April 12, 2021
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Coming April 13th: Aram Garriga’s AN AMERICAN SATAN; follow up doc to AMERICAN JESUS

From ComingSoon.net

An American Satan is produced by Garriga and Carles Torras and is co-produced by Diego Rodriguez and Alf Wahlgren, With the support of ICEC (Generalitat de Catalunya) and the collaboration of Glass Eye PIx and Twelve Oaks Pictures.

An American Satan is Garriga’s third documentary feature after American Jesus (2013), an exploration of the fringes of American Christianity, and Introspective (2007), a documentary about the post-rock scene of the ’90s.

Founded in 1966 in California by Anton Szandor LaVey, the Church of Satan has often been surrounded by mysteries, scandals, and moral panics. Some of today’s active members of the church and other free-styled Satanists will share their views, memories, ritual practices, and personal stories about how they got involved with Satanism, discussing the false myths that still surround the movement.

Directed by Garriga who co-wrote the project along with Xavi Prat, the documentary features Peter H. Gilmore, Blanche Barton, Adam Cardone, Diabolus Rex, Zoth Ommogh, Neil Smith, Karen Millman, David Harris, Heather Harris, Dr. Robert Johnson, Peggy Nadramia, Ruth Waytz, Boyd Rice, Steven Johnson Leyba, Stanton Lavey, M.A. Mandrake, Aden Ardennes, Raul Antony, Milton C. Cruver, and Darren Deicide.

Watch the trailer:

Read article at ComingSoon.net

April 8, 2021
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Hear Ye Hear Ye! Help Save GLASS EYE PIX North! (Do it before April 12!)

Wendigo*, Bitter Feast, The Trouble With Dad, Riding Shotgun, The Ranger, Depraved, Like Me, The Last Winer, Foxhole, Fever, Creepy Christmas shorts Crafty, Wild Ride; Presence; music videos for Mark Donato, Life in a Blender, Unwanted Houseguest, Birdthrower; prop shop for I Sell The Dead and Stake Land, to name just some of the motion picture projects shot and developed at Glass Eye Pix North in Upstate New York. Also has served as makeshift recording hub for albums by The Strangers, Holiday, and Still Rusty (!)… 

Now, a private company in California wants to seize local land and  build a hydro-electric power plant a half mile from GEP North. Write a letter in protest if you want to help stop the Dam!

Glass Eye fans know that we are radically pro green energy here, but flooding a pristine forest preserve is not the answer to energy woes. Visit the newly minted website SaveCatskillsPreserve.org to learn why the project is ill-conceived, and  take a moment to write a letter to FERC. Sample letters and simple instructions are all available at the site. Comments from folks far and wide are acceptable, so you can make a difference wherever you are!

Remember, we can’t make these damn no-budget movies without a backyard and a barn!

* Careful viewers who know the themes of Fessenden’s Wendigo will appreciate the irony that this is happening again to the same upstate community that had taken land from the Native Americans, only to have their own towns eradicated for New York’s City’s reservoir, now the site of this new eminent domain struggle.

April 2, 2021
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New in the Cinezone: Beck Underwood’s Creepy Old Doll Trilogy

That Creepy Old Doll (1998, 4:30, 16mm)
An Exquisite Task
(2016, 7 mins, Canon 5D)
Souvenir
(2018, 4:45, Canon 5D & apple iPad)

three films written, directed, animated and created by
Beck Underwood
featuring “The Creepy Old Doll”

watch the teaser below
and join us in the CineZone to see the films

NOTES:

From Fessenden: I am pleased to present a trilogy of magical movies by a filmmaker who needs no introduction to GEP fans: Beck Underwood (animator, music videologist, production designer, graphic designer, curator, publisher, et al)

From Underwood: My only formal training in stop motion was in a class at SVA, taught by old school animator John Gati. I modified a porcelain doll into my first animation puppet. The resulting film, That Creepy Old Doll was completed in 1998 and shot on 16mm film. This short travelled to festivals around the world.

The second time I brought that same puppet out was 18 years and many stop motion projects later, in 2016. I had just finished a very complicated production for a corporate client. I was ready to make something to cleanse my palate – something unplanned and improvisational. Enchanted by the atmosphere of a friend’s decrepit barn, I dusted off my old doll puppet and conjured up An Exquisite Task. Devised without a script and shot over a period of a few days, the piece ended up reflecting emotions I had about my own empty nest and the letting go of a recently deceased parent.

I love to travel and often set out on my adventures solo. Loathe to think of myself as a tourist, I often decide to make a film, so I’m really working, not vacationing! These short projects afford me a chance to engage with unfamiliar surroundings and collaborate with folks I meet along the way.

In 2018, I decided to create something to capture the street sounds and sights of San Miguel De Allende. Souvenir became that movie, and again, I worked with my old friend, the fragile porcelain doll puppet, now over 20 years old. She broke an arm during this production, but stood up otherwise. Walking into an auto repair shop and having the mechanic help me repair her arm was just one of the wonderful encounters I had making this short. That creepy old doll swept her way into the hearts of everyone she met.

On the threshold of another production, as I think about my cast, I wonder will I bring this old doll out of retirement, again. At this point, I think I have to admit she’s become a muse. This time she will play a character inspired by the detectives born in the minds of great mystery writers like Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle. Her fragility and wisdom could be just what the role calls for. We shall see…

Follow @spellboundattic to see what unfolds.

Watch the Creepy Old Doll Trilogy in the CINEZONE.

April 2, 2021
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Mystery Solved: Real Fessenden Monster article was on Bloody Disgusting

Not Your Average Monster Movies: Exploring the Many Monsters of Larry Fessenden

Sometimes, a monster is just a monster. More often than not, however, the horror genre has a habit of using terrifying creatures to explore all sorts of social, political and even psychological concepts. Over the years, ghouls, ghosts and ferocious beasts have represented everything from grief to fear of the unknown, adding substance to the age-old scares that afflict us. More recently, there’s one underrated filmmaker who’s made a career out of repurposing and resignifying classic monsters in order to tell surprisingly human stories, and his name is Larry Fessenden.

A native Manhattanite and lover of all things weird, Fessenden may not be a household name among casual horror fans, but this champion of independent genre cinema is a lot more influential than most folks seem to realize. Not only have his unconventional creature features developed a cult following over the years, but Fessenden has also mentored and promoted up and coming filmmakers like Ti West and Jim Mickle through his independently-owned studio, Glass Eye Pix.

Of course, a lot of people know Fessenden through his odd performances in films like I Sell the Dead and Jug Face (or even the popular videogame Until Dawn, which we’ll discuss later), but today I’d like to focus on another facet of his artistic output. To me, the most fascinating aspect of Fessenden’s work has always been his penchant for exploring the human soul through schlocky subject matter. Using monsters to talk about serious issues isn’t anything new, but few filmmakers take these outcasts and their stories as seriously as Fessenden does, gifting us with creature features that have a lot more to say than your average monster movie.

Even back in 1991, Fessenden’s second feature was already tackling Mary Shelley while chronicling the tragic decay of a loving marriage. The director had dabbled in horror with his previous projects, but No Telling (also known as The Frankenstein Complex) provided us with a scathing critique of corporate science alongside some visceral thrills. The “monster” here may be more human than usual, with most of the movie’s scares being relegated to unethical animal testing, but there are still some genuinely disturbing moments leading up to a gruesome climax. While not exactly the most popular of Fessenden’s films, it was certainly a sign of things to come, laying the groundwork for many of the director’s future projects.

With 1995’s Habit, Fessenden cemented his position as an expert on subverting horror, revamping another classic monster by making this vampire-centric picture take place in (then) modern-day New York City. By turning the blood-sucking affliction into a metaphor for addiction and the worst aspects of the human psyche (as well as a possible commentary on STDs), the director somehow managed to make a deeply personal experiment without sacrificing the romantic charms of the classic vampire. Featuring compelling performances by Meredith Snaider and Fessenden himself in a delightfully ambiguous romp with tongue-in-cheek references to vampire lore, this underseen gem is a great example of an artist projecting new meaning onto ancient tropes and giving them new life.

Snaider’s seductive performance as Anna is quite the departure from your usual bloodsucker, with the film refusing to outright confirm her vampiric nature while also drawing parallels between her supposedly monstrous qualities and the protagonist’s self-destructive qualities. It’s suggested that this kinky vampire might be more of a mysterious goth girl than a supernatural entity, but Habit is still an innovative revision of the vampire mythos, making the argument that there might be a little Nosferatu inside all of us.

This ambiguous approach to the supernatural would continue with Wendigo, a film that wound up accidentally redefining the Native American legend that inspired it. A poignant take on family ties and the inherited evils of America, this 2001 thriller is a lot more subdued than the advertising would have you believe. Through surreal imagery and shifting points of view, Wendigo combines the innocence of childhood with relatable adult fears while also experimenting with an appropriately mystical take on the titular monster. The finale might not please everyone, but Fessenden’s commitment to down-to-earth drama even when discussing otherworldly terror is admirable.

The Wendigo itself is largely absent for the majority of the film, only showing up in brief dreamlike sequences before the finale, but the movie depicts the creature as an ambivalent force of nature rather than a commentary on cannibalism and human malice. Despite appearing for only a few brief moments, the film’s surreal vision of a deer-headed giant with an inhuman gait ended up influencing future horror media, with the unique design gaining more notoriety than the movie itself.

Fessenden would continue to explore his fascination with this particular monster in future projects, each time focusing on a different aspect of the mythology. In 2006’s ecologically-minded ghost story The Last Winter, the director re-interprets fossil fuels as something akin to the biological memory of our planet’s past and introduces a spectral Wendigo as an antagonistic force. Borrowing from Algernon Blackwood’s iconic short story, The Last Winter sees the monster as a vengeful nature spirit striking back at humans and their destructive tendencies.

A few years later in Skin and Bones, an episode of the Canadian anthology series Fear Itself, Fessenden takes a more literal approach to the legend, having a family face off against an enraged Doug Jones in one of the most unsettling roles of his career. While Fessenden only directed this story from a script by Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan, it still feels like another personal take on a beloved monster, and clearly inspired the director’s next Wendigo-related project.

Stepping out of his comfort zone, Fessenden would try his hand at interactive horror by co-writing and appearing in Supermassive Games’ PS4 exclusive, Until Dawn. Despite his formidable filmography, this 2015 title is most likely the director’s best-known work, repurposing several ideas from his previous projects into a shiny new package. While the game initially presents itself as a slasher, the surprise appearance of Wendigos as vengeful mountain spirits unleashed by miners is right up Fessenden’s alley, with the tragic story making this one of the best horror games of the past generation.

Of course, the director dabbled in other monsters as well, going so far as to feature a man-eating catfish in his underseen 2013 feature Beneath. While it’s a surprisingly straightforward effort coming from such a peculiar director, Beneath is an unapologetically silly monster movie that confirms Fessenden’s self-proclaimed allergy towards all things pretentious by having simple fun with a goofy premise. Regardless, the film was something of a palate cleanser in between bleak stories, with the director’s next film being one of his darkest projects yet.

Once again borrowing from Mary Shelley, Fessenden created his most emotionally charged film with 2019’s Depraved, which sits alongside Bernard Rose’s Frankenstein as one of the best modern Frankenstein adaptations. While it has more in common with Shelley’s original Modern Prometheus than No Telling‘s ecological re-imagining, Depraved is a uniquely tragic and melancholy tale of loss and ambition which I’d recommend to anyone willing to shed a few tears in exchange for a genuinely gripping story. The setup may be familiar, but Alex Breaux’s heartbreaking performance as Adam and the story’s intimate look at a human being learning how to be a person again make this a beautiful retelling of Shelley’s classic, and further proof that the director is a true master of horror.

Fessenden may have made a career out of reimagining traditional horror tropes, but his movies aren’t good because they subvert expectations about classic monsters or turn them into poignant metaphors. They’re good because they feature genuinely compelling narratives with a lot of love and respect for their monstrous sources. Though he’s willing to revise mythologies in order to craft a better narrative, Fessenden’s work never places itself above the pulpy stories that inspire him.

His indie stylings may not be for everyone, but I think the horror genre is lucky to have an auteur that’s willing to explore bizarre and interesting places with his horror films. Be it vampires, wendigos or the undead, Fessenden has said that he sees monsters as a way to project our fears and wants onto the world, and I think that’s why his films always have a decidedly human heart underneath the fangs and claws. While there’s no telling what creature he’ll tackle next, I know that I personally can’t wait to see another Larry Fessenden monster movie.

Read the whole article by Luiz H.C.

March 31, 2021
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Lost in Translation Dept: Strange article from NEWS BLOCK

News-Block has a strange article celebrating Fessenden’s love of monsters that seems to have been translated from another language with malaprops such as calling Until Dawn “Until Sunrise” and Beneath “Under” and No Telling “Do Not Say” Still, weird press is still press!

Not Your Average Monster Movies: Exploring Larry Fessenden’s Many Monsters

by Gail Maddox

Sometimes a monster is just a monster. However, most of the time, the horror genre has a habit of using terrifying creatures to explore all kinds of social, political and even psychological concepts. Over the years, ghouls, ghosts, and ferocious beasts have represented everything from pain to fear of the unknown, adding substance to the ancient scares that afflict us. More recently, there’s an underrated filmmaker who’s made a career out of repurposing and re-signifying classic monsters to tell startlingly human stories, and his name is Larry Fessenden.

read more!

March 29, 2021
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RLJE Films and Shudder Acquire SXSW Movie ‘The Spine of Night’ for Release This Year

Bloody Disgusting has the skinny: Fresh from its SXSW premiere, the animated fantasy-horror movie The Spine of Night has been acquired for U.S. release by RLJE Films and Shudder. Written and directed by Philip Gelatt and Morgan Galen King, the animated film stars Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt, Betty Gabriel and Joe Manganiello. Abby Savage, Larry Fessenden and Rob McClure also star.

Read Full Article HERE

March 23, 2021
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Fessenden turns 58 … thanks for the well-wishes

portrait by The Dude Designs
March 19, 2021
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NEW in the CINEZONE: “THE HUNTER” by Benjamin Gray

THE HUNTER: writer/director Benjamin Gray. (2007, 20 minutes)
cinematography: Thomas Krivy
featuring Larry Fessenden, Joel Marsh Garland, David Warshofsky.
Editor: Paul Frank. Music: Jeff Grace.

watch the teaser below
and join us in the CineZone to see the film

NOTES:

Synopsis: Each winter, Tub hunts with childhood friends Frank and Kenny. Approaching middle-age and still the butt of every joke, Tub wants this year to be different. And it is: deep inside a snow-covered forest, his long-buried aggression comes raging to the surface. Based on the Tobias Wolff short story ‘Hunters in the Snow’.

From Fessenden: The experience of making THE HUNTER was one of my fondest memories making a movie. We were treated to fantastic home cooked meals by the director’s mom, and slept in big beds and then suffered long hours in the snowy location. I love a winter movie. On the shoot I met Joel Garland who would later be cast in Glenn McQuaid’s I SELL THE DEAD, and several Tales from Beyond the Pale, including “The Hole Digger”. I also enjoyed working with David Warshofsky, who had stories of being on set with a young James Le Gros that can’t be repeated on this website. Jeff Grace did the music for THE HUNTER, based on introductions I made, and right around this time I employed Mr. Grace for my own project SKIN AND BONES, and you can hear the influence of THE HUNTER’s music on that score.

From Benjamin Gray: And at the time I wrote this in my director’s statement…still true I think…. “The Hunter” is a specifically American story, specifically rural, yet set in no particular time or place. With Tobias Wolff’s subtle humor it explores masculinity, aggression, the question: “What makes a man?” And in a world dominated by machismo, saber-rattling, and swagger, what better time to ask this question?

Watch now in the CINEZONE.

March 19, 2021
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Bloody-Disgusting: THE SPINE OF NIGHT “a breathtaking rarity”


From the Review by Meagan Navarro

“Written and directed by Philip Gelatt and Morgan Galen King, The Spine of Night evokes the breathless wonder and art style of Fire and Ice, unfurling a meditative and existential tale. This anthology is steeped in a world of magic, heroes, and villains across time told with a distinct and measured cadence. Assembling a talented and impressive voice cast that includes Patton Oswalt, Betty Gabriel, Joe Manganiello, Larry Fessenden, and Rob McClure, it’s not characters- though there are many- that connect this sprawling story but a concept.

“The Spine of Night packs so much into its roughly 90-minute runtime that it doesn’t always give its emotional peaks room to breathe, but it never fails to arouse a feeling of wonder. This movie is a breathtaking rarity.”

read the full review

March 18, 2021
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SlashFilm: JAKOB’S WIFE “a showcase for its legendary leads”

“Does your modern indie horror movie really exist if it doesn’t feature Barbara Crampton or Larry Fessenden? The two horror icons, who have been so good in so many genre movies for so long, are busier than ever, popping up in (and often propping up) countless films made by filmmakers who clearly grew up watching them on well-worn VHS tapes.

“But Jakob’s Wife, a gory new horror comedy about a marriage on the rocks before vampirism rears its ugly fangs, understands their appeal more than most. In fact, it knows what horror fans really want: to see them placed front-and-center as leading man and leading lady rather than relegated to supporting role or amusing cameo. And while there are other pleasures to be found in Jakob’s Wife (especially the geysers of blood that erupt with some regularity), these two, together in the spotlight, are the main draw.

“While this is not the first time Crampton and Fessenden have been in the same movie together (gems like You’re Next and We Are Still Here are among their shared credits), co-writer and director Travis Stevens gives them characters worthy of their talent. Too often, casting these two feels like a wink, a filmmaker nudging the audience to say “Yes, I too enjoy Re-Animator and/or Wendigo!” Stevens understands that these two aren’t just well-liked names – they’re terrific actors, more-than-capable of carrying an entire movie. And he obliges them.

“Cast against type as a buttoned-down, conservative preacher, Fessenden digs into the “straight man” dynamic of the film’s duo, finding low-key humor in his exasperation. His eventual turn to vampire hunter is less of a heroic move and more of a reflection of an impatient man desperate to get shit done. It’s fun stuff.”

Read full review