Home—2932 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403. Agent—Agency for the Performing Arts, 9000 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Screenwriter, producer, and lawyer. Admitted to the Bar of the State of Arizona. Producer of films, including Poltergeist II: The Other Side, MGM Entertainment, 1986; Great Balls of Fire!, 1989; Marked for Death, Steamroller/Fox, 1990; Sleepwalkers, 1992; and Christina's House, 1999. Producer of television films, including Ufo Abductions, 1991; and Who Killed Atlanta's Children, 2000.
SCREENPLAYS; WITH MICHAEL GRAIS
Death Hunt, Fox, 1981.
(With Steven Spielberg) Poltergeist, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1982.
(And producer with Michael Grais) Poltergeist II: The Other Side, MGM Entertainment Company, 1986.
(And producer with Michael Grais) Marked for Death, Steamroller/Fox, 1990.
(And producer with Michael Grais) Cool World, Paramount, 1992.
Contributor to television scripts such as Baretta, Starsky and Hutch, and Kojak.
Mark Victor, a screenwriter, worked in television in the 1970s before beginning a career writing movie scripts. Some of his best-known works include a string of movies made in the 1980s, among them the box-office hit Poltergeist and Poltergeist II: The Other Side.
Educated as a lawyer in Arizona, Victor and childhood friend Michael Grais wrote scripts for popular television series such as Baretta, Starsky and Hutch, and Kojak. Their first produced movie screenplay was Death Hunt, a 1981 film starring Charles Bronson. The duo teamed with director Steven Spielberg to cow-rite the screenplay for Poltergeist, which became a hit and spawned the sequel. Victor and Grais not only wrote Poltergeist II, they also coproduced the film.
Poltergeist and Poltergeist II feature the terrifying story of the Freeling family. Ghosts haunt the family's house in the first film, eventually taking away the youngest daughter, who is safely returned with the help of a psychic ghost expert. The second movie, released in 1986, picks up where the first film left off, except that the family has moved to Arizona only to find more haunting spirits. While Poltergeist was a hit at the box office upon its release in 1982, Chicago Tribune movie critic Gene Siskel did not enjoy either film, writing of the first movie that "Poltergeist is very good at getting the details of suburban life right—in other words, it sets its stage beautifully—but when it comes time for the terror to begin, the whole thing is very, very silly." Other critics did not agree. Vincent Canby of the New York Times called Poltergeist "a thoroughly enjoyable nightmare" and predicted that "a vast audience of teen-agers and others [will] love this film." Los Angeles Times film critic Sheila Benson declared that the film gives full value for "simple, flatout, roof-rattling fright."
The sequel did not receive nearly as many accolades as its predecessor. David Ansen, in Newsweek, wrote that it "groans under the burden of explanations and expositions, not to mention moral homilies." Although New York Times contributor Nina Darnton noted that "Some scenes … are individually powerful," the overall story is "far-fetched … with an unsatisfying sticky-sweet ending."
Victor teamed again with Grais to write and coproduce the 1990 action movie Marked for Death starring Steven Seagal. The film involves an undercover drug enforcement agent battling in the war against drugs. Movie reviewer Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Writers Michael Grais and Mark Victor, who also produced the picture with Seagal, have not only tailored their slam-bang script to their star's cool bravura persona but also have tapped a new set of villains, the Jamaican drug gangs, so called 'posses,' that are infiltrating America's illicit drug trade." Victor also collaborated with Grais on the 1992 film Cool World, a movie starring Gabriel Byrne, Brad Pitt, and Kim Basinger that mixes animation with live-action sequences.
Victor was an executive producer for the 1989 film Great Balls of Fire, a biography of rock-and-roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis, as well as the 1999 film Christina's House and the 2000 television movie Who Killed Atlanta's Children?
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Film, May, 1986, p. 68.
Chicago Tribune, June 4, 1982, Gene Siskel, review of Poltergeist; May 28, 1986, Gene Siskel, review of Poltergiest II: The Other Side.
Los Angeles Times, June 4, 1982, Sheila Benson, review of Poltergeist; October 8, 1990, Kevin Thomas, review of Marked for Death.
Newsweek, June 2, 1986, David Ansen, review of Poltergeist II: The Other Side, p. 75.
New York Times, June 4, 1982, Vincent Canby, review of Poltergeist; May 23, 1986, Nina Darnton, review of Poltergiest II: The Other Side.
About the Filmmakers,http://members.tripod.com/ (September 13, 2003).*