Fessenden’s eco-horror flick THE LAST WINTER is now streaming on Shudder.
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Directed by Larry Fessenden
Starring Ron Perlman, James Le Gros, Connie Britton, Zach Gilford, Kevin Corrigan,
Jamie Harrold, Pato Hoffmann, Joann Shenandoah and Fessenden.
“Larry Fessenden is one of the most original voices to emerge in the horror field
and THE LAST WINTER is his most accomplished work to date.
He brings the Gothic trappings of the old classics to shocking new life.”
– Guillermo Del Toro
“Elegantly restrained horror … metaphorically resonant … Feverishly Real, Terrifying.
Larry Fessenden is among the most thoughtful Americans working on the lower-budget
end of this oft-abused and mindlessly corrupted genre.” –
The Last Winter comic now available on Comixology!
Written by Larry Fessenden and Robert Leaver.
Art by Brahm Revel.
Entertainment Weekly: Mother Nature gives some oil company employees a very cold shoulder in this Arctic-set film. Ron Perlman, Connie Britton, and James LeGros lead the cast in director Larry Fessenden’s eco-conscious horror fable.
The Last Winter is now available on the IFC Films Unlimited streaming service.
Read Full List HERE
From Literary Hub: There is one notable exception to the usual reality-to-dystopia ratio, though, that is both humbler and infinitely more unsettling. On September 11, 2006, Larry Fessenden’s The Last Winter premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film was the most ambitious and expansive of the independent horror auteur’s career, and a long time in the making. Fessenden started writing the film in November of 2001; producer Jeff Levy-Hinte began shopping the script, on which Fessenden collaborated with the writer Robert Leaver, in 2003. It was a horror movie, but more specifically it was a Larry Fessenden Horror Movie, which is to say a doomy character-driven mood piece, with the dominant mood being Choking Dread. Also, it was about climate change, and set at a remote oil company outpost in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Reserve where debates about the ethics of natural resource exploitation give way to something darker. It was not going to be an easy sale, in other words, and it did not sell. Levy-Hinte struck out with the larger independent studios.
It’s a commonplace of discussions on the it-actually-exists-and-is-bad side of the global warming debate to opine that better storytelling is needed. This is the side of the debate on which virtually all of the scientific facts and elite consensus reside, but that consensus routinely expresses itself in the washed-out language of scientists trying to speak English; the facts, factual though they may be, are so crushing in what they promise that they become abstract again. It is natural to turn away from horror at that obliterating scale. It is a difficult story to tell because it is one humans are seemingly built not to understand.
In The Last Winter, Fessenden chose to tell it anyway, and much of what is most powerful and most powerfully unsettling in his movie owes to that. He literalizes where he has to in order to make the story work, and he caricatures where he must to make the points he wants to make; this is his job. But his first decision was his bravest, and it would make The Last Winter stand out even if more—any, really—films had similarly risen to this challenge in the decade since. Plenty of horror filmmakers have wrestled with monsters. Fessenden took on one that he knew he couldn’t beat.
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“It was very important to me to take these old beloved horror tropes like Frankenstein, Dracula, or the shape-shifting creature and look at them in the modern era,” Fessenden, who also tackled climate ruination in Wendigo and No Telling, told VICE. “What I’ve found most sad and frustrating about humanity is its complete lack of attention to the awesome power of the natural world and this narcissism that drives human activity with no regard for the bigger picture.”
The scariest climate change-driven horror flick in recent memory is probably Larry Fessenden’s The Last Winter(2006), an underseen blood chiller about malevolent ghosts that are released from an Arctic oil reserve by a team of drillers.
From Gizmodo: “Underrated horror director Larry Fessenden’s best film to date is this chilling thriller about an environmentalist (James LeGros) who butts heads with the macho leader of an oil company (Ron Perlman) when he suggests that climate change may be compromising a lucrative plan to drill on a protected part of the Arctic. It gets worse when workers begin succumbing to poisonous natural gas emissions, but what at first seems like an explainable series of disasters gets spooky as hell when sinister apparitions—Earth’s ghosts, it seems, summoned to defend an angry, weary planet—begin meting out their own brand of supernatural frontier justice.”
THE LAST WINTER included among Fargo, The Shining, Misery
and more in Vulture’s 20 Essential Cold-Weather Thrillers list.
From Vulture: There’s perilously little separating Larry Fessenden’s environmental horror from the actual environmental horror playing out in the Arctic and Antarctic right now. The Last Winter is about a crew from an American oil company seeking reserves in an Arctic wildlife refuge, but in the process of testing the site, they unleash hallucinatory gases that have been under wraps for thousands of years. Set mostly in a base camp where tensions flare between a gung-ho company man (Ron Perlman) and a skeptical environmentalist (James Le Gros), the film is like The Thing without monsters, where weird storms and shifts in the wind portend a catastrophic change that engulfs the entire team. As they go, Fessenden implies, so goes the world.
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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.