Today I present to you an interview with the prolific horror writer, director, producer, and actor Larry Fessenden. Mr. Fessenden is probably most recognizable to horror lovers as Willy Grimes in “I Sell the Dead” or Erik Harson in “You’re Next”, but he has also written and directed movies such as “Wendigo” and “Habit.” Without further ado…
Craig Thayer: Do you find that being an actor has helped to inform how you write or direct a movie?
Larry Fessenden: Absolutely. Being an actor informs all of my writing and my directing. It also means for me “story” is character-based and not plot-driven. I am very at home directing actors and I have great empathy for the strange business of acting, the vulnerability and craft that it takes.
CT: You are well known for being killed in movies, which death scene is your personal favorite?
LF: I have two answers for that: One that hasn’t been seen yet, should be seen in a September release. The other was cut from the film. In THE LAST WINTER my character has been horribly burned and he dies on camera. My producer felt it was over the top and I cut it, but I have always regretted it. Seeing someone pass from life to death is very moving, and I think I achieved that in the performance.
CT: Since you are known for loving creatures, which classic Universal monster scared you the most?
LF: I guess the answer has to be Frankenstein. Of course, in the early Karloff version the creature is depicted as sympathetic, but as a horror icon that lives in the mind, Jack PIerce’s fabulous creation was terrifying. When I grew up in the 70′s the idea of that monster lumbering around the corner with his strange flat head and big boots, neck bolts and forehead scar, it was very scary to a child. I still look at that makeup with awe.
CT: Which mythological creature would you like to adapt into a movie?
LF: Well, let’s just say the monster I most identify with is the werewolf. I would love to explore all the dynamics in that mythology. And of course, I never tire of the Wendigo.
CT: You have often stated that you are a sentimental person, which of your projects do you feel portrays this the best?
LF: No doubt it is Wendigo, as that is about a father/son relationship, and the power of myth and yearning, and the sadness of loss and the repercussions of conflict and violence. What makes me sentimental is any tender feeling I have I immediately feel t he correlating horror that lurks in the shadows: love your wife? Cancer can’t be far off. That makes the tenderness feel so fleeting and dear.
CT: You have said in the past t hat “Wendigo” was not initially intended to be a horror film and now that Glass Eye Pix has put out some non-horror related movies, would you be interested in trying your hand at something without horror themes?
LF: Well, Wendigo uses horror tropes and it should be scary in some awestruck way, so it is a horror movie, I might have suggested it has other things on its mind… And yes, I have written a couple non-horror scripts, even a musical! But in the end, my heart is in horror, or spooky, or supernatural, chilling, uncanny, whatever it might be called.
CT: Since you do so much producing, are there any up and coming directors you think the horror community should be keeping an eye on?
LF: Well, that’s a tough question. I obviously support a lot of up and coming filmmakers, so anyone in the Glass Eye community I think you should watch out for, but there is so much stuff I’m not seeing. I don’t get out to every festival or go to every cineplex.
CT: What is one thing you feel that mainstream horror is lacking?
LF: Variety. Excitement. Once they find something that works they flog it to death, forgetting that original work is what inspires their franchises. SAW, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, THE PURGE, all cool films flogged to death with sequels. They had success with CONJURING? Bring on the sequel. They had a doll on the poster for ANNABELLE, let’s use a doll for the POLTERGEIST remake. They basically are crushing the genre by trying to commodify it. Horror is a genre that should make you uncomfortable, should shock you, should scare you. That is incompatible with the commercial need to pander to your needs.
CT: Thank you so much Larry. We here at Nightmarish Conjurings wish you continued success on your films and with Glass Eye Pix!
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