The Great Larry Fessenden [Episode 26]
Larry Fessenden is an American director, producer, writer, actor, and overall force to be reckoned with. A true indie film pioneer in the horror world, Larry’s career highlights include 1995’s gritty vampire drama, Habit, 2001’s Wendigo, and The Last Winter, Starring Ron Perlman.
Larry’s latest movie, Depraved, is a gritty and modern take on Frankenstein with a number of interesting questions posed about the ethics of scientific advancements in medicine.
Historically low gas prices. A boy band for every block. Philips CD-i. POGS. Maybe we just had it too good during the ’90s because audiences weren’t flocking much to horror movies this decade. As a result, there are less entries here than on our ’70s and ’80s lists. Nevertheless, if you feel like getting grungy and/or jiggy with it (in whichever order, we’re fair) then check out Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the 40 Best ’90s Horror Movies!
Larry Fessenden’s bonkers, microbudget raft movie has it all, from a killer fish, to scorned lovers, to sacrifice. It’s all held together by the sheer strength of Fessenden’s vision, and, as ever, bursts with his trademark heart, humour, and horror. We don’t appreciate the man enough.
From Comics Beat: “New York Comic Con 2018 wasn’t Glass Eye Pix’s first rodeo at the convention. I had the opportunity to chat with Fessenden about staking a claim for Horror in the convention, bringing hard-to-find Horror movies back to the market, and whether his studios will be digging a bit more into Horror comics as it continues to grow.”
Cult Filmmaker Larry Fessenden Talks ‘The Ranger,’ ‘Depraved’ And More
Ever since catching the film, Jug Face, back in 2013, I’ve been a huge fan of Larry Fessenden. I immediately went through his IMDb page, looking for more films to watch. I had no idea how far his influence reached… he’s been directing shorts and indie films since 1978, but it wasn’t until 1995’s Habit that his true passion seemed to leak out onto the screen. With a talent for showcasing members of the dirty, unloved fringes of society, Fessenden can take a character already living in their own kind of atrocity and up the ante by dropping them into a whole new pit of dismay.
Jenn Wexler’s THE RANGER, produced by Glass Eye Pix and Hood River Entertainment, to world premiere in the SXSW Midnighters section!
Teen punks, on the run from the cops and hiding out in the woods, come up against the local authority—an unhinged park ranger with an axe to grind.
Cast: Chloë Levine, Granit Lahu, Jeremy Pope, Bubba Weiler, Amanda Grace Benitez, Jeremy Holm, Larry Fessenden
Directed by Jenn Wexler. Written by Jenn Wexler & Giaco Furino. Produced by Andrew van den Houten, Larry Fessenden, Ashleigh Snead, Heather Buckley, and Jenn Wexler. Co-produced by Chris Skotchdopole. Edited by Jenn Wexler & Abbey Killheffer. Cinematography by James Siewert.
Check it out at SXSW.com.
Despite a long resumé as a producer, director, and actor, Larry Fessenden isn’t exactly a household name, outside of diehard horror circles. Fessenden, however, always has the larger world in mind. His mostly low-budget movies all incorporate larger themes alongside the scares. Fessenden acts in and produces Like Me, in which a young woman named Kiya (Addison Timlin) causes a firestorm of controversy via line-crossing prank videos. It’s the first feature from writer/director Robert Mockler, and Fessenden took on the project via his company, Glass Eye Pix. We spoke with Fessenden about bringing new filmmakers under his wing, the role social media plays in our lives, and how this year’s Academy Awards is part of a changing perception of horror movies on a whole.
Fessenden nabs Best Performance at the Develop Awards 2017.
Now available for PS4, Super Massive’s Until Dawn: Rush of Blood.
Competition was stiff:
Text of the press release:
Guildford, UK – 12 th July, 2017: BAFTA-winning independent British developer Supermassive Games picked up the award for “Best Performance” at the Develop Awards 2017.
Larry Fessenden’s performance in Until Dawn: Rush of Blood was voted top out of nine distinguished competitors including Doug Cockle in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine and John DiMaggio in LEGO Dimensions Adventure Time Level Pack.
Pete Samuels, Managing Director of Supermassive Games said “Working with talented actors to bring believable performances to the characters in our games is hugely important to us, so we were delighted to collect the Best Performance award for Larry’s portrayal of Dan T in Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. We love working with Larry, both as an actor and writer, and look forward to future collaborations.”
“It’s a thrill to be in the company of these other nominees, and I would never have imagined carrying the day,” Larry said. “I would like to thank Supermassive Games for giving me the opportunity to bring Dan T to life, and I’d like to thank the animators there for giving my performance a little extra jolt.”
About Supermassive Games:
Supermassive Games are a BAFTA-winning, independent game developer with a reputation for innovation in both storytelling and VR. The studio has released a number of successful titles and are best known for the critically acclaimed PS4 hit Until Dawn. Supermassive Games recently announced three new titles coming for 2017 – Bravo Team (PSVR), Hidden Agenda (PS4) and The Inpatient (PSVR).
About Larry Fessenden:
Larry Fessenden is an actor and producer and the director of the art-horror films No Telling, Habit, Wendigo and The Last Winter, as well as he TV films Skin and Bones and Beneath. He has operated the production shingle Glass Eye Pix since 1985 with the mission of supporting individual voices in the arts.
As luck would have it, I was settling in for a Larry Fessenden double feature the same night that Twitter—or, at least, the small corner of the platform occupied by film writers and cinephiles—was working itself into a tizzy about an article in The Guardian postulating a new subgenre of “post-horror.” The basic thrust of the Guardian article is that recent films like It Comes At Night and A Ghost Story are changing the horror paradigm by adding talky drama elements to genre narratives, which is exactly what Larry Fessenden was doing in the ‘90s. His 1991 debut feature No Telling combines a Cassavetes-esque relationship drama about a marriage in decline with the bare-bones structure of the Frankenstein myth, as an obsessive medical researcher turns to neighborhood pets after he finds himself unable to procure the animals he’s convinced he needs to complete his research. The result is rather like a naturalistic take on Re-Animator cut together with scenes from A Woman Under The Influence, as strange as that may sound.
That particular film also touches on themes of animal rights and environmentalism, displaying a social consciousness that was developed more fully in Fessenden’s follow-up film, 1995’s Habit. Like this year’s Colossal, Habit uses an alcoholic protagonist as a metaphor to tie in with the film’s fantastic elements; in this case, it’s Lower East Side resident Sam (Fessenden), who’s been a complete drunken mess ever since his girlfriend broke up with him and his father died within a few months of each other. Meeting the enigmatic Anna (Meredith Snaider) at a Halloween party ignites an obsessive affair unlike anything Sam has ever experienced in his life, but as their nightly rendezvous grow more intense, Sam starts feeling, well, ill. Blending classical vampire imagery—Anna is allergic to garlic, and can’t come in to Sam’s apartment without an invitation—with the pervasive fear of AIDS that hung over every sexually active person in the ‘90s, Habit is not only a metaphorically rich horror-drama hybrid, but a time capsule of the last gasp of bohemia in downtown Manhattan.
Both of these films are available in Shout! Factory’s Larry Fessenden Collection boxed set, and No Telling is also currently streaming on Shudder.
As Fessenden embarks on the second annual Shudder Labs Outing in Upstate NewYork with GEPals Peter Phok, Jenn Wexler, Clay MacLeod Chapman, Shudder host Sam Zimmerman and a team of horror lovers, Film School Rejects posts and aptly timed article on the streaming service. What are you waiting for?
Streaming and live-streams, and scares—oh my!
Like any self-respecting content consumer, I subscribe to an embarrassing amount of podcasts. As a result, I’ve heard my fair share of gotta-keep-the-lights-on adverts, but I’ve never been bothered to use a promo code, let alone google or buy a product. That is until I heard Elijah Wood sing the praises of Shudder, a niche, subscription-based streaming service geared to horror nerds. I’ve never opened a search bar so fast.
Shudder has been able to provide more than just recycled titles and low-quality indie fare. They’ve made available films that were otherwise hard to come by through the regular channels; from Larry Fessenden’s Habit to classics from F.W. Murnau. Perusing Shudder feels like being let into a fallout vault, well-stocked with everything from old favorites to genre classics, to challenging new fare.