Michael Dougherty

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael Dougherty
Michael Dougherty by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Dougherty at the 2019 WonderCon
Michael Patrick Dougherty

(1974-10-28) October 28, 1974 (age 48)
  • Film director
  • screenwriter
  • producer
  • comic book creator
Years active1996–present

Michael Patrick Dougherty (born October 28, 1974) is a writer, director, animator, and producer known for his work in a variety of genre films, both big and small. Beginning his career as an animator and illustrator, Dougherty’s animated work was featured on MTV, Nickelodeon, and a line of twisted greeting cards published by NobleWorks. He then co-wrote the blockbusters X-Men 2 and Superman Returns before making his directorial debut with the classic horror comedy, Trick ‘r Treat (2009), starring Anna Paquin, Dylan Baker, and Brian Cox. Trick ‘r Treat has since become a perennial favorite that has spawned a growing line of toys, comics, theme park attractions, and Halloween decor, and a sequel is in development with Legendary Pictures. Dougherty later set his sights on Christmas, which resulted in Krampus (2015), a holiday horror comedy starring Toni Collette, Adam Scott, David Koechner, and Allison Tolman. Much like Trick ‘r Treat, Krampus has become an annual holiday classic.[1] Most recently, Dougherty co-wrote and directed the blockbuster Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) starring Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, and Ken Watanabe, and co-wrote the story for its sequel, Godzilla vs. Kong (2021), starring Brian Tyree Henry, Rebecca Hall, and Alexander Skaarsgaard. Collectively, Dougherty's work has grossed over 1.7 billion dollars at the box office.[2]

Early life[edit]

Dougherty was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. He attended the Tisch School of Arts at New York University in the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, which is where he produced his 1996 short film Season's Greetings.[3] He is of Vietnamese descent on his mother's side[4] and Irish and Hungarian descent on his father's.


Dougherty made his directorial and writing debut with the animated short film Season's Greetings, which was released in 1996.[5] The hand drawn short film marked the debut of "Sam", the pint-sized spirit of Halloween who would later become the star of Trick 'r Treat.

Dougherty went on to co-write several screenplays, including the superhero sequel X2, which was released in 2003.[6] He also co-wrote the screenplay for the 2005 supernatural horror film Urban Legends: Bloody Mary, and Superman Returns, which was released in 2006.[7]

Dougherty made his feature directorial debut with the cult horror anthology film Trick 'r Treat. It played at several film festivals, before being released on DVD on October 6, 2009 in the US and Canada.[8] It received acclaim and went on to gain a cult following in subsequent years, before finally being released theatrically in October 2022.[9] The short film Season's Greetings, which was the precursor to Trick 'r Treat, was released as a DVD extra and was aired on FEARnet in October 2013 as part of a 24-hour Trick 'r Treat marathon on Halloween.[10]

In December 2014, he began work on the Christmas horror film Krampus, which was released to moderate critical and commercial success in December 2015,[11] and the film has since grown to become a holiday favorite. He also co-wrote the story for the film X-Men: Apocalypse (2016). Dougherty directed the science fiction sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters, for which he wrote the script with Zach Shields, from a story he co-wrote with Shields and Max Borenstein.[12][13][14][15] The film was released in 2019, to mixed reviews and grossed $386 million worldwide.

In April 2020, HBO was announced to be developing a Hellraiser television series that would serve as "an elevated continuation and expansion" of its mythology, with Mark Verheiden and Dougherty writing and David Gordon Green directing several episodes. The three will executive produce with Danny McBride, Jody Hill, Brandon James and Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment.[16]

Dougherty also co-wrote the story for Godzilla vs. Kong with Zach Shields and Terry Rossio. The film was released in May 2021 to generally positive reviews and grossed over $468 million[17] worldwide.


Year Title Director Writer Producer
2003 X2 No Yes No
2005 Urban Legends: Bloody Mary No Yes No
2006 Superman Returns No Yes No
2007 Trick 'r Treat Yes Yes Executive
2015 Krampus Yes Yes Yes
2016 X-Men: Apocalypse No Story No
2019 Godzilla: King of the Monsters Yes Yes No
2021 Godzilia vs. Kong No Story No

Comic books[edit]

Dougherty has a long history with comic books, both as a fan and as a writer. Two of his early screenwriting credits, X-Men 2 and Superman Returns were based on the classic Marvel and DC characters, while his original feature films spawned their own graphic novels.

Trick 'r Treat: Days of the Dead (2015)

Co-written with Todd Casey, Zach Shields and Marc Andeyko, Trick 'r Treat: Days of the Dead featured four new short stories, spanning centuries, all of which feature the film's mascot character, Sam. They depict a variety of characters and cultures and how they celebrate Halloween, going back to the holiday's roots in ancient Ireland. Trick 'r Treat: Days of the Dead was a New York Times best seller,[18] debuting at number nine on its list of paperback graphic novels.

Krampus: Shadow of Saint Nicholas (2015)

Published as a tie-in to Krampus, Krampus: Shadow of Saint Nicholas featured three stories which expand the mythology of the Krampus creature, and was co-written by Todd Casey, Zach Shields, and Laura Shields.


Year Association Category Work Result
1997 Chicago International Film Festival Student Animated Short Season's Greetings Won
2004 Saturn Awards Best Writing X2 Nominated
Hugo Awards Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form Nominated
2007 Saturn Awards[19] Best Writing Superman Returns Won
2008 Screamfest Horror Film Festival Audience Award Trick 'r Treat Won
2009 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards Best Film Nominated
Fright Meter Awards Best Director[20] Won
Best Screenplay Nominated
2015 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards Best Movie Krampus Nominated
2016 Horror Society Awards Best Horror Film Nominated
Fright Meter Awards Best Director Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Wide-Release Film Nominated


  1. ^ Horn, Michael Donovan (December 25, 2022). "Michael Dougherty's 'Krampus' Is a Holiday Horror Classic". Collider. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  2. ^ "Michael Dougherty - Box Office". The Numbers. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  3. ^ TRICK 'R TREATing with Michael Dougherty Archived October 28, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ @Mike_Dougherty (May 11, 2020). "This is my mom. She fled Vietnam during the war so I could know the joys of pizza, Halloween, and horror movies. Th…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  5. ^ "Cool Horror Videos: Michael Dougherty's Season's Greetings – the short that inspired Trick 'R Treat". JoBlo. October 23, 2013. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  6. ^ Grove, Martin A. (April 11, 2003). "Fox's X2 marks spot as presummer starts May 2". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  7. ^ Jeff Jensen (June 23, 2006). "Greatest American Hero?". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 1, 2012.
  8. ^ Stax (April 16, 2003). "10 Questions: Mike Dougherty & Dan Harris". IGN. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  9. ^ "Trick 'R Treat is coming to theaters for the first time ever". The A.V. Club. September 3, 2022. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  10. ^ Lane, David (October 28, 2013). "FEARnet Airing a 24-Hour Marathon of TRICK 'R TREAT's on Halloween with Giveaways and New Content by Director Michael Dougherty". Collider. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  11. ^ Barton, Steve (December 19, 2014). "Mike Dougherty and Legendary Spread Some Christmas Fear". Dreadcentral.com. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  12. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 20, 2016). "Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields to Write 'Godzilla 2' for Legendary (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  13. ^ Hayes, Britt (October 21, 2016). "Exclusive: 'Godzilla 2' May Be Helmed by 'Krampus' Director Michael Dougherty". Screen Crush. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  14. ^ Kroll, Justin (January 23, 2017). "'Godzilla 2' Finds Director in Michael Dougherty". Variety. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  15. ^ "Mike Dougherty Confirms the Title is Godzilla: King of "THE" Monsters". Scified. January 29, 2017. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  16. ^ Throne, Will (April 27, 2020). "'Hellraiser' Series in Development at HBO". Variety. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  17. ^ "Godzilla vs. Kong". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  18. ^ "Paperback Graphic Books - Best Sellers - Books - Oct. 25, 2015 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  19. ^ "'Superman' tops Saturns". Variety. May 10, 2007. Retrieved June 9, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ "2009 Fright Meter Awards". Fright Meter. 2009. Retrieved June 9, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]