Farris, John 1936-

views updated

FARRIS, John 1936-

(Steve Brackeen)

PERSONAL: Born 1936, in MO; married, wife's name Mary Ann; children: one son.

ADDRESSES: Home—Atlanta, GA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Tom Doherty Associates, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

CAREER: Novelist, playwright, and screenwriter.



The Corpse Next Door, Graphic (New York, NY), 1956.

Harrison High, Rinehart (New York, NY), 1959.

The Long Light of Dawn, Putnam (New York, NY), 1962.

King Windom, Trident (New York, NY), 1967.

When Michael Calls, Trident (New York, NY), 1967.

The Captors, Trident (New York, NY), 1969.

The Trouble at Harrison High, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1972.

Sharp Practice, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1974.

The Fury, Playboy Press (Chicago, IL), 1976, reprinted, Forge (New York, NY), 2000.

All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By, Playboy Press (Chicago, IL), 1978, published as Bad Blood, Gollancz (London, England), 1989.

Shatter, Allen (London, England), 1980.

Catacombs, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1981.

The Uninvited, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1982.

Son of the Endless Night, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1985.

Minotaur, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1985.

Wildwood, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1986.

Nightfall, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1987.

The Axman Cometh, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Fiends, Dark Harvest (Arlington Heights, IL), 1990.

Sacrifice, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1994.

Dragonfly, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1995.

Soon She Will Be Gone, Forge (New York, NY), 1997.

Solar Eclipse, Tom Doherty Associates (New York, NY), 1999.

The Fury and the Terror, Forge (New York, NY), 2001.

The Fury and the Power, Forge (New York, NY), 2003.


The Body on the Beach, Mystery House, 1957.

Baby Moll, Crest (New York, NY), 1958.

Danger in My Blood, Crest (New York, NY), 1959.

Delfina, Gold Medal (New York, NY), 1962.

The Guardians, Holt (New York, NY), 1964.


The Death of the Well-Loved Boy (two-act play), first produced off-Broadway at St. Mark's Playhouse, 1967.

Dear Dead Deliah (screenplay), 1972.

The Fury (screenplay; adapted from his novel of same title), Twentieth Century-Fox, 1978.

Scare Tactics (short stories), Tor Books (New York, NY), 1988, expanded edition, 1989.

Contributor of articles to magazines.

SIDELIGHTS: Perhaps John Farris's best known novel is The Fury, first published in 1976 and later adapted by the author as a screenplay. The story "concerns two siblings who have psychic powers," noted Don D'Ammassa in the St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers, "and who are ruthlessly exploited by an evil man who sees them as a tool to securing personal power for himself." In this and his other horror novels, Farris, D'Ammassa observed, "has proved himself capable of writing gripping, often unusual stories which took familiar themes in unfamiliar directions."

Among Farris's most popular novels are All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By, The Uninvited, and Wildwood. The first of these novels concerns a family in the Old South who have become entangled in black magic. D'Ammassa pointed out that the novel was "one of the first modern horror novels to explicitly examine the sexuality implicit in most horror themes." The Uninvited tells of a young woman whose fiance has died. But when he returns from the dead to console her in her time of sorrow, the situation soon becomes far more than either of them can handle. D'Ammassa called The Uninvited "an excellent, chilling story of the supernatural." Wildwood concerns a family estate which seems to be haunted by unholy creatures from the nearby woods. "Monsters and magic notwithstanding," wrote D'Ammassa, "the most terrifying sequences are those in which we begin to question the sanity of the protagonist in this fine blend of psychological and supernatural horror."

Dragonfly is the story of a con man who specializes in swindling marriage-minded wealthy women. He meets his match when he romances a wheelchair-bound Georgia writer with a shady family. "Never letting up on the suspense," noted a critic for Publishers Weekly, "Farris piles one Grand Guignol moment on top of another with unerring dexterity, a keen knowledge of human nature and a wicked sense of humor."



St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998.


Best Sellers, May, 1967; November, 1967; October 1, 1969; July, 1978.

Booklist, June 1, 1999, David Pitt, review of Solar Eclipse, p. 1799.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 1974; April 15, 1976; June 1, 1999, review of Solar Eclipse, p. 834; February 15, 2001, review of The Fury and the Terror, p. 197; January 1, 2003, review of The Fury and the Power, p. 9.

New Yorker, March 20, 1978.

New York Times Book Review, December 17, 1967; November 9, 1969; December 29, 1974.

Psychology Today, October, 1974.

Publishers Weekly, August 8, 1994, p. 380; August 28, 1995, review of Dragonfly, p. 103; June 16, 1997, p. 47; June 7, 1999, review of Solar Eclipse, p. 74; February 26, 2001, review of The Fury and the Terror, p. 56; February 3, 2003, review of The Fury and the Power, p. 60.

Washington Post Book World, October 12, 1969.*