There are very few people who you’ll find are a better representative of both the horror community and its filmmakers than Mick Garris. He’s the kind of guy that you just want to sit down with and talk horror for hours upon end. While most of us don’t get the privilege, you can listen to his new podcast on Podcast One, “Post Mortem with Mick Garris.” He’s already sat down with legends including Rob Zombie, Joe Dante, and John Landis.
Garris recently sat down with Nerdist to talk about his career in anthologies and adaptations. After taking on the single season “Fear Itself,” a collection of horror tales for NBC, he wanted to expand in a format that wasn’t restricted by the traditional prime time network. He then went on to create the horror anthology series “Masters of Horror” for Showtime from 2005 to 2007. Each of the 26 episodes was self-contained stories helmed by some of the greatest horror had to offer, including Dario Argento, David Cronenberg, Tom Holland, and Don Coscarelli. He tells of the conception of the series while hosting a series of dinners with an ever-growing sea of horror filmmakers.
“There are a series of dinners that I’ve been putting together and curating for many years that led to the creation of Masters of Horror. It was just a social thing where we’d get together around a table, the only requirement being that you’ve made horror movies that have been released.” But he also added, “The last one was in honor of Wes Craven. There were 35 horror movie directors all in one place, but they ranged in age from nearly 80 to mid-20s, people who were making movies — and that’s been an important thing. A shark must swim or die. I think filmmakers in any community need to continue to evolve or die.”
While most would consider “Masters of Horror” an anthology series, Garris thinks a little different of the term:
“Now, ‘anthology’ means the same cast for one season story arc on a series like American Horror Story and it’ll be a totally different story arc next season,” Garris said, “but for me, I was raised on The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits and Tales from the Crypt; I want a different story every time.”
And he’s not done yet. Being a huge fan of the recent female director-driven XX, he indicated his next film will also be an anthology:
“I’m working on putting together an anthology movie that will be coming together very soon. It’s kind of secret right now but we are well into it and just making something I think, for genre fans of which I count myself one, will be very, very happy with and excited about.”
Garris is also famous for doing what others consider one of the most difficult achievements in a film: adapting famed author Stephen King. Not once, but multiple times, including mini-series for THE STAND, THE SHINING, and BAG OF BONES, he also adapted RIDING THE BULLET, and DESPERATION. So how does one go about adapting one of the most prolific horror writers of our day?
“It’s drama first and the horror is layered on top of that,” Garris shared. “If you don’t treat it like a very real world with very real people then what’s the point? If it’s all about the boo moments, I mean, you can do that anywhere, but if you get good actors and good performances and believable storytelling as the books have, then you’ve got it. King works so well because he has a unique voice and it’s set in a world we can all identify with and we all live in.”
Sounds like pretty solid advice. You can check out the rest of the interview here, where discusses adapting Clive Barker, and a bit about his new podcast, “Post Mortem with Mick Garris, which you can find here.
We can really get behind a new anthology film from Mick Garris. But what we’d really like is to see another “Master of Horror” rise from the grave. With the explosion of horror on television, and premium network and streaming services picking things up left and right, could it possible? What say you, Mick Garris?