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Exclusive: Mick Garris Talks Fear Itself

On plans for the upcoming horror series

The name has changed, but the philosophy remains the same. “It is as filmmaker-oriented as ‘Masters of Horror’ was,” Mick Garris says, discussing his upcoming anthology series for NBC “Fear Itself” (read our previously announcement here). While Garris, who is serving as executive producer, won’t readily go into the details on the ultimate metamorphosis of his previous boob tube scare machine “Master of Horror,” he hints that “Fear Itself” is really not dissimilar from that award-winning, wet, wild ‘n woolly Showtime series birthed in 2005. There’s just a new roof over this series’ head and a new entity behind-the-scenes. “Lionsgate wanted to be in on ‘Masters of Horror’ in the beginning but they didn’t act quickly enough, so when the opportunity to get involved in this came along, they jumped at the chance and figured out a way to make it work.”

“Fear” will feature creative genre figures new and old writing and directing, so expect a few “Masters of Horror” mainstays. “Nothing is locked in with anyone, but there are people who are interested,” teases Garris. “We had another Masters dinner [in Hollywood] and it was great, Lloyd Kaufman was there, Robert Rodriguez was there. I’ve been talking to a lot of people who have been wanting to do episodes all along including Rob Zombie, Ken Russell, Guillermo del Toro and Eli Roth.”

But hasn’t the idea of producing balls-to-the-wall horror television for such a wide restrictive platform like NBC scared Garris, or the potential directors on board, any? Not really. “I had hesitations about going to a commercial network and I had contacted all of the filmmakers who had either worked on ‘Masters of Horror’ or wanted to and said, Look this is happening, what do you want to do? ‘Cause I was prepared not to do it. But everyone, from Zombie to Russell to Roth, said go for it. If they had all declined because they didn’t feel like they were getting the creative freedom they had before then I would have been happy not to do it, Well, I don’t know about happy,” he laughs.

“From what I hear there was a character on ‘Heroes’ who cut the top of people’s heads off to eat their brains!” Garris says, commenting on the rapidly changing face of network television. “It’s not your grandfather’s television, there’s more flexibility.” So that allows “Fear Itself” a little wiggle room to shed some blood, good news for all, however, “Even better is Lionsgate wants to do uncut versions of every episode so when the DVDs come out, each disc will be five to seven minutes longer with uncensored material. And it’s not only censorship issues in this competitive arena of TV we face, we have storytelling challenges where we have to fit forty-three minutes or so to be able to make it work. And I’m a veteran with doing that with the mini-series and other stuff I’ve done [such as 'The Shining' and 'The Stand']. To be able to have a flexible time makes the storytelling a lot better. We’ll make the best show we can for NBC but with the DVD, it’ll be like director’s cuts.”

We’ll have more on what Garris has been up to shortly!

Source: Ryan Rotten