Mike Flanagan (filmmaker)

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Mike Flanagan
Mike Flanagan (Director).jpg
Flanagan on the set of Before I Wake in 2014
Born (1978-05-20) May 20, 1978 (age 44)
EducationTowson University (BA)
Years active2000–present
(m. 2016)
WebsiteOfficial website

Mike Flanagan (born May 20, 1978)[1][2] is an American filmmaker and partner in Intrepid Pictures. Flanagan's work has attracted the praise of critics for his directing and lack of reliance on jump scares; Stephen King, Quentin Tarantino and William Friedkin, among others, have praised him.[3][4][5][6][7]

Flanagan is best known for his horror films, all of which he directed, wrote, and edited, including Absentia (2011), Oculus (2013), Hush, Before I Wake, Ouija: Origin of Evil (all 2016), Gerald's Game (2017), and Doctor Sleep (2019). He is also known for having created, produced and served as showrunner on the Netflix supernatural horror anthology series The Haunting which consists of The Haunting of Hill House (2018), a season based on Shirley Jackson's novel of the same name[8] and The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020), a season based on the horror novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, both of which he has directed, written and edited episodes of. Flanagan also created and directed the Netflix horror mini-series Midnight Mass (2021), as well as the upcoming series The Midnight Club.

Flanagan is married to actress Kate Siegel, who has been featured in most of his works since Oculus; they also wrote the screenplay of Hush together.

Early life[edit]

Flanagan was born in 1978 in Salem, Massachusetts. His father was in the United States Coast Guard, and the family moved around often. Although he only briefly lived in Salem, it left an impression on him, and Flanagan retained an abiding interest in both the Salem witch trials and associated topics, such as ghost stories and horror fiction. Flanagan eventually ended up in Maryland, where he was a student at Archbishop Spalding High School and later attended Towson University.[2] He graduated with a BA in Electronic Media & Film and a minor in theater.[9]


Flanagan's student films were more oriented toward melodrama. He later characterized them as "unfit for public consumption" but said that they were "incredible learning experiences".[2] His first film directed after graduation, Ghosts of Hamilton Street (2003), was filmed in Maryland and featured local actors,[10] including Scott Graham, whom Flanagan met at Towson. Graham would go on to star in Flanagan's 2006 short film, Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan, which he made for $1500.[9]

Flanagan originally intended for the Oculus story to be told in a series of short films, but he could not find the financing. Instead, he shot the chapter that included a back story and used that to demonstrate that he could direct a horror film. The short proved popular at film festivals, and producers were interested in developing the concept; however, they either wanted to shoot it as a found footage film or rejected Flanagan's stipulation that he direct the feature-length adaptation. Flanagan directed Absentia (2011), which was financed through a Kickstarter campaign, in response to this rejection.[2]

Made for $70,000, and filmed in his Glendale, California, apartment, Absentia was released direct-to-video but gained popularity when Netflix offered it on their streaming service.[11] After the surprise success of Absentia, Flanagan returned to Oculus, which he again shopped around. Intrepid Pictures took an interest in the concept and agreed to let Flanagan direct. The feature version of Oculus was filmed in 2012 and released theatrically by Relativity Media in 2014.[12]

After Oculus, Flanagan shot his next film, Before I Wake, in 2013. The film was acquired by Relativity Media in 2014, and was originally scheduled to be released on May 8, 2015, but was pushed back to September 25, 2015 and later pulled from the schedule due to the company's filing for bankruptcy. After a year in bankruptcy court, Relativity then announced the film would be released on April 8, 2016, but did not release the film on the promised date, as the company struggled to get back on its feet.[13] The film was then scheduled to be released on September 9, 2016, but three weeks prior to that date, Relativity once again pulled the film from the schedule, prompting a public argument between Flanagan and Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh on Twitter. Kavanaugh claimed the Sept 9 date was a "bad date," while Flanagan suggested that Relativity wasn't financially able to release the film.[14] Relativity never did release the film, as Kavanaugh sold Relativity to Singapore-based social networking platform YuuZoo in October 2016.[15] Netflix eventually acquired the rights and released the film in January 2018.[16]

Flanagan wrote and directed Ouija: Origin of Evil, which starred Elizabeth Reaser, Henry Thomas, and Annalise Basso.[17] Production began in September 2015, and the film was released in October 2016, and grossed over $81 million worldwide.[18] Around the same time, it was revealed that Flanagan had been working on a "secret project" called Hush. Written in 2014 and filmed in March 2015, the project was kept confidential until a screening at the Toronto Film Festival.[19] Written by Flanagan and lead actress Kate Siegel, and also starring John Gallagher Jr., Michael Trucco, and Samantha Sloyan, the film had its world premiere at SXSW in March, 2016, and was released exclusively on Netflix on April 8, 2016, to positive reviews. In 2017, Flanagan directed, wrote, and edited the psychological horror film Gerald's Game, based on the 1992 novel of the same title by Stephen King. The film was released on Netflix on September 29, 2017 to critical acclaim.[20] King called the film "hypnotic, horrifying and terrific" after watching the rough cut.[21]

In 2018, Flanagan created, directed, produced, edited, and wrote the Netflix supernatural horror series The Haunting of Hill House, based on Shirley Jackson's novel of the same name.[8] In 2019, Flanagan wrote and directed the horror film Doctor Sleep, based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King, itself the sequel to his previous novel The Shining. Ewan McGregor stars as the older version of Danny Torrance in the film, which was released in November.[22][23] In February 2019, The Haunting of Hill House was renewed for a stand-alone second season, titled The Haunting of Bly Manor, based on the novel The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.[24] It premiered in 2020.[25] Around the same time it was also announced that Flanagan had joined frequent collaborator Trevor Macy as a partner in Intrepid Pictures, and that the duo had signed an exclusive overall deal with Netflix to produce television content.[26]

In July 2019, as part of that overall deal, Netflix ordered Flanagan's original horror series Midnight Mass.[27] Flanagan wrote, directed and served as showrunner on the 7-episode series, which was released in September 2021 to critical acclaim after a production delay in 2020 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.[28]

Upcoming projects[edit]

In May 2020, it was announced that Flanagan would adapt numerous novels by Christopher Pike into a new series, titled The Midnight Club for Netflix. Flanagan co-created the series and will serve as executive producer and showrunner.[29] In April 2021, Flanagan was announced to be developing a film for Universal Pictures based on another Christopher Pike novel The Season of Passage.[30] In July 2021, it was announced that Flanagan would adapt comic book series Something Is Killing the Children for Netflix. Flanagan will write and executive produce the series along with Trevor Macy. In October of that year, it was announced that Flanagan will create The Fall of the House of Usher, an eight episode limited series for Netflix that will be based on the short story of the same name and other works by Edgar Allan Poe. Flanagan will direct four episodes of the series, with the other four being helmed by his longtime cinematographer Michael Fimognari.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Flanagan was formerly in a relationship with Absentia actress Courtney Bell, with whom he has a son.[32] Since February 2016, he has been married to actress Kate Siegel, with whom he has two children, one son and one daughter.[33][32][34]

Flanagan spent years studying various religions. His father served in the Coast Guard, during which the family lived on Governors Island.[35]



Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Writer Editor Producer
2000 Makebelieve Yes Yes Yes No Student film
Also composer
2001 Still Life Yes Yes Yes Yes
2003 Ghosts of Hamilton Street Yes Yes Yes No Student film
2006 Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan Yes Yes Uncredited Yes Short film
2011 Absentia Yes Yes Yes Yes
2013 Oculus Yes Yes Yes No
2016 Hush Yes Yes Yes No
Before I Wake Yes Yes Yes No
Ouija: Origin of Evil Yes Yes Yes No
2017 Dobaara: See Your Evil No Story No Executive Indian remake of Oculus
Gerald's Game Yes Yes Yes No
2019 Doctor Sleep Yes Yes Yes No
TBA The Season of Passage Yes Yes TBA Yes


Title Year Credited as Notes
Creator Director Writer Editor Executive
Untold Stories of the E.R. 2005 No No No Associate No Documentary series
Also editor of episode: "How Can This Happen?"
Bone Detectives 2007 No No No Yes No Documentary series
Your Place or Mine? 2008 No No No Yes No Reality television series
Super Swank No No No Yes No Documentary series
Machines of Malice 2008–2009 No No No Yes No
Pinks: All Out 2009 No No No Yes No Reality television series
Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles No No No Yes No
Most Daring 2009–2010 No No No Yes No
Design School 2010 No No No Yes No
Hot in Cleveland No No No Yes No Episode: "Behind the Hotness"
The Haunting of Hill House 2018 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 10 episodes
Edited episode: "Steven Sees a Ghost"
The Haunting of Bly Manor 2020 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Wrote and directed episode: "The Great Good Place"
Edited episodes: "The Pupil," "The Romance of Certain Old Clothes," "The Beast in the Jungle"
Midnight Mass 2021 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
The Midnight Club 2022 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Post-production
The Fall of the House of Usher 2022 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Post-production
Something Is Killing the Children TBA Yes Yes Yes TBA Yes

Recurring collaborators[edit]

Selena Anduze ☒N ☒N
Crystal Balint ☒N ☒N ☒N
Annalise Basso ☒N ☒N
Courtney Bell ☒N ☒N ☒N
Matt Biedel ☒N ☒N ☒N
Ruth Codd ☒N ☒N
Kyliegh Curran ☒N ☒N
Annarah Cymone ☒N ☒N
Alex Essoe ☒N ☒N ☒N
James Flanagan ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N
Aya Furukawa ☒N ☒N
Zach Gilford ☒N ☒N ☒N
Annabeth Gish ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N
Bruce Greenwood ☒N ☒N ☒N
Carla Gugino ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N
Oliver Jackson-Cohen ☒N ☒N
Doug Jones ☒N ☒N
Rahul Kohli ☒N ☒N ☒N
Robert Longstreet ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N
Carl Lumbly ☒N ☒N
Violet McGraw ☒N ☒N
T'Nia Miller ☒N ☒N
Catherine Parker ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N
Victoria Pedretti ☒N ☒N
Elizabeth Reaser ☒N ☒N
Igby Rigney ☒N ☒N ☒N
Sauriyan Sapkota ☒N ☒N
Kate Siegel ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N
Samantha Sloyan ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N
Carel Struycken ☒N ☒N
Henry Thomas ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N
Jacob Tremblay ☒N ☒N
Michael Trucco ☒N ☒N ☒N
Lulu Wilson ☒N ☒N ☒N
Michael Fimognari ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N
James Kniest ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N
The Newton Brothers ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N
Jason Blum ☒N ☒N ☒N
Trevor Macy ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N


  1. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes: Movies | TV Shows | Movie Trailers | Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes".
  2. ^ a b c d Barone, Matt (April 10, 2014). "Fear the Glass: The Making of "Oculus," the Best Haunted Mirror Movie You'll Ever See". Complex. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  3. ^ "Stephen King Gets Loud About HUSH". Dread Central. April 21, 2016. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
  4. ^ "Tarantino Dubs DOCTOR SLEEP One of the Best Films of the Year". Dread Central. December 4, 2019. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
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  18. ^ "BoxOfficeMojo". boxofficemojo.com.
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  20. ^ "Gerald's Game (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
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  22. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (January 26, 2018). "Mike Flanagan To Helm Stephen King's 'The Shining' Sequel 'Doctor Sleep'". Deadline. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  23. ^ "Ewan McGregor to Star in New 'Shining' Movie 'Doctor Sleep' (EXCLUSIVE)". June 13, 2018.
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  25. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (February 21, 2019). "Title of 'The Haunting' 2nd Installment Revealed; Anthology Heads To Bly Manor". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  26. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 21, 2019). "'The Haunting' Renewed For Season 2 as Mike Flanagan & Trevor Macy Partner in Intrepid Pictures & Ink Netflix Overall Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  27. ^ "Netflix Orders Midnight Mass from Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy". Deadline.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. ^ Hermanns, Grant (March 13, 2020). "Netflix Delays Production on Mike Flanagan's Midnight Mass". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  29. ^ Otterson, Joe (May 5, 2020). "'The Haunting of Bly Manor' Team to Adapt 'Midnight Club' as Netflix Series". Variety. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  30. ^ "Mike Flanagan to Direct The Season of Passage for Universal Pictures and Intrepid Pictures". Deadline.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  31. ^ Squires, John. ""The Fall of the House of Usher": Netflix and Mike Flanagan Developing Series Based on Edgar Allan Poe Stories!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  32. ^ a b "Bio". MikeFlanagan.com. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
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  34. ^ @flanaganfilm (December 3, 2018). "Today, Kate and I welcomed our..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  35. ^ "Mike Flanagan Explores His Private Horrors in 'Midnight Mass'". New York Times. September 24, 2021. Retrieved January 27, 2022.

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