For the release of Mickey Keating’s upcoming thriller, PSYCHOPATHS, Shannon had the chance to speak with actor/director/producer/and founder of Glass Eye Pix, Larry Fessenden. During their chat, Shannon and Larry spoke about the visual tour-de-force that is PSYCHOPATHS, what it was like working side by side with Mickey Keating, and what Larry has in store for fans in the future.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Hi Larry, it’s such an honor to speak with you today! To start things off, could you tell us a little bit about the film PSYCHOPATHS and how your character relates to the film?
Larry Fessenden: I sort of open the film, in black and white, and I’m a patriarch who gets executed and his final words are a vague warning to the world that it’s going to be a brutal night. You get the impression through my rhetoric that I’m some type of serial killer, in the vein of a Charles Manson, who also spoke quite articulately about society and so on. So that launches into a now beautifully orchestrated color movie of mad carnage going on throughout the night. You see about seven different psychopaths, or maybe that’s another movie (laughs), but you see several psychopaths going about their business in these really beautiful cinematic set pieces. Some wear masks, they are all up to no good, and some have people chained in boxes and it’s apparent that there are differing types of mania all on display, including a woman whose convinced she’s in a 50’s musical. It’s a beautifully abstract movie. That’s what I think ultimately is most confounding about it and kind of wonderful. It’s really sort of an arthouse film with a narrator that pokes fun at the whole thing and yet you can’t help but be swept up in this mood piece. It’s quite lovely.
Nightmarish Conjurings: What was it about this film that made you want to be a part of it?
LF: Well, I find Mickey Keating to be a really compelling and inspiring director. I think he has proved himself in sort of these little subgenres over and over. He’s an artist who’s exploring his medium and absolutely loving how images fit together and how they work with music. There’s a lot of tribute to genre pieces, there’s influences from different corners of the cinematic playbook and it’s fun to watch Mickey put stuff together. I still, as a producing friend of his, am always pushing him and there’s always an exploration of how best to put his pieces together. You are also learning how to work with someone and it’s great to watch them grow. With Mickey, there’s a lot left in him and I want to see him keep pushing himself. It’s what we like to do – talk about movies, figure out what works. These movies are made at a low budget so it’s a real family affair. He has a great team of people, including his editor and all those actors. In making these low budget movies there’s a lot of freedom and a lot of opportunities to experiment.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Along with acting in the film, you were also an executive producer. What were some challenges you faced, if any, in getting this film made?
LF: With Mickey, the challenges are diminished because he’s on top of every aspect, including, I might add, being a very good producer because he knows how to get interesting, good, actors involved. Very often, Mickey has found the money – I don’t bring money to the projects – he just invites Glass Eye Pix because I have a wonderful producer, Jenn Wexler, who is great at getting productions off the ground and moving. Mickey has assembled a pretty good team and I’m just there as sort of a guiding principle. The secret to a lot of Mickey’s movies is quite simply Mickey (laughs). He knows how to get people around him who will respond to his enthusiasm. He’s very good at making you keep your eye on the prize.
Nightmarish Conjurings: There’s a lot of layers to PSYCHOPATHS – whether you are looking at it as just a horror/thriller or an arthouse film. Is there anything in particular you would like viewers to take away from this film?
LF: No, I like a movie where you have to work at it and figure out what it means to you. There’s stuff in here that’s obviously familiar with certain tropes yet it’s all sewn together as one. The audience has to work at making sense of it and they will bring their own preconceptions of how horror is supposed to be and how these kind of serial killer stories come together. I think it’s fun, it’s oddly challenging even though there is a lot of visual candy which allows you to kick back and let it all flow over you. I feel as though there’s a dialogue as you are watching it as well as there being a narrator teasing out the audience so there’s just a lot of elements to take in. I feel like in the end, it sits in the minds rather abstractly. It’s a weird little movie (laughs).
Nightmarish Conjurings: You’ve worked with Mickey Keating on almost all of his films. How do you maintain a strong “family” bond through each film?
LF: I’m very loyal to the genre, although I do make other types of movies. I like filmmakers who want to engage with the medium who aren’t there for the ego of it, or if ego’s involved, it’s the sheer love of the medium. That’s the thing, the commonality of all the films Glass Eye makes, they’re all very different, with lots of different styles whether it be European art house films or very thoughtful subtle movies that aren’t gory. It’s the love of cinema. I’m trying to work cheaply so the films can get made and get distributed so you know, we are a band of artisans. Actually, I know why we do this, for the riches! The riches that come pouring in! (laughs).
Nightmarish Conjurings: Last but certainly not least, do you have any projects you are working on that we should be keeping our eyes out for in the future?
LF: Well yes, I’m making my own film at the end of January but I don’t like to talk about things that aren’t completely set. I will say that we have another movie coming out in January called LIKE ME, from director Rob Mockler, that we are really excited about. It’s a really unique vision and quite different than PSYCHOPATHS, and that’s what we like to do, push the boundaries of the genre. We also have a movie coming out called MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND from director Ana Asensio which we are also excited about and is also very different from PSYCHOPATHS.
PSYCHOPATHS opened December 1st in select theaters and will be arriving on VOD January 2nd.