Steve Miner has had a prolific and varied career directing for television and features and encompassing genres as varied as horror and romance. Following a production career in industrial and educational films, Miner began his professional feature work as an editor on films helmed by Sean S Cunningham, starting out with "The Case of the Full Moon Murders" (1973) and "Here Come the Tigers" (1978). In 1980, inspired by the success of John Carpenter's "Halloween" (1978) the two endeavored to make their own independent horror film, and began the summer camp set gore classic "Friday the 13th" series. Miner served as associate producer and unit production manager on the first film, with Cunningham taking directing duties. For the follow-up, 1981's "Friday the 13th Part 2," Miner produced the film and made his directorial debut with a script that read like a primer on the conventions of horror films. Faring better was the third installment, appropriately titled "Friday the 13th - Part 3," incorporating more scares and suspense and less predictability and needless nudity. This chapter of the prolific series was shown in theaters in an especially involving 3D version and marked Miner's cameo acting debut as a newscaster.
While his involvement with "Friday the 13th" ended there, his next feature directing job, 1986's "House" kept him in the horror genre. This time the director's tone was more mocking and self-aware, resulting in a horror film with a sense of humor. (The film also spawned a series of sequels with which Miner was not involved.) "Soul Man," the director's first venture into romantic comedy, was also released the same year. While the concept itself was in questionable taste, the story of a white student (C Thomas Howell) who pretends to be black in order to secure a minority scholarship to Harvard Law School, the execution was skillful, with Miner creating an engaging, well-paced and somewhat slick film, proving his capabilities beyond the horror genre. In 1988, Miner turned to TV, directing the award-winning pilot of the acclaimed series "The Wonder Years," which premiered on ABC directly following the Super Bowl. Miner stayed with the series through that initial half season and the 1988-1989 season following, serving as a supervising producer and recurring director and netting an Emmy nomination for the 1989 episode "Birthday Boy." Also for ABC, he helmed episodes of the short-lived series "Elvis" (1990), a dramatization of the rock star's pre-fame climb. Back on the big screen, Miner's 1989 effort "Warlock," an interesting but overly gory century-spanning good versus evil tale starring Julian Sands and Richard E Grant was finally released in the United States in 1991.
Miner's next projects would prove him as capable of eliciting sentimental tears from the audience as the screams of terror that met his previous projects. His 1991 effort "Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken" was an engrossing true story of a Depression-era young girl who dreams of being a stunt rider and diving on horseback into a tank of water. Miner's experience delivering films at a low budget served him well with this movie, a smaller Disney production that evinced a very convincing 1930s air. He followed up with the cryogenic love story "Forever Young," an engaging romance, starring big names Mel Gibson, Jamie Lee Curtis and Elijah Wood. Well-acted, beautifully shot and nicely arranged, this sleeper film, with Gibson as a man frozen in 1939 and accidentally thawed over fifty years later and Curtis and Wood as the family he gets involved with was surprisingly moving.
Next up was the cute comedy "My Father, the Hero" (1994) with Miner directing the charismatic Gerard Depardieu to utterly charming effect in a story of an absentee father (Depardieu) who takes his 14-year old daughter on a luxurious beach vacation during which, in a bid to impress a boy she is infatuated with, she pretends that her father is actually her lover. He followed with the flat 1996 comedy feature "Big Bully," starring Rick Moranis and Tom Arnold as childhood adversaries who find themselves teaching at the same school. 1997 saw the director take on episodes of the TV dramas "Diagnosis: Murder" (CBS), "Relativity" and "The Practice" (both ABC) while the following year he Miner joined with Kevin Williamson as a producer of "Dawson's Creek" (The WB, 1998-2003), for which he also served as director of the series' first four episodes. Miner reteamed with Williamson the following year as a director of the drama series "Wasteland" (ABC, 1999-2001), an ensemble piece following six Manhattan twentysomethings.
Miner returned to the big screen with "Halloween: H20" (1998), the seventh installment of the horror series, and most true to the 1978 original that reinvented the genre and jump-started the popular appeal of independent film. With original star, scream-queen-turned-legit actress Jamie Lee Curtis on board and horror resurgence expert Kevin Williamson as executive producer, the film had a high credibility quotient, something sorely lacking from previous sequel efforts. Miner brought the blood-soaked thriller in at a terse 85 minutes, with a shocking opening scene followed by some suspenseful downtime with little Myers action, with the pace hitting an unrelenting frenzy following the face to face meeting of serial killer brother and heroine sister. The film, bearing the mark of Williamson had humorous and self-referential spots, but featured much more old-fashioned terror than the "Scream" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer" series. Miner followed his this big screen success with "Lake Placid" (1999), an action adventure film pitting an expedition group including Bill Pullman and Bridget Fonda against a 35 foot alligator in the waters of Maine that was scripted by yet another TV titan, David E Kelley. Miner then hired "Dawson's Creek" star James Van Der Beek for the lead in his revisionist Western "Texas Rangers" (2001).
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Editing (Feature Film)
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Special Thanks (Special)
First professional credit as editor for "The Case of the Full Moon Murders"; credited as Stephen Miner; also first collaboration with director Sean S Cunningham
Produced and edited the feature "Here Come the Tigers", helmed by Cunningham
Was associate producer and unit production manager for "Friday the 13th", directed by Cunningham
Feature directorial debut, "Friday the 13th Part 2"; also producer
Directed and had a cameo role as a newscaster in "Friday the 13th - Part 3", the third installment of the horror film series
Helmed the horror comedy "House"
Directed the comedy "Soul Man", the story of a man who pretends to be black in order to attend Harvard Law School
Served as supervising producer (and a recurring director) for the first season and a half of "The Wonder Years"; received Emmy nomination for directing the episode "Birthday Boy"
Directed the pilot episode of ABC's "The Wonder Years"
Produced and directed the supernatural thriller "Warlock", starring Julian Sands and Richard E Grant
Directed episodes of the short-lived series "Elvis" (ABC)
Helmed the touching drama "Forever Young"
Steered the pilot episode of the NBC drama "Against the Grain"
Directed an episode of the CBS medical drama "Chicago Hope"
Directed the romantic comedy "My Father, The Hero" starring Gerard Depardieu
Was the director of the comedy "Big Bully"
Directed episodes of the TV dramas "Diagnosis: Murder" (CBS), "Relativity" and "The Practice" (both ABC)
Was a producer of the popular series "Dawson's Creek" (The WB), and directed the first four episodes; initial collaboration with Kevin Williamson
Directed the popular horror sequel "Halloween: H20", starring Jamie Lee Curtis and co-executive produced by Williamson
Directed the unsold CBS pilot "Sherwood's Travels" (aired on Pax TV as the TV-movie "Never Love a Thief")
Directed "Lake Placid", an adventure film starring Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda and a 35 foot alligator; script by David E Kelley
Reteamed with Williamson as director of the TV series "Wasteland", chronicling six struggling twentysomethings in New York
Helmed the revisionist Western "Texas Rangers", starring James Van Der Beek and Dylan McDermott