Michael Dougherty

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Michael Dougherty
SDCC 2015 - Michael Dougherty (19545020868) (cropped).jpg
Dougherty at SDCC 2015
Michael Patrick Dougherty

(1974-10-28) October 28, 1974 (age 46)
  • Film director
  • screenwriter
  • producer
  • comic book creator
Years active1996–present

Michael Patrick Dougherty (born October 28, 1974) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and comic book creator. He began his career working alongside Dan Harris on the screenplays for Bryan Singer's superhero films X2 (2003) and Superman Returns (2006), and worked one final time with them on X-Men: Apocalypse (2016).

Dougherty went on to direct, write, and produce the cult horror anthology film Trick 'r Treat (2007), the Christmas horror comedy film Krampus (2015), and the action monster film Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019).[1]

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.[2] He is of Vietnamese descent on his mother's side.[3]


Dougherty made his directorial and writing debut with the short film Season's Greetings, which was released in 1996.[4]

Dougherty went on to co-write several screenplays, including Bryan Singer's superhero sequel film X2, which was released in 2003.[5] He also co-wrote the screenplay for the 2005 supernatural horror film Urban Legends: Bloody Mary. Dougherty re-teamed with Singer, co-writing the story and screenplay for the superhero film Superman Returns, which was released in 2006.[6]

Dougherty made his feature length directorial debut with the cult horror anthology film Trick 'r Treat. The film was based on his own script, and was produced by Singer.[7] 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. 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.[9]

In December 2014, he began work on the Christmas horror film Krampus, which was released to moderate critical and commercial success in December 2015.[10] He also co-wrote the story for the film X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), with Singer, Dan Harris and Simon Kinberg, with Singer once again as director.[11] Dougherty directed the science fiction sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters, for which he wrote the script with Zach Shields, from a story by himself, 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]


Year Film 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 Godzilla vs. Kong No Story No

Short films

Year Film Director Writer Executive
1996 Season's Greetings Yes Yes No Yes
2003 Deadtime Stories Yes Yes No No
2011 Trick 'r Treat: Making Friends Yes Yes Yes No
2012 Trick 'r Treat: Father's Day No Yes Yes No

Comic books[edit]

Bryan Singer, Dougherty and Dan Harris provided the plots to four comic book prequels to Superman Returns. The four forty-page comic book prequels were published by DC Comics throughout the month of June 2006 and bridged the gap between the second Superman film and Superman Returns.

  • Superman Returns: Krypton to Earth – Story by Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty, and Dan Harris
Summary: In the first of the four prequels, fans will revisit the Man of Steel’s origins and witness how the world has been transformed in Superman’s absence.
  • Superman Returns: Ma Kent – Story by Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty, and Dan Harris
Summary: The second special conceived by Bryan Singer and illustrated by Karl Kerschl spotlights the life of the woman who raised the Man of Tomorrow—and explores how she survived a world without Superman.
  • Superman Returns: Lex Luthor – Story by Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty, and Dan Harris
Summary: Lex Luthor always dreamed of a world without a Superman. How will Superman’s arch-nemesis react when he finally gets what he’s wanted for so many years?
  • Superman Returns: Lois Lane – Story by Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty, and Dan Harris
Summary: Lois Lane has loved... and lost... the Man of Steel. How will this intrepid reporter rebound from Superman’s absence?

In 2015, with Todd Casey, Zach Shields and Marc Andeyko, Dougherty co-wrote and created a comic book tie in to Trick 'r Treat, titled Trick 'r Treat: Days of the Dead. It featured four new short stories, spanning centuries, depicting a variety of characters and cultures, going back to the holiday's roots in ancient Ireland. Later that year, with Casey, Zach and Laura Shields, Dougherty published a tie-in to Krampus, titled Krampus: Shadows of Saint Nicholas. It features three stories which expand the mythology of the Krampus.


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 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 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. ^ "The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
  2. ^ TRICK 'R TREATing with Michael Dougherty Archived October 28, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Mike Dougherty". Twitter. May 11, 2020.
  4. ^ "Cool Horror Videos: Michael Dougherty's Season's Greetings – the short that inspired Trick 'R Treat". JoBlo. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Jeff Jensen (June 23, 2006). "Greatest American Hero?". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 1, 2012.
  7. ^ "SDCC 2009 - 'Trick 'r Treat' Director Mike Dougherty". Fearnet.com. January 5, 2015. Archived from the original on August 5, 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  8. ^ Stax (April 16, 2003). "10 Questions: Mike Dougherty & Dan Harris". IGN. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  9. ^ Lane, David. "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.
  10. ^ Barton, Steve (December 19, 2014). "Mike Dougherty and Legendary Spread Some Christmas Fear". Dreadcentral.com. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  11. ^ Lesnick, Silas (September 22, 2014). "Bryan Singer Confirmed to Direct X-Men: Apocalypse". Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  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.

External links[edit]