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Exclusive: Mick Garris talks Post Mortem Podcast, Nightmare Cinema and more!

Mick Garris has the reputation as being one of the nicest guys in horror. And that rep is well-earned. Garris, who has been a screenwriter and director for over 30 years (with credits such as SLEEPWALKERS, THE STAND, THE SHINING and Masters of Horror to his credit), probably has the most impressive list of friends in the business, having collaborated with just about every major player in the sci-fi, fantasy and horror genres in one way or another. Still active behind the camera, Garris is currently well-known for hosting the extremely entertaining podcast Post Mortem, which just found new life on the Blumhouse Podcast Network. The first episode, featuring old friend John Carpenter, just debuted and can be listened to at the bottom of the article.

But before checking that out, please take a look at my informative chat with Garris, where we talk about the new podcast, the new anthology he's working on (NIGHTMARE CINEMA), the other projects he's working on (and projects form the past that he's worked on), Stephen King, Amazing Stories and more!

What can you tell me about the new season of Post Mortem, which recently found a new home on the Blumhouse Podcast Network?

Well, very much a work in progress, but treading similar ground to the original show: mostly it’s a one-on-one conversation with filmmakers who have done landmark work in the genre. John Carpenter is our launch guest. He’s the guy I’ve interviewed more than every other, but every time we talk on the record, it’s a completely different conversation. I’m always learning something new. But we might throw the net a little wider this time around, with perhaps some more input from other parts of the filmmaking process, maybe FX, maybe writers, actors. But still, inside conversation between people who know what it’s like to work in the trenches.

What continues to fuel your interest in interviewing people after all these years?

I always learn something from every one of these podcasts. I have a great deal of curiosity, and always want to be in a state of creative evolution. I love to hear everybody’s process, their inspiration, their intent, their influences. It’s always new and always different. Something that most people don’t think about, though it is obvious if you do, is that directors don’t ever work together. It’s a way to look into the minds of people I admire. I love to learn about what drives people to create.

Out of all your horror pals, who is the best interview subject?

There’s never a dull moment with John Landis, one of the brightest and funniest human beings I’ve ever known. Carpenter is always outspoken and uncensored. I mean, all of them are fascinating in different ways. Though William Friedkin is not a close friend, he’s given me a couple of the best interviews I’ve ever participated in.

Who have you not yet interviewed or gotten to talk to yet that you'd love to?

I’ve talked with a lot of people, even interviewed them in the past, but as far as POST MORTEM goes, I’d love to get Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Robert Rodriguez on. We’ll see. Most of them have said they would, but pinning everyone down is the most difficult part of producing this show.

You have a new anthology on the way called Nightmare Cinema, what can you tell me about the inspiration behind that?

It actually began when Masters of Horror ended. I wanted to follow it up with a series of horror stories, each made in a different country, by filmmakers from those countries. It turned out that I was a bit more ambitious than anyone else was willing to be. So I thought maybe a series of feature films made on modest budgets in different countries would have a better chance. We ended up doing it as an independent theatrical feature made in LA, but filmmakers from around the world and a couple token locals, namely me and Joe Dante. So we have Ryuhei Kitamura of Japan, David Slade from the UK, and Alejandro Brugués from Cuba, each with a very strong filmmaking style and personality. And the writers are a great mix as well: Richard Christian Matheson, Sandra Becerril, from Mexico, with her first English-language script, Lawrence C. Connolly, Alejandro, Slade, and myself.

How long before we get to see Nightmare Cinema? Will it be playing festivals?

We’re putting the finishing touches on it now, doing the sound design and mixing, music, visual FX and all. Yes, it will show in festivals around the world, and in theatrical release sometime this year.

Tell me a little about Mickey Rourke's character in the film.

He plays the Projectionist, a ghostly figure inside an old, deserted, dilapidated, haunted movie theater. He’s the curator of a hundred years of nightmares, trapped in a silver screen that never forgets. Not really the Cryptkeeper, but he’s the guy who guides us from one of the stories to the next. There are five, plus the wraparound scenes.

Of course, you've been involved with several anthologies over the years. What is it about that format that keeps bringing you back?

Most of those have been one story per show, rather than an omnibus like this one. But I love the idea that each one is like a little self-contained movie. Until relatively recent years, I found it hard to get to know and care about those groups of characters in TV series, and I loved that each story and cast and even style would be different from one episode to the next. Having five stories in one movie is just as exciting to me.

I recall reading you were working on a UFO movie called Invasion a while back, is there any update on that?

That one stalled a long time ago. I’d love to see it come back, as it was a period story set in the 1950s, written by a very talented writer name AJ Ferrara. But it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

A new version of The Stand seems inevitable, they've been trying to get one off the ground for a while, what are your thoughts on potentially seeing a new one?

I’d love to see what could be done with a full studio budget. They tried for 15 years to make it for the big screen before we ended up doing it as a miniseries, but I’d love to see what it could be with the budget and attention it deserves.

Are you working on any new Stephen King adaptations?

I’m working on something that isn’t set up yet, a possible TV series, but that’s all I can say at the moment.

Another notable title that is getting remade is Amazing Stories, which of course you worked on years ago. Any thoughts on that? Would you like to be involved if possible?

I was very sorry to hear that Bryan Fuller is no longer involved. We actually talked about me doing one, but nothing definitive. I would love to do one. That was my first professional job as a screenwriter, and my second as a director. It was the most incredible job I ever could have had, and it was my film school, with Steven Spielberg, Bob Zemeckis, Martin Scorcese, Joe Dante, and a bunch of other remarkable filmmakers working as my professors. All but Steven directed scripts that I wrote.

Having been in Hollywood for so many years, I'm sure there have been plenty of projects that just never got made for one reason or another. Any that really stand out as movies or TV series that you wish had been made, or want to revisit?

Oh, sure. I wrote a 4-hour TV version of King and Straub’s The Talisman that is one of my favorite things I’ve ever written, but it was too expensive for the network at the time. I’d love to do one of my first scripts — the one that got me my job on Amazing Stories — called Uncle Willie. And I’d love to adapt my book, Salome, as a feature. That’s the tip of the iceberg.

Extra Tidbit: Are you a Post Mortem listener?

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