John McNaughton

Director, Writer, Producer
A talented independent filmmaker whose bleak, chilling vision of society has garnered him considerable critical praise, John McNaughton has also engendered at least an equal amount of controversy. His first feature ... Read more »
Born: 01/13/1949 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Director (16)

The Harvest 2015 (Movie)

(Director)

John from Cincinnati 2007 (Tv Show)

Director

Masters of Horror 2006 (Tv Show)

Director

Without A Trace 2003 (Tv Show)

Director

Push, Nevada 2002 (Tv Show)

Director

Condo Painting 2000 (Movie)

(Director)

Speaking of Sex 2000 (Movie)

(Director)

Lansky 1999 (Movie)

(Director)

Wild Things 1998 (Movie)

(Director)

Homicide: Life on the Street 1993 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Director

Normal Life 1996 (Movie)

(Director)

Mad Dog and Glory 1993 (Movie)

(Director)

Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll 1991 (Movie)

(Director)

The Borrower 1991 (Movie)

(Director)

Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

Girls in Prison (TV Show)

Director
Writer (2)

Condo Painting 2000 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer 1990 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Producer (2)

Speaking of Sex 2000 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer 1990 (Movie)

(Producer)
Actor (2)

American Storytellers 2003 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Murder By Numbers 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor
Music (1)

Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer 1990 (Movie)

(Music)
Camera, Film, & Tape (1)

Condo Painting 2000 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Biography

A talented independent filmmaker whose bleak, chilling vision of society has garnered him considerable critical praise, John McNaughton has also engendered at least an equal amount of controversy. His first feature film, "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer", was not distributed for over three years after its completion in 1986--partly as a result of its precarious financial provenance, but also because of its relentless but nonjudgmental examination of the pathology of the real-life Henry Lee Lucas. "Henry" was the first film over which a production company sued the MPPA for the X rating it received. Eventually, McNaughton's powerful and insightful if extremely unnerving film, with its final shooting cost of only $120,000, became a cult hit on the art house circuit and even made the annual "Top 10" lists of TIME, USA TODAY and the CHICAGO TRIBUNE.

EDUCATION

University of Illinois

Urbana , Illinois 1967 - 1972
also studied TV production

Milestones

2001

Helmed "Speaking of Sex"; premiered at Chicago Film Festival

1998

Reteamed with Murray (in a supporting role) for "Wild Things"

1994

Directed first TV-movie, "Girls in Prison"

1993

Helmed the quirky "Mad Dog and Glory" which teamed Bill Murray and Robert De Niro

1991

"The Borrower" finally received (reasonably) widespread US distribution

1990

Shot third feature film, "Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll" in four days

1990

"Henry" finally received (reasonably) widespread US distribution

1988

"Henry" chosen by filmmaker Errol Morris, guest director of the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado, as one of his two personal picks to be screened there

1988

Filming on "The Borrower" completed in December two weeks after Atlantic Releasing went under

1987

Arranged to make second feature film, "The Borrower", for the financially strapped Atlantic Releasing Co.

1986

Production completed on "Henry", McNaughton's directorial debut (which he also produced and composed the score)

1985

Began co-writing the screenplay for "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" with Richard Fire

Left his job and traveled, working along the way in various capacities as a jewelry maker, sailboat builder, carnival pitchman, among other jobs

Directed episodes of the NBC primetime crime drama series, "Homicide: Life on the Street"

Spent all his money on video equipment; directed a syndicated TV series on famous gangsters, narrated by Broderick Crawford and titled "Dealers in Death"

Worked for a year in the audio-visual department of Campbell-Mithun, an ad agency in the Chicago area

Directed four episodes of the latenight TV police drama, "The Street"

Designed an animated logo for MPI Home Video, a company formed by friends from college

Distribution on "The Borrower" held up after it was acquired by Cannon Pictures; exhibitor at Chicago's Music Box Theater finally offered to pay to have a print struck for his theater to use; film became modest cult success

Returned to Chicago and began working in video production; also handled occasional projects such as producing laser light shows and remodeling hamburger stands; met and befriended Steven A. Jones, then a producer of commercials

McNaughton and Steven A. Jones engaged by MPI Home Video to produce a low-budget horror film about a serial killer

Bonus Trivia

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"After two features. . . McNaughton has emerged as the most spectacularly pessimistic filmmaker to come along since the heyday of the film noir masters--Robert Aldrich, Edgar G. Ulmer, Samuel Fuller--in the 1950s." --Film critic Dave Kehr of the "CHICAGO TRIBUNE", in his review of McNaughton's second feature film, "The Borrower" (quoted in the LOS ANGELES TIMES, September 1, 1991)

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McNaughton's longtime collaborator, producer Steven A. Jones, has noted that "Both of us share a cynicism in the way we look at the world. We don't celebrate the darker side of humanity, but we are interested in it." McNaughton, too, is aware of this interest and that it might not be to everyone's taste. Speaking about "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer", he noted, "I figured they'd either flock to our door or put us in jail." (Quoted in the LOS ANGELES TIMES, September 1, 1991)

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