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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

The Reeler talks Last Winter (and Hostel) with Larry Fessenden

fessenden_365.jpg“As someone who makes strong horror films with unmistakably thematic interests, how do you react to directors like Eli Roth,” queries S. T. Van Airesdale over at The Reeler “and others who retroactively attempt to defend their own work with such metaphorical or thematic values?” Larry Fessenden, whose latest is the global-warming horror, shot in Iceland Last WInter, following his equally snowy Wendigo, replies, “It’s funny you ask. I just watched Hostel for the first time; I didn’t enjoy or find the merits of Cabin Fever, so I had somewhat written Eli off. I know he’s always whining in the press, defending his movies, so I thought I should see Hostel. In fact, I was asked to write something about my movie versus torture porn. I watched it and I didn’t find it offensive the way I thought I would. I thought I would find it contemptible. Sure, it’s homophobic in the sense that he’s got some issues, but it’s not like he’s not aware that he’s not dealing with that sort of thing. The sexual politics and the hatred of Americans was interesting enough, and the torture did not seem extraneous. It was obviously the point of the movie, and it was scary and doled out pretty tastefully considering the whole thing is repugnant. I think some of the later Saw movies are truly perverse, and a lot of the remakes have no agenda whatsoever. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, because some people hate The Last Winter, of course, and you get into this thing where it becomes hard to discuss. My movies have themes; I present them without shame. I’m a sincere filmmaker, and fuck it if you can’t take that. As for Eli, he does protest too much. I do find him unappealing as a public figure, but he’s making his money, so whatever. He can always say that, and he always does, and I also find that tiresome. The worst pieces of shit make money; it’s hardly an excuse. It hardly represents how well he’s doing. But I couldn’t completely dismiss Hostel.”

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“I think [technology has[ its made my life faster, it’s made the ability to succeed easier. But has that made my life better? Is it better now than it was in the eighties or seventies? I don’t think we are happier. Maybe because I’m 55, I really am asking these questions… I really want to do meaningful things! This is also the time that I really want to focus on directing. I think that I will act less and less. I’ve been doing it for 52 years. It’s a long time to do one thing and I feel like there are a lot of stories that I got out of my system that I don’t need to tell anymore. I don’t need to ever do The Accused again! That is never going to happen again! You hit these milestones as an actor, and then you say, ‘Now what? Now what do I have to say?'”
~ Jodie Foster

“If there’s one rule Hollywood has metaphysically proven in its century of experimentation, it’s that there’s no amount of money you can’t squander in the quest for hits.

“Netflix has spent the past couple years attempting to brute-force jailbreak this law. Its counter-theory has seemed to be, sure, a billion dollars doesn’t guarantee quality but how about three billion dollars? How about five billion dollars? Seven?

“This week’s latest cinematic opus to run across no-man’s-land into the machine-gun emplacements has been the Jared Leto yakuza movie ‘The Outsider.’ Once again, debuting on Netflix, another thing called a movie that at one glance doesn’t look like any kind of movie anyone has ever seen before, outside of off-prime time screenings at the AFM.

“If you’re working at a normal studio, you have one or two of these total misfires in a year and people start calling for your head. How many is Netflix going on? Fifteen? Twenty? This quarter? Any normal company would be getting murdered over results like that.”
~ Richard Rushfield