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Feature: Masters of Horror
Horror Master Class
We meet Mick Garris, who is acting as ringmaster to a gathering of star directors in the new Showtime TV anthology series,
As a teenager, Mick Garris started his writing career penning stories about the rock’n’roll business. Now he’s on a roll in a higher echelon – writing, directing, producing and becoming the show runner for Showtime cable network’s Masters of Horror.
It’s a series of frightening one-hour dramas from some of the finest writers and film-makers in the Horror genre. The shows are currently being filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, to air over the upcoming seasons on Showtime.
Among the writers and directors who have signed on for the ambitious project are such masters of the genre as Tobe Hooper (Texas Chain Saw Massacre); John Carpenter (Halloween); Joe Dante (Gremlins); John Landis (An American Werewolf in London); and George Romero (Night of the Living Dead). Also participating is Roger Corman, lovingly called Hollywood’s mentor, since he has tutored literally dozens of prominent directors early in their careers doing low-budget classics such as Little Shop of Horrors.
Garris, who has directed the Stephen King mini-series The Stand and The Shining, got the idea of putting together all these prolific writers-directors after several informal bi-monthly dinners, and approached Showtime. “Why not work together, utilizing all this talent?” Garris wondered, after many dinners, meetings and phone calls. He said the executives at Showtime have a reputation for taking chances on creative ideas, and embraced the idea.
The shows will be mini-films, all original, from the talented field of participants. “We promise to shock, terrify and captivate even the most discriminating Horror film fans,” Garris insists. Robert Greenblatt, Showtime’s President of Entertainment adds, “It’s really hard to scare audiences these days, but I guarantee that these are the guys who can really do that.”
Garris has the credentials to guide the other writers and film-makers and pull together the Masters of Horror series, having been supervising producer on such programmes as Tales From the Crypt, Amazing Stories, Freddie’s Nightmares, and numerous other shows. He has also been honoured by the Saturn Awards, which acknowledge the best in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror genres. “We should be proud of what we do, and those awards are great for simply putting a top hat and tails on a genre that is usually kicked in the gutter.”
His first job in Hollywood, after his rock’n’roll days, was as a publicist for Science Fiction movies. From there he became a writer of Horror films, and then a director. “That’s the job I wanted all my life.”
by Frank Barron
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