Farris, John 1936–
Farris, John 1936–
Born 1936, in MO; married; wife's name Mary Ann; children: one son.
Writer, novelist, playwright, and screenwriter.
Bram Stoker Award nominations, Horror Writers Association, 1988, for "Horrorshow" and Scare Tactics, and 2004, for "Hunting Meth Zombies in the Great Nebraskan Wasteland"; Bram Stoker Award for lifetime achievement, 2001.
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.
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.
Phantom Nights, Forge (New York, NY), 2005.
You Don't Scare Me, Forge (New York, NY), 2007.
The Fury, Playboy Press (Chicago, IL), 1976, Forge (New York, NY), 2000.
The Fury and the Terror, Forge (New York, NY), 2001.
The Fury and the Power, Forge (New York, NY), 2003.
UNDER PSEUDONYM STEVE BRACKEEN
The Body on the Beach, Mystery House (New York, NY) 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.
Also author of short stories, including "Horrorshow" and "Hunting Meth Zombies in the Great Nebraskan Wasteland." Contributor of articles to magazines.
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 a St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers contributor, "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, the St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers contributor 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. A St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers contributor 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 fiancé has died. However, 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. The contributor to the St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers 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 the St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers contributor, "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 contributor to 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."
Soon She Will Be Gone revolves around the disappearance of six women. One of the missing women is the sister of U.S. deputy attorney general Coleman Dane. The women have several things in common, including a relationship with architect Dix Trevellian. When former Army investigator Sharan Norbeth is blackmailed by Dane into investigating Trevellian and his family, which harbors some squalid secrets, she soon finds herself in danger. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author "does have a knack for pacing and generally believable characters."
Farris features an ex-DEA agent turned Utah sheriff in his 1999 book, Solar Eclipse. When a family is murdered, Sheriff Tobin Bonner discovers that a strange religious group may be responsible. "Not many suspense novels are as ambitiously intricate as this one; fewer still are as successful," wrote David Pitt in Booklist. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author's "complex denouement is both easy to follow and superbly engrossing"
The author offers a follow-up to The Fury with The Fury and the Terror. This time, psychic Eden Waring has just graduated from college and soon is hiding from MORF, a government agency that wants him for their psychic bioengineering research. The country's First Lady also wants Eden for her own evil purposes. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author "mixes humor with pseudo-science, creating his own world." Eden's adventures continue in The Fury and the Power as the powerful psychic continues to hide from MORG while two U.S. cities are destroyed by nuclear bombs and a satanic part of God wants to absorb the power of Eden's even more powerful twin, Gwen. "Strong cliché-free style, wondrous detail, and gifted moments show Farris chained by genre, a Bernini carving in soap," noted a Kirkus Reviews contributor, who added that the book is "great for the fans."
In Phantom Nights, Farris sets his story in Evening Shade, Tennessee, where U.S. Senate candidate Leland Howard rapes and murders his recently deceased father's nurse, Mally. There is a witness to the crime however—mute Alex Gambler. The teenager lets his brother, Bobby, who is the town sheriff, know what he has seen. However, Bobby is reluctant to investigate the powerful Howard until the murdered woman's father forces him to conduct an inquiry. In the meantime, Mally's ghost is also on hand and can only be talked to by Alex. Ray Olson, writing in Booklist, noted the novel's "engaging characters and deft evocation of early 1950s racism." A Kirkus Reviews contributor referred to the story as "strong, lip-smacking suspense with an occult overwash that more or less avoids genre categorization."
You Don't Scare Me focuses on Chase Emrick, who is haunted by her dead stepfather, the evil Crow Tilman. When Adam Cameron, a Yale campus cop, becomes enamored with Chase, he decides to help free her from Emrick's malevolence. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted the novel has a "killer ending that shows why he's still one of the most dependable writers of horror working today."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998.
Best Sellers, May 1, 1967, review of King Windom, p. 49; November 15, 1967, review of When Michael Calls, p. 334; October 1, 1969, review of The Captors, p. 247; July 1978, review of All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By, p. 102.
Booklist, June 1, 1999, David Pitt, review of Solar Eclipse, p. 1799; February 1, 2005, Ray Olson, review of Phantom Nights, p. 951.
Cosmopolitan, March, 1985, Carol E. Rinzler, review of Son of the Endless Night, p. 28.
Entertainment Weekly, February 25, 2005, Adam B. Vary, review of Phantom Nights, p. 106.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 1974, review of Sharp Practice, p. 823; April 15, 1976, review of The Fury, p. 491; January 1, 2003, review of The Fury and the Power, p. 9; January 1, 2005, review of Phantom Nights, p. 7.
Library Journal, February 15, 1985, Eric W. Johnson, review of Son of the Endless Night, p. 179; July, 1988, A.M.B. Amantia, review of Scare Tactics, p. 92; June 1, 1990, Mark Annichiarico, review of Fiends, p. 176; August, 1994, Marylaine Block, review of Sacrifice, p. 127; March 1, 2007, Karl G. Siewert, review of You Don't Scare Me, p. 72.
Los Angeles Magazine, January, 1982, "He Makes Louis L'Amour Look like a Dawdler," p. 82.
New York Times Book Review, November 9, 1969, review of The Captors, p. 37; December 29, 1974, review of Sharp Practice, p. 21.
Psychology Today, October 1974, review of Sharp Practice, p. 25.
Publishers Weekly, June 5, 1981, Barbara A. Bannon, review of Catacombs, p. 77; December 11, 1981, Sally A. Lodge, review of Shatter, p. 58; April 30, 1982, Sally A. Lodge, review of Catacombs, p. 58; December 21, 1984, review of Son of the Endless Night, p. 82; June 28, 1985, review of Minotaur, p. 71; March 14, 1986, John Mutter, review of Son of the Endless Night, p. 106; March 6, 1987, John Mutter, review of Nightfall, p. 106; June 17, 1988, Sybil Steinberg, review of Scare Tactics, p. 56; April 13, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of Fiends, p. 54; August 8, 1994, review of Sacrifice, p. 380; August 28, 1995, review of Dragonfly, p. 103; June 16, 1997, review of Soon She Will Be Gone, 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; January 10, 2005, review of Phantom Nights, p. 44; February 5, 2007, review of You Don't Scare Me, p. 45.
School Library Journal, October, 1981, George M.A. Cumming, review of Catacombs, p. 160.
Voice of Youth Advocates, December, 1981, review of Catacombs, p. 29; December, 1985, review of The Captors, p. 344; February, 1986, review of Mino-taur, p. 383; October,1987, review of Catacombs, p. 168; October, 1987, review of Nightfall, p. 167; October, 1988, review of Sharp Practice, p. 213; December, 1989, review of The Axman Cometh, p. 287; June, 1990, review of Scare Tactics, p. 114; April, 1991, review of Fiends, p. 42.
Washington Post Book World, October 12, 1969, review of The Captors, p. 16.
Wilson Library Bulletin, March, 1991, Joni Richards Bodart, review of Fiends, p. 3.