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 42)
EducationArchbishop Spalding High School
Alma materTowson University
Years active2000–present
(m. 2016)

Mike Flanagan (born May 20, 1978)[1][2] is an American filmmaker and partner in Intrepid Pictures. He 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).

Flanagan also created, directed, produced, wrote, and edited the Netflix supernatural horror series The Haunting of Hill House (2018), based on Shirley Jackson's novel of the same name.[3] He has also spearheaded the stand-alone second season, titled The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020), based on the horror novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.

Flanagan's work has attracted the praise of critics for his directing, focus on characters and themes rarely depicted in horror, and lack of reliance on jump scares; Stephen King, Quentin Tarantino and William Friedkin, among others, have praised him.[4][5][6][7][8] He 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. 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.[3] 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. Flanagan will write, direct, and serve as executive producer and showrunner on the 7-episode series.[27] It was scheduled to begin production in March 2020, but was temporarily shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[28] Production began five months later on August 17, 2020, making Midnight Mass one of the first productions to resume in Vancouver.[29] 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 execute producer and showrunner.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Flanagan was formerly in a relationship with Absentia actress Courtney Bell, with whom he has a son.[31] Since February 2016, he has been married to actress Kate Siegel, with whom he has two children, one son and one daughter.[32][31][33]



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


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 TBA Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Upcoming series
The Midnight Club TBA Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Upcoming series

Recurring collaborators[edit]

Actor Absentia Oculus Before I Wake Hush Ouija: Origin of Evil Gerald's Game The Haunting of Hill House Doctor Sleep The Haunting of Bly Manor Midnight Mass
Selena Anduze ☒N ☒N
Annalise Basso ☒N ☒N
Courtney Bell ☒N ☒N ☒N
Alex Essoe ☒N ☒N ☒N
James Flanagan ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N
Annabeth Gish ☒N ☒N ☒N
Bruce Greenwood ☒N ☒N
Carla Gugino ☒N ☒N ☒N
Oliver Jackson-Cohen ☒N ☒N
Rahul Kohli ☒N ☒N
Robert Longstreet ☒N ☒N ☒N
Violet McGraw ☒N ☒N
Catherine Parker ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N
Victoria Pedretti ☒N ☒N
Elizabeth Reaser ☒N ☒N
Kate Siegel ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N
Samantha Sloyan ☒N ☒N ☒N
Carel Struycken ☒N ☒N
Henry Thomas ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N
Jacob Tremblay ☒N ☒N
Michael Trucco ☒N ☒N
Lulu Wilson ☒N ☒N
Michael Fimognari ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N ☒N
James Kniest ☒N ☒N ☒N
The Newton Brothers ☒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


  1. ^ https://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/mike_flanagan/
  2. ^ a b c d Barone, Matt (2014-04-10). "Fear the Glass: The Making of "Oculus," the Best Haunted Mirror Movie You'll Ever See". Complex. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
  3. ^ a b "Netflix Orders TV Series Adaptation Of 'The Haunting of Hill House' Book From Mike Flanagan, Amblin TV & Paramount TV". Deadline. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Stephen King Gets Loud About HUSH". Dread Central. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
  5. ^ "Tarantino Dubs DOCTOR SLEEP One of the Best Films of the Year". Dread Central. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  6. ^ @WilliamFriedkin (5 December 2016). ""HUSH is a great horror film...on Netflix. Terrifying."" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Zinski, Dan (February 12, 2017). "Stephen King: Netflix's Gerald's Game Movie is 'Horrifying, Hypnotic'". Screen Rant. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  8. ^ Laughrey, Clarisse (October 17, 2018). "Stephen King calls new Netflix horror The Haunting of Hill House 'close to a work of genius'". The Independent. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Miller, Mark L. (2011-02-18). "Bug talks with Mike Flanagan Writer/Director of OCULUS and ABSENTIA!". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
  10. ^ "Made in Maryland". The Baltimore Sun. 2006-11-01. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
  11. ^ Schwartzel, Erich (2013-09-15). "Cheap Horror Movies Make a Killing". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
  12. ^ Barton, Steve (2014-01-27). "Exclusive: Mike Flanagan Reflects on the Horrors of Oculus". Dread Central. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
  13. ^ Vlessing, Elan (2014-05-20). "Cannes: Entertainment One Acquires Trio of Films for Canada". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
  14. ^ Donnelly, Matt (2016-08-16). "Ryan Kavanaugh, 'Before I Wake' Director Spar Over Another Relativity Date Shuffle". The Wrap. Retrieved 2016-08-17.
  15. ^ "Ryan Kavanaugh's Relativity Media To Be Sold". Los Angeles Business Journal. Retrieved 2017-01-12.
  16. ^ Collis, Clark (2017-12-13). "Repeatedly-delayed Jacob Tremblay horror movie Before I Wake coming to Netflix". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  17. ^ Barton, Mike (2015-04-30). "'Ouija' Sequel Conjures 'Oculus' Director and Star". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  18. ^ "BoxOfficeMojo". boxofficemojo.com.
  19. ^ Mack, Andrew (2015-09-12). "Toronto 2015: Mike Flanagan's 'Secret Project' HUSH Creates Buzz At Buyers Screening". Twitch Film. Archived from the original on 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  20. ^ "Gerald's Game (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  21. ^ Zinski, Dan (February 12, 2017). "Stephen King: Netflix's Gerald's Game Movie is 'Horrifying, Hypnotic'". Screen Rant. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  22. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (January 26, 2018). "Mike Flanagan To Helm Stephen King's 'The Shining' Sequel 'Doctor Sleep'". Deadline. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  23. ^ https://variety.com/2018/film/news/ewan-mcgregor-shining-sequel-1202838484/
  24. ^ Otterson, Joe (February 21, 2019). "'Haunting of Hill House' Renewed as Anthology, Creators Ink Overall TV Deal at Netflix". Variety. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  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. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 1, 2019). "Netflix Orders 'Midnight Mass' Series from Mike Flanagan & Treor Macy". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  28. ^ Hermanns, Grant (March 13, 2020). "Netflix Delays Production on Mike Flanagan's Midnight Mass". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  29. ^ Baxter, Joseph (August 17, 2020). "Mike Flanagan Netflix Series Midnight Mass Starts Production". Den of Geek. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  30. ^ Otterson, Joe (May 5, 2020). "'The Haunting of Bly Manor' Team to Adapt 'Midnight Club' as Netflix Series". Variety. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  31. ^ a b "Bio". MikeFlanagan.com. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  32. ^ Peitzman, Louis (April 11, 2016). "Meet the Filmmaker Who Wants to Save Horror From Cheap Scares". BuzzFeed. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  33. ^ https://twitter.com/flanaganfilm/status/1069714954977038337

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