John Farris

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John Farris
BornJohn Lee Farris
(1936-07-26) July 26, 1936 (age 86)
Jefferson City, Missouri
Alma mater Rhodes College
Genre Suspense, horror
Notable worksThe Fury
Mary Ann Pasante

John Lee Farris (born July 26, 1936) is an American novelist, screenwriter, and playwright (with occasional short stories and poetry) who first achieved best-seller status at age twenty-three and is most famous as the author of The Fury (Playboy Press, 1976). He is also known largely for his work in the southern Gothic genre.



Farris was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, to parents John Linder Farris (1909–1982) and Eleanor Carter Farris (1905–1984). Raised in Tennessee, he graduated from Central High School in Memphis and attended Southwestern College (now Rhodes College), also in Memphis. His first wife, Kathleen,(deceased) was the mother of Julie Marie, John and Jeff Farris; his second wife, Mary Ann Pasante, is the mother of Peter John (P.J.) Farris.

Beginning with his first publication at age 19, The Corpse Next door, From the mid-1950s through the 1960s, Farris published twelve novels, including a series of hardboiled crime novels under the pseudonym 'Steve Brackeen.' Farris's early "Harrison High" novels were a major influence on Stephen King. Farris had assisted in the rejuvenation of the horror novel with When Michael Calls, published in 1967. [1]

After a hiatus of several years, he returned to the horror field to write his best-known novel, The Fury (1976), which was filmed the following year by Brian de Palma. Farris's best horror novel, All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By, saw print in 1978. He then demonstrated a remarkable diversity with a suspense novel, Shatter (1981); the occult adventure Catacombs (1982); a subdued ghost story, The Uninvited (1982); and a flamboyant novel of possession, Son of the Endless Night (1985). [2]

Apart from his substantial body of fiction, his work includes motion picture screenplays of his own books (i.e., The Fury ), original scripts and adaptations of the works of others (such as Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man ). He also wrote and directed the film Dear Dead Delilah in 1973. He has had several plays produced off-Broadway, and also paints and writes poetry. At various times he has made his home in New York, southern California, Puerto Rico, and most recently near Atlanta, Georgia.

Film adaptations

Three of his works have been made into film: first Harrison High became Because They're Young (1960), followed by When Michael Calls (1972), and then The Fury (1978) which was directed by Brian De Palma.

TV adaptations

Farris's short story "I Scream. You Scream. We All Scream for Ice Cream." was adapted for the Showtime anthology series Masters of Horror in 2007.


Novels (and other fiction)

Short stories


Further reading

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  1. Douglas Winter, "Writers of Today" in Jack Sullivan, ed. The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural. (NY: Viking Penguin, 1986, p. 486).
  2. Douglas Winter, "Writers of Today" in Jack Sullivan, ed. The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural. (NY: Viking Penguin, 1986, p. 486).