote episodes for the syndicated horror series "She-Wolf of London" (1990; "Love & Curses"), for which he also served as an executive consultant. The show that starred Kate Hodge and Neil Dickson was short-lived.
1992 marked Garris' first collaboration with Stephen King when he directed "Stephen King's’ Sleepwalkers" based on an unpublished King's novel. The horror film, which starred Brian Krause, Alice Krige, and Mädchen Amick, won Best Film and Best Direction at Fantafestival. Garris would later collaborate with King in 1994 when he helmed the popular TV miniseries based on King's 1978 best selling post-apocalyptic fiction novel, "The Stand.”
After making his acting debut in a bit role in Sam Raimi's Western "The Quick and the Dead" (1995; starring Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, and Leonardo DiCaprio), Garris directed the four part TV miniseries remake of Stephen King's 1977 horror novel, "The Shining" (released in 1996; aired on ABC in 1997). He then collaborated with director Stan Winston co-scripting and providing the story for the short film "Michael Jackson's 'Ghosts'" (1996). The following year, he wrote, produced, and directed the TV movie "Quicksilver Highway" (1997; starring Christopher Lloyd), which is based on Clive Barker's short story "The Body Politic" and Stephen King's short story "Chattery Teeth." The film received an International Fantasy Film Award - Best Film nomination from Fantasporto.
In 1998, Garris produced, wrote, and directed the ABC science fiction TV movie based on Peter James' novel, "Virtual Obsession," starring Peter Gallagher and Mimi Rogers, and co-wrote, directed, and produced the NBC series "The Others" in 2000.
2004 saw Garris direct, produce and co-write the thriller movie adaptation of Stephen King's 2000 novella set in Halloween 1969, "Riding the Bullet," starring Jonathan Jackson and David Arquette. Afterward, he created the anthology television series "Masters of Horror," which was broadcasted on the Showtime cable network from October 28, 2005, until February 2, 2007, and the suspenseful anthology television series "Fear Itself," which aired on NBC between June 5, 2008, and July 31, 2008. He also co-created the science fiction anthology TV series "Masters of Science Fiction," which was briefly shown on ABC.
Garris is currently producing "From a Buick 8," an upcoming film adaptation of Stephen King's 2002 horror novel helmed by veteran director Tobe Hooper. He is also sitting in the director's chair (with Joe Dante) for the documentary "Trailers from Hell" and "Bag of Bones," an upcoming adaptation of Stephen King's 1998 novel. On screen, he will appear as himself in the upcoming documentaries, "Tales from the Script," "The Psycho Legacy," "Into the Dark: Exploring the Horror Film," and "Dead On: The Life and Cinema of George A. Romero."
Garris, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award at New York City Horror Film Festival in 2006, has written two novels, “A Life In Cinema” (2001) and “Development Hell” (2006).
"Horror is all about a visceral response and the visceral response becomes increasingly difficult over the course of the years. I don't think the original 'Dracula' is going to cause a whole lot of goose bumps. However, a movie like 'The Sixth Sense,' where you see virtually no blood, no violence, is incredibly powerful, a really great horror film that is genuinely frightening and suspenseful. I think there's a great tradition of the [Palecki] independence, the guys who have to grab attention by screaming the loudest, that led to the grind house cinema of the '70s that I think that Rodriguez and Tarantino are glorifying because there was so much vitality and life and wildness and this unbridled sense of 'We can do whatever we want to do' and screaming for attention like a kid crying for its bottle. I think horror is supposed to be rude. It's supposed to break the rules and it's one of the reasons that it has such a large adolescent and young adult audience, is because it's a breakaway genre. It is to movies what rock and roll is to classical music." Mick Garris
New York City Horror Film Festival: Lifetime Achievement Award, 2006
Fantafestival: Best Film, "Sleepwalkers," 1992
Fantafestival: Best Direction, "Sleepwalkers," 1992
Edgar Allan Poe: Best Television Episode, "The Amazing Falsworth," "Amazing Stories," 1986