Glenn McQuaid and Larry Fessenden had a few questions for Horror vet ERIC RED on the eve of the launch of his TALE FROM BEYOND THE PALE “Little Nasties” on the TALES Podcast.
pictured: Eric Red presides over cast during the recording of his TALE.
Ella June Conroy, Jill Zarin, Fessenden, Jack Ketchum
PALE MEN: Prior to working on Little Nasties, What was your experience of audio drama?
ERIC RED: Zero. However, my grandfather used to tell me about the suspense radio shows he listened to as a child, like Lights Out, and how they fired his imagination, so through him I saw what the medium could do. That’s why I though it was such a brilliant idea for Larry and Glenn to bring back the format for our modern age in Tales From Beyond The Pale.
PM: I notice a fine ear for sound design and music in your film work, Body Parts has some really satisfying sound design and foley in the mix, did it feel like a natural step to let go of visuals and concentrate solely on audio?
ER: Thanks. I’ve always been attentive of the storytelling use of sound in my films. It’s part of any filmmaker’s toolbox. Sound subliminally enhances the visuals of a movie in powerful ways that can be much more effective than music. I often write sound effects in my screenplays and play certain scenes that way for that reason.
PM: Writing the script for Little Nasties was an interesting challenge because stylistically it had to be dialogue down one side of the page and sounds effects down the other—that’s it! Those were the elements available to work with to tell the story.
ER: In a movie, the director gives the audience the pictures and everybody basically sees the same film. But a radio show relies exclusively on dialogue and sound effects to create pictures for the listener, who bring his or her own personal mental images to the audio play. This way, the audience uses their imagination and actively interfaces with the tale, rather than just sitting back and letting the story wash over them like they do in a movie. That was what was exciting about the project for me. A lot of credit goes to Glenn McQuaid who made a big contribution to the show actually creating and executing the sound design in the script.
PM: As well as film, you’ve now got seven (I believe) novels under your belt and there’s the comic book work too, do you have a preferred medium you like to work in or do you enjoy the parameters of each format?
ER: I’m a storyteller. The different story delivery systems like movies, books, comics and radio shows each have their own opportunities for a storyteller. But the older I get, the more fun it is to let the audience use their imagination where it is not how you show it, it’s how you don’t show it.
PM: Jill Zarin is an absolute hoot in Little Nasties and was great fun to work with in the studio, how did you come to know and work with her?
ER: I Met Jill the same year we did the radio show, when she was cast in a small film I directed and we became friends. She comes out of reality TV starring on TV’s Real Housewives of New York, so Jill knew how to improvise and think on her feet on camera; she was used to being spontaneous as a performer because of the requirements of reality TV, but unlike many of the people who star in those shows, Jill is a substantial person and a good human being. She’s a natural actress with a strong, warm, funny, iconic New York personality and vocal delivery. Because the voice was everything in the radio show, I immediately thought of her for the stage mother having just worked with her and knowing what she could do. We all loved what Jill brought to the part, carrying the show with her energetic down-to-earth personality.
PM: And finally, we love that you use Jack Ketchum in your piece. How did you come to know him?
ER: Dallas (Jack Ketchum was his author pseudonym) was probably my oldest friend, dating back in the late 70s when we met in Greece. We were both New Yorkers then, when he was just becoming a novelist and I was becoming a screenwriter and director. Dallas was one of my favorite people, and I thought it would be fun for him to play the sinister beauty contest official; Dallas being Dallas, he tackled the transgressive role fearlessly and didn’t hold back. He sadly passed a few years ago, and I was grateful we had the fun experience of this show as a capper to our relationship.
One of my favorite things about Little Nasties was the unusual ensemble of people who were involved. We had a TV New York Housewife playing alongside a legendary horror author in a radio show produced by two brilliant independent filmmakers that I got to write and direct. A unique, diverse, talented group of people became ingredients in a special cocktail that, to my creative taste buds, is absolutely delicious.
Little Nasties was a fairly big, complicated little radio show production that included a large cast of children, so big props to Larry Fessenden for pulling it all together. I’m still amazed at all we got done.