TBT: 2005, Fessenden directs himself in THE LAST WINTER,
unspooling at the Great Western Catskills International Film Festival,
Saturday 10/20. Followed by a Q&A with Fessenden.
TBT: 2005, Fessenden directs himself in THE LAST WINTER,
Join us this weekend at the Great Western Catskills International Film Festival,
hosted by GEP pals James Felix McKenney and Lisa Wisely.
Only A Switch
Q&A with director Michael Vincent
The Last Winter
Q&A with Fessenden
“All of this would seem to set Fessenden up as the ideal director for a horror movie about a topic that, for all its reeling apocalyptic sweep, is generally lived in the present through a series of picayune partisan skirmishes. The question is whether such a movie could in fact be made, and why there have been so few attempts. The most obvious reason why there have not been any good, scary movies about climate change also happens to be the most compelling: it’s just too fucking scary. The bigger studio features that have taken on the topic have been goofy both because they are bad, and because a less-goofy approach would make them something significantly darker than a big studio feature should be.“
#3 The Last winter
Things start going very, very wrong for a group of Arctic oil drillers in Larry Fessenden’s cult thriller — but is it due to a natural causes… or supernatural ones? Inevitably, the survivors begin to turn on each other with increasing fervour as the Earth itself seems to start claiming lives, but intriguing characters (played by Ron Perlman, James LeGros, Connie Britton and others) and a unique plot make The Last Winter an especially effective terror-in-isolation tale.
The Last Winter (2007)
The “ecological horror” sub-genre typically features animals on a rampage, but while we wait for John Skipp & Craig Spector’s brilliant novel The Bridge to get the adaptation it deserves this moody gem sits as the best example of the planet striking back. It’s Larry Fessenden‘s best film too delivering atmospheric chills, memorable visuals, and themes that feel relevant even as they leave viewers unsettled. All that plus James Le Gros, Ron Perlman, and Kevin Corrigan!
The Wendigo has some way to go before it joins the likes of Dracula and Frankenstein in the Monster Hall of Fame. But horror director Larry Fessenden clearly feels there is plenty of terror to be mined from this terrifying creature, which derives from Native American mythology and has been depicted in a variety of ways over the years. The filmmaker has directed two movies directly inspired by the beast (2001’s Wendigo and 2006’s The Last Winter) as well as an episode of the NBC horror anthology show Fear Itself starring Doug Jones as a man who develops a taste for human flesh — a recurring theme in tales about the creature.
Fessenden’s latest project to concern the legend is a collection of essays and other materials called Sudden Storm: A Wendigo Reader, which the filmmaker has curated and will be published by Fiddleblack on Feb. 16 (the book is now available to preorder from the publisher’s website). Deliberately broad in scope, the chapters range from one penned by President Theodore Roosevelt, in which he recounts a “goblin story” he was once told by an old hunter, to a consideration of the creature’s appearances on the small screen by horror expert Samuel Zimmerman. Sudden Storm also boast illustrations from Gary Pullin, Isabel Samaris, and renowned poster artist Graham Humphries. “We discuss it in terms of folkloria, in terms of crypto-zoology, but then we talk about it in movies and TV,” reveals Fessenden. “There’s a lot to chew on, if I can use the expression.”
Above, you can exclusively see artist Hugo Silva’s depiction of the Wendigo — which decorates the cover of Sudden Storm — while, below, you can see Isabel Samaras’ illustration of the creature.
Firstly, WOW – what a set! We get the features on four separate dual-layeredBlu-ray discs loaded with extras. Shamefully, all I knew about Larry Fessenden was that he wrote the booklet available with the Kelly Reichardt Collection citing him as a collaborator. And it was excellent. Kudos to my buddy Colin for alerting me to this as a worthy purchase. Was he ever right!
What makes me recommended this so strongly are the films – criminally under-rated – Mr. Fessenden is a force and I love his style. These are cool, if totally imperfect, flics – Wendigo (always had a thing for Clarkson) especially made my day, but Habit is remarkably chilling. I was a shade uncomfortable with No Telling but was swept right up in The Last Winter. I LOVE being introduced to new auteurs like this wayward genius, styles and signatures. The films are weak in some areas but offer strength in visuals. Fessenden’s works here thrilled me. I wish I had a set like this every week to cover. Our highest recommendation to those with an open mind and who appreciate the lower-budgeted horror genre! I’m a fan of Larry Fessenden!
Patrick Bromley over at Daily Dead just wrote a review of THE LARRY FESSENDEN COLLECTION.
“If ever there was to be a Mt. Rushmore of modern horror, there’s no question that the face of Larry Fessenden would get prominent placement. One of the patron saints of indie horror, Fessenden is a true auteur and a true original whose incredible career is now being celebrated with the Scream Factory release of The Larry Fessenden Collection, containing four of his films and hours of bonus features that help illuminate just what a vital voice Fessenden has been in the genre for more than three decades. This is one of the best horror releases of the year … Scream Factory has done such great work with The Larry Fessenden Collection that it’s one of those rare cases where the supplemental content is every bit as good as the film(s) it’s supporting.”