featuring performances by John Speredakos and Larry Fessenden,
live foley by Chris Skotchdopole and Tessa Price,
music and sound design by Glenn McQuaid and technical direction by Lee Nussbuaum.
Stanley Film Festival 2015 Glass Eye Pix Tales From Beyond The Pale
by Meredith Borders
If you’re not familiar with Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid’s radio drama Tales From Beyond the Pale, it’s a terrific and haunting storytelling device. I’ve been lucky enough to see two live reads of the show – once at The Stanley Film Festival, and this week at The Overlook Film Festival.
The performers stand at mics with headphones and scripts on podiums, while McQuaid sits in the background at a soundboard, producing the show and playing his original score. Two sound effects artists work at a table to the side, using sound props like a small door in a frame, shoes in a box of gravel, jars full of liquid, a tube they shake to create, as my colleague Katie Rife phrased it, “ambient spookiness.” As riveting as the stories are, and as great as the performances, it’s tempting to just watch the sound artists at work, the little magic they create with bags of sand and aluminum ducts.
Fessenden, in his marvelous voice, opens the show with a Crypt Keeper-type monologue, assuring us that today’s stories are intended to distract us from the “hundred-day horror show” that has been this nation. He also performs a role in each story, along with Shudder’s Sam Zimmerman, The Pumpkin Pie Show’s Clay McLeod Chapman and actress Janet Scanlon.
The first story is titled “Re-Appraisal,” in which a man (Chapman) is trying to sell his house so he can escape the modern insanity of the United States and move back to his homeland of Ireland. A potential buyer (Fessenden) arrives with a very compelling offer, but the seeming bargain comes at a terrible price. “Re-Appraisal,” written by McQuaid, trades on our new, unfortunate revival of nuclear panic, and tells a lesson about the selfishness of our own anxiety.
The second story, written by Fessenden, is called “In the Wind,” and it’s a Fargo meets The Mist-type tale in which Scanlon plays Frannie, a small town police chief in a snowy mountain resort, with Zimmerman playing her sweet-tempered second-in-command. While investigating a homicide, Frannie and her team soon realize that what they’re dealing with is something much worse, a supernatural foe that threatens to overtake the entire town.
Both stories were perfectly creepy and beautifully performed, generating real suspense in that small, warm room. Tales From Beyond the Pale was once more a highlight of this horror festival, a refreshing change from slasher flicks and the like. There’s a quaintness to the delivery of these scary stories that makes their unnerving content stand out in stark contrast. If you ever get a chance to see Tales From Beyond the Pale performed live, you should take it, and in the meantime, check out more tales here.
On this week’s New Flesh, Brett Arnold sits down with legendary horror filmmakers Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid (I SELL THE DEAD, V/H/S)! Joe is nowhere to be found.
After confirming once and for all how to pronounce Larry’s last name, Larry and Glenn detail their audio drama series “Tales From Beyond the Pale,” which is now available on iTunes and their website, and discuss the allure of making strictly audio rather than a typical feature.
After promoting their upcoming live show (October 20th at Lincoln Center in NYC!), Larry explains just how close he came to remaking THE ORPHANGE with Guillermo Del Toro and Kate Winslet, and ultimately get into a discussion on what’s wrong with the mainstreaming of the horror genre.
In addition to writing and directing numerous films (NO TELLING, HABIT, WENDIGO, THE LAST WINTER, BENEATH), you may recognize Larry from his roles in countless horror films, including HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, YOU’RE NEXT, STAKELAND, WE ARE STILL HERE, THE BATTERY, and many more.
Tickets for Tales From Beyond the Pale Live go on sale this Thursday.
Also available on iTunes!
TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE wins the Silver Radio Award for Best Regularly Scheduled Drama Program at the 2016 New York Festival’s International Radio Program Awards! Co-creator Glenn McQuaid was in attendance, accepting the award. Check out the pics here, then listen to TALES at TalesFromBeyondThePale.com!
hivio brings together more than 100 of the most influential people in audio and media for two days of candid, unscripted conversation. Amazing thought-leaders and provocative presentations. No boring panels. No celebrity keynoters.
Media strategist and researcher Mark Ramsey and Slacker’s Jaime Solis host a “hive” of smart people and amazing speakers to see, discuss, and develop big ideas and rising trends in on-demand, radio, content, social, mobile, and technology that will shake up all audio entertainment and information platforms.
From the SundanceTV Website:
You may have seen Larry Fessenden (I Sell the Dead, Wendy and Lucy, Habit) and James Le Gros (Living in Oblivion, Girls) on the red carpet of the Independent Spirit Awards, among other places. Where you won’t see them is on HAP AND LEONARD where you’ll hear them instead. (They guest star in the radio play to which Uncle Chester is listening in Episode 102.) Learn more about Fessenden’s and Le Gros’ longtime collaboration below.
Listen to the radio clip:
Bloody-Disgusting: BEST BLU-RAY COLLECTIONS OF 2015
“Scream Factory had an incredibly impressive year, both on their own and from their partnership with IFC. Through all those great releases one truly stood out for me and that was The Larry Fessenden Collection (my review).”
L.A. TIMES: BEST BLU-RAYS OF 2015
“The Larry Fessenden Collection” (Scream! Factory/IFC/Glass Eye Pix): One of the best arguments for the continued existence of physical media is this box set spotlighting the work of one of America’s most original horror auteurs. Fessenden has quietly put together a body of features, shorts and experiments that make more sense when they’re gathered all in one place than when they’re scattered.”
AV CLUB: STAFF PICKS
“Larry Fessenden lives and breathes horror. Besides writing and directing a box-set worth of his own indie scare fare, he’s also acted in any number of fright flicks, mentored young horror mavericks like Jim Mickle and Ti West, and worked on the screenplay for this year’s slasher-movie-inspired video game, Until Dawn. One of his most interesting contributions to the genre, however, is the horror podcast Tales From Beyond The Pale, whose third season premiered on Black Friday. Produced and developed by Fessenden with regular collaborator Glenn McQuaid, the series resurrects the radio drama of early last century: Each episode is a one-act horror play, gamely performed by voice talent both recognizable and not, and written/directed by various artists of the genre, with Fessenden dropping in before and after to play old-school host. The content varies in quality, but especially in tone: Some episodes aspire to the creaky theatrical style of an old Boris Karloff segment, while others are distinctly modern in adult subject matter and language. What links them all, beyond uniformly excellent sound design, is an earnest interest in using pure audio techniques—foley effects, dialogue, creepy music—to elicit unease and create a whole world within listeners’ ears. The best of the bunch, such as season one’s unnerving surgery story “The Conformation,” serve as good reminders that what you can hear and imagine is sometimes much scarier than what you can see. It’s not surprising that Fessenden, a one-man champion of all things frightening, would understand that better than most. [A.A. Dowd]”
Iconsoffright: TOP 10 HORROR MOVIES OF THE YEAR
“#1 DARLING is in no way for everyone, that’s one thing I’ll get out of the way when talking about the film that is easily my favorite film of the entire year and in all actuality, my favorite film in quite a few years. It’s a complete descent into madness, told through flashing lights, long moments without dialogue and a Polanski-heavy vibe that is sure to turn some genre fans off. With all of that being said though, it’s also very simply, a film so close to being a perfect piece of cinema that it feels like an important thing, watching it.”
Rolling Stone: 10 Best horror movies of 2015
“A peculiar New England terror with Lucio Fulci in its veins, Ted Geoghegan’s wintry haunted-house film defies the tired affectations of the standard ghost story. Its isolated pair of couples are melancholy, middle-aged, and terribly offbeat (see: the possession of Larry Fessenden and the space case of Lisa Marie). The specters on hand are as likely to thrust charred hands through a body, as they are to ominously lurk. And it’s all tied to a Lovecraftian home, a beast of a structure whose walls are the canvas for one of 2015s finest splatter-filled finales. SZ”
Engadget: These are our favorite video games of 2015
“Supermassive Games’ PlayStation 4 debut is unlike any big-budget game I’ve played in ages. Rather than sticking a gun in my hand, it sat me down in a director’s chair and essentially told me to craft my own horror movie. It could’ve been disastrous, but Supermassive intrinsically gets what makes for a good horror flick: the unknown, atmosphere, killer writing, and great performances from (mostly) unknown actors.”
Indiewire hosts the latest TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE episode by Joe Maggio. CANNIBALS follows an auteur who discovers that a young filmmaker is biting his style.
Indiewire hosts Eric Red’s LITTLE NASTIES, a new TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE episode about the terror of children’s beauty pageants.