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Midnight Mass director Mike Flanagan wants to work with Alan Wake creator Sam Lake

‘Nothing would make me happier’

A huge Alan Wake hovers in the background behind a smaller FBI agent, Saga Anderson, in art for Alan Wake 2 Image: Remedy Entertainment/Epic Games
Mike Mahardy leads game criticism and curation at Polygon as senior editor, reviews. He has been covering entertainment professionally for more than 10 years.

With the upcoming Alan Wake 2, creative director and writer Sam Lake is further expanding the shared universe of Remedy Entertainment’s video games. It turns out, horror movie director Mike Flanagan would not be opposed to helping out.

The two hosted a panel this week at Tribeca Festival 2023, in which they spoke about Alan Wake 2, Remedy Entertainment’s oeuvre, and the influences that have shaped both of their projects throughout the years. They also spent a good amount of time gushing over each other’s work. (Flanagan is a self-professed “huge fan” of Alan Wake and Control.) During a Q&A segment at the end of the panel, an audience member asked Flanagan if, given Lake’s habit of writing stories that cross over with one another, the two creators might want to collaborate at some point.

“Given the writers’ strike, there’s not much going on right now,” Flanagan said, referring to the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike that began on May 2. “But in the future, nothing would make me happier.”

In addition to original works like Midnight Mass, Oculus, and Hush, Flanagan has spent much of his career adapting horror stories into Netflix miniseries: The Haunting of Hill House recreated the work of Shirley Jackson, before The Haunting of Bly Manor reimagined The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. He’s also working on an eight-episode miniseries based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Fall of the House of Usher. Notably, Flanagan has also adapted the work of horror novelist Stephen King; the movies Gerald’s Game and Doctor Sleep both directly pulled from King’s work, and Flanagan owns the rights to adapt the Dark Tower series.

Lake is no stranger to Stephen King’s writing. The original Alan Wake begins with a direct quote of the author, and the rest of the game is a potent homage to the horror master’s staggering portfolio. 2019’s Control, which was largely inspired by SCP Foundation, the collaborative fiction project celebrating the New Weird genre, also leans hard into King-esque horror.

“I admire your work,” Lake told Flanagan toward the end of the panel. “Your characters confront their flaws in terrifying and supernatural circumstances, but through all of your work, there is always hope.”

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