October 16, 2016
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Fessenden Recommends THE MIST for Substream’s 31 Days of Halloween

Fessenden recommends Darabont’s THE MIST for Substream’s recurring column, 31 Days of Halloween!  Check out his full post here, which includes gifs, clips and pics.

mist-poster

The best Halloween film is probably Halloween, now a classic, but when I was little—I guess I was 16 in 1979—I thought Halloween was a strange betrayal of the kinds of movies I liked—the ones with grit, like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Night Of The Living Dead, that really were about ordinary people (not just sassy teens) confronted with unspeakable horror. The movie I want to champion here, though, is 2007’s The Mist by Frank Darabont, based on a short story by Stephen King.

The Mist quite literally has everything I enjoy in a story: A single location, a continuous time frame, a moral dilemma between the humans, and… actual monsters! I love monster movies and they are rare nowadays (Yes, Cloverfield. Yes, Godzilla. Yes, Jurassic Park… sort of. Oh, shit! I just wanted to change my movie to Attack The Block. Have you seen that movie?! Best ever. But I’ll save that for next year).

The Mist begins with a simple dolly across the paintings of a genre movie poster illustrator. It lands on him at work, then the lights go out. Cut to a tree blowing in a ferocious wind. Dolly back to reveal the artist staring at the tree through the picture window with his wife and kid. Then down to the basement, to seek refuge. Back in the artist’s studio, a tree lunges through the plate glass, shattering it. Next morning, in the storm’s aftermath, a strange mist gathers across the lake. Father and son drive to town to get supplies and are trapped in the local supermarket while the mist closes in, concealing unimaginable terrors. The people trapped in the market struggle to survive an assault by creatures that may have entered this reality from another dimension. Scary stuff.

There is great economy in the shooting style, which utilizes graceful steadycam shots and an array of focal lengths. As the tension develops, the filmmaking resorts to more restless handheld shots, wrack focus, and searching zooms, giving the film an immediacy from start to finish. It all builds with a deliberate and painstaking naturalism in the dialogue and the logic of events.

The character actors are strong throughout; many of the players have appeared in Darabont’s previous films (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) or stuck around for future projects (The Walking Dead), suggesting an aesthetic of loyalty and community in Darabont’s approach that is rewarded with the genuine work he gets from his cast. Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harding, Toby Jones, and Andre Brauger are standouts, but every player brings an authentic performance—a tribute to Darabont’s directing approach. In his writing, he is able to stay visceral and driven, while clearly expounding on themes that matter to him: The dangers of religious fervor and demagoguery; social and political topics are seamlessly integrated into the script, because those issues are the fabric of our lives. How relevant for today’s Halloween/election season!

The film progresses in real time with a series of increasingly horrific set pieces and the tension ratchets up scene after scene, driven by the interplay between human aspirations and weaknesses, heroism and cowardice. The action constantly reminds us of fate’s indifference: Nice people suffer unbearable ends. The creature designs throughout are truly frightening because they are unfamiliar and inconsistent—from tentacles reaching out of the mist (not the best compositing, but scary just the same), to the incredibly freaky spider creatures with weird skull faces, to the oversized insect creatures, to the fantastic gargoyle monsters that fly through the supermarket. But there’s more: Huge, towering shapes that thud across the landscape, and crab-clawed giants that snatch you and tear you to bits. The monsters that dwell in the mist are terrifying.

The film is renowned for its bleak ending. I have tried to wrap my brain around those horror fans who disparage the ending, but to me it is an act of bold filmmaking, ending a movie with soul-crushing despair, regret and hopelessness. The story has it that Darabont was offered $200K to alter the ending, and he declined. The movie was not a success, but I say this is what good horror looks and feels like.

Happy Halloween.

July 11, 2016
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Exploring STAKE LAND on GBF

Just landed on You Tube: GoodBadFlicks in-depth exploration of Jim Mickle’s Stake Land.

gbf

June 19, 2016
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Ti Western “In a Valley of Violence” screens at BAM, Fessenden, West, Nohilly attend

Saturday, 18 June: Fessenden, Ti West and Tommy Nohilly
tread the red carpet at the BAM screening of In a Valley of Violence

400 copy

May 5, 2016
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SUDDEN STORM on Woodstock Writers Radio – 4/24/16

wdst_new_photo_gal__photo_1507577837Fessenden interviewed by the always compelling Martha Frankel on the fabulous Woodstock Writers Radio, a fantastic forum for authors of all stripes. Episode haunted by Prince’s demise, as it was aired the Sunday after he died.

Fessenden shares the bill with Prince biographer Alan Light, author of Let’s Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain.

Also on the bill: Bob Mehr’s in-depth portrait, Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements. 

Followed by Fessenden, speaking about Sudden Storm; a Wendigo Reader.

SuddenStorm-Banner

March 8, 2016
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SXSW: World Premiere of Ti West’s “In A Valley of Violence” starring Ethan Hawke and John Travolta

Entertainment Weekly has the exclusive festival poster for GEP Pal Ti West’s, er… Western… starring Hawke, Travolta, James Ransone, Taissa Farmiga, Karen Gillan, and featuring Fessenden among a fantastic cast of supporting players. Pic was produced by long-time Glass Eye collaborators Peter Phok and Jacob Jaffke for Blumhouse.

valley-violence

February 26, 2016
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Glass Eye Pix 30th Anniversary Mini-Doc: Makeup Artist Brian Spears

Our 30th Anniversary Hootenanny continues with this series of Legacy Docs celebrating the community and collaborators that have kept us honest all these years…

Glass Eye Pix 30th Anniversary Mini-Doc: Makeup artist Brian Spears has been creating monsters and gore effects for Glass Eye Pix since 2007’s I SELL THE DEAD. With his partner Peter Gerner, Spears has created ghosts, vampires, zombies and even an old man in GEP films BLOOD RED EARTH, BITTER FEAST, STAKE LAND, HYPOTHERMIA, THE INNKEEPERS, BENEATH, LATE PHASES, DARLING and RIDING SHOTGUN. Spears recalls the family atmosphere at Fessenden’s production company over the years. Edit by Chris Skotchdopole.

February 3, 2016
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New 30th Anniversary mini-Doc: Peter Phok, Producer

Our 30th Anniversary Hootenanny continues with this series of Legacy Docs celebrating the community and collaborators that have kept us honest all these years…

Glass Eye Pix 30th Anniversary Mini-Doc: Producer Peter Phok, has been producing for GEP since 2005, playing essential roles on THE ROOST, TRIGGER MAN, I CAN SEE YOU, I SELL THE DEAD, BLOOD RED EARTH, THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, STAKE LAND, BITTER FEAST, HYPOTHERMIA, THE INNKEEPERS and BENEATH. He speaks about his time working at Fessenden’s Independent production company. Edit by Chris Skotchdopole.

January 15, 2016
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New 30th Anniversary mini-Doc: Graham Reznick, long-time GEP collaborator

Our 30th Anniversary Hootenanny continues with this series of Legacy Docs celebrating the community and collaborators that have kept us honest all these years…

Glass Eye Pix 30th Anniversary Mini-Doc: Writer, Director and Sound Designer Graham Reznick discusses his first encounter with Glass Eye Pix and the many projects he has collaborated on, from Ti West’s THE ROOST, to Larry Fessenden’s THE LAST WINTER, to his own films I CAN SEE YOU, THE VIEWER and THE CAREGIVER. He speaks about independent film and the extended Glass Eye family. Edit by Eric Pennycoff.

January 14, 2016
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Fessenden Salutes Angus Scrimm

Angus Scrimm, Remembered: Producer/Co-star Larry Fessenden
via Fangoria

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   Continue Reading »

January 8, 2016
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NEW 30th Anniversary Mini Doc: Brent Kunkle, Producer

Our 30th Anniversary Hootenanny continues with this series of Legacy Docs celebrating the community and collaborators that have kept us honest all these years…

Chris Skotchdopole edits this Glass Eye Pix 30th Anniversary Mini-Doc with Brent Kunkle, Producer and Office Manager from 2007 to 2014. Brent worked on many of the classic Glass Eye films including I SELL THE DEAD, STAKE LAND, BITTER FEAST, THE VIEWER, SANTA CLAWS, AMERICAN JESUS, THE COMEDY, and LATE PHASES. He speaks about his time working at Fessenden’s Independent production company.