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Michael Dougherty
SDCC 2015 - Michael Dougherty (19545020868) (cropped).jpg
Dougherty at SDCC 2015
Michael Patrick Dougherty

October 28, 1974 (1974-10-28) (age 46)
  • Film director
  • screenwriter
  • producer
  • comic book creator
Years active 1996–present

Michael Patrick Dougherty (born October 28, 1974) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and animator, best known for the cult horror film Trick 'r Treat (2007), the Christmas horror comedy Krampus (2015), and the monster film Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019).

Early life

Dougherty was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. He attended the Tisch School of Arts at New York University in the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, which is where he produced his 1996 short film Season's Greetings. He is of Vietnamese descent on his mother's side.


Dougherty made his directorial and writing debut with the animated short film Season's Greetings, which was released in 1996.

Dougherty went on to co-write several screenplays, including the superhero sequel X2, which was released in 2003. He also co-wrote the screenplay for the 2005 supernatural horror film Urban Legends: Bloody Mary, and Superman Returns, which was released in 2006.

Dougherty made his feature directorial debut with the cult horror anthology film Trick 'r Treat. It played at several film festivals, before being released on DVD on October 6, 2009 in the US and Canada. It received acclaim and went on to gain a cult following in subsequent years. The short film Season's Greetings, which was the precursor to Trick 'r Treat, was released as a DVD extra and was aired on FEARnet in October 2013 as part of a 24-hour Trick 'r Treat marathon on Halloween.

In December 2014, he began work on the Christmas horror film Krampus, which was released to moderate critical and commercial success in December 2015. He also co-wrote the story for the film X-Men: Apocalypse (2016). Dougherty directed the science fiction sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters, for which he wrote the script with Zach Shields, from a story by himself, Shields, and Max Borenstein. The film was released in 2019, to mixed reviews, and grossed $386 million worldwide.

In April 2020, HBO was announced to be developing a Hellraiser television series that would serve as "an elevated continuation and expansion" of its mythology, with Mark Verheiden and Dougherty writing and David Gordon Green directing several episodes. The three will executive produce with Danny McBride, Jody Hill, Brandon James and Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment.

Dougherty also co-wrote the story for Godzilla vs. Kong with Zach Shields and Terry Rossio. The film was released in May 2021 and grossed over $441 million worldwide.


Year Title Director Writer Producer
2003 X2 No Yes No
2005 Urban Legends: Bloody Mary No Yes No
2006 Superman Returns No Yes No
2007 Trick 'r Treat Yes Yes Executive
2015 Krampus Yes Yes Yes
2016 X-Men: Apocalypse No Story No
2019 Godzilla: King of the Monsters Yes Yes No
2021 Godzilla vs. Kong No Story No

Short films

Year Title Director Writer Executive
1996 Season's Greetings Yes Yes No Yes
2003 Deadtime Stories Yes Yes No No
2011 Trick 'r Treat: Making Friends Yes Yes Yes No
2012 Trick 'r Treat: Father's Day No Yes Yes No

Comic books

Bryan Singer, Dougherty and Dan Harris provided the plots to four comic book prequels to Superman Returns. The four forty-page comic book prequels were published by DC Comics throughout the month of June 2006 and bridged the gap between the second Superman film and Superman Returns.

In 2015, with Todd Casey, Zach Shields and Marc Andeyko, Dougherty co-wrote and created a comic book tie in to Trick 'r Treat, titled Trick 'r Treat: Days of the Dead. It featured four new short stories, spanning centuries. They depict a variety of characters and cultures, going back to the holiday's roots in ancient Ireland. Later that year, with Casey, Zach and Laura Shields, Dougherty published a tie-in to Krampus, titled Krampus: Shadows of Saint Nicholas. It features three stories which expand the mythology of the Krampus.


Year Association Category Work Result
1997 Chicago International Film Festival Student Animated Short Season's Greetings Won
2004 Saturn Awards Best Writing X2 Nominated
Hugo Awards Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form Nominated
2007 Saturn Awards Best Writing Superman Returns Won
2008 Screamfest Horror Film Festival Audience Award Trick 'r Treat Won
2009 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards Best Film Nominated
Fright Meter Awards Best Director Won
Best Screenplay Nominated
2015 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards Best Movie Krampus Nominated
2016 Horror Society Awards Best Horror Film Nominated
Fright Meter Awards Best Director Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Wide-Release Film Nominated
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