Fessenden’s first feature in four years will be produced by Joe Swanberg’s Forager Films.
by Eric Kohn
Few American filmmakers epitomize the spirit of horror made beyond the clutches of Hollywood better than Larry Fessenden, who has directed and produced socially conscious scary movies for decades. Now, IndieWire has exclusively learned that Fessenden is stepping behind the camera for the first in several years to direct “Depraved” from his own script. Billed as a contemporary reimagining of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” Fessenden’s project focuses on a field surgeon who suffers from PTSD after combat in the Middle East, and creates a living human out of body parts in his Gowanus, Brooklyn lab.
This is not the first time Fessenden has used the backdrop of a creepy laboratory to explore real-world concerns. His 1991 feature “No Telling” focused on a man experimenting on animals and the impact of the work on his personal life. Fessenden is best known for directing the 1999 New York vampire drama “Habit,” the mystical “Wendigo,” and the eco-thriller “The Last Winter.” He last directed the Chiller-produced monster movie “Beneath,” and has produced countless low budget projects through his Glass Eye Pix, including Ti West’s “The Innkeepers” and Jim Mickle’s “Stake Land.” Glass Eye Pix also produces the radio horror series “Tales From Beyond the Pale,” which premiered its latest season on IndieWire in 2017.
For “Depraved,” Fessenden said he was excited to bring the “Frankenstein” narrative into a contemporary context. In a statement, he called his approach to the story “deeply personal and visceral,” adding, “I’ve been moved by the iconic character since childhood and it is a great thrill to try and put my version on the screen.”
The movie begins production in New York in February. It stars David Call, Joshua Leonard, and Alex Breaux (“Bushwick”) as the monster.
The project will be produced by Joe Swanberg’s Forager Films, which recently premiered Josephine Decker’s “Madeline’s Madeline” at Sundance. “Larry Fessenden has consistently made groundbreaking, intelligent, socially relevant films in addition to shepherding some of the most important young voices in genre filmmaking,” Swanberg said. “We could not be more excited to collaborate with him on this project.”