Angus Scrimm, Remembered: Producer/Co-star Larry Fessenden
With the passing of horror icon Angus Scrimm this past week, FANGORIA is dedicating this week to the memory of our dear friend. Therefore, FANGORIA has reached out to several of those who knew Angus well for their parting words and to share the memories they had with the extraordinary actor. Our latest contribution comes from filmmaker Larry Fessenden, who produced no less than 4 features starring Angus Scrimm, including I SELL THE DEAD in which the two acted opposite one another, while also producing two episodes of TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE featuring the horror icon.
Angus was in town very near the holidays one year, perhaps for the premiere of AUTOMATONS or THE OFF SEASON, and he was visiting my home. For some reason, we were rehearsing a puppet show of SCROOGE, which we put on every year, and Angus listened in from the other room so as not to distract. He was sitting with my son, Jack, and conversing with the young fellow who in turn played Angus a piece he was learning on the piano. After the recital, Angus told Jack that he had once played the violin. I learned of this from my son and subsequently told Glenn and we all schemed together that Angus should play the violin in I SELL THE DEAD to show a peculiarity of the evil Dr. Quint.
Without objection and without telling us, Angus undertook violin lessons, and by his own account, would rehearse in his bathroom so as not to disturb the neighbors. He labored on this for several months and eventually Jeff Grace, the film’s composer, supplied him with sheet music to perform on camera. Angus labored further. When the time came to shoot, he was fully rehearsed and though his tone was unrefined, he hit every note and we used a large portion of his playing in the film before transitioning into the full score.
Years later—in fact just this last October—Angus hosted a Q&A for the film with Ron Perlman and myself and recounted the story of how he learned to play the violin for Glenn’s movie. He told the story with complete lucidity and humor, recalling not only the name of his violin teacher but being frustrated he couldn’t bring to mind the name of the teacher who taught him how to play in grade school 70 years earlier. Such was Angus: completely dedicated to the arts, a consummate professional, deeply respectful of and reverential to everyone’s individual contribution; and completely forthcoming in conversation with a child. And he had a damn good memory. He used to recite stanzas from Poe’s “The Raven” to the astonishment of fans at horror conventions. It is a blessing to have known such a gentleman. How often can we use that word in earnest anymore?