Masters of Horror: ‘Tales from Beyond the Pale’ returns!

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On Friday the 13th, those Masters of Horror, Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid released the second season of their excellent, radio drama series Tales from Beyond the Pale.

Tales… follows in a similar tradition to E.C. Comics Tales from the Crypt, or those wonderful portmanteau horror movies produced by Amicus Productions in 1960s and 1970s, Doctor Terror’s House of Horrors, Torture Garden, The House That Dripped Blood, Asylum and Vault of Horror.

Glenn and Larry were inspired to create Tales… after listening to an old Boris Karloff radio drama during a long, rainy drive along the east of coast of America.

Larry is the brains behind Glass Eye Pix and has been hailed as a latter-day Roger Corman. His long list of films (several award winning) as producer, director and writer, includes Beneath, The Last Winter, Stake Land, and Bitter Feast. So prolific and successful a film-maker, it’s suffice to note that Fessenden was inducted into the Fangoria Hall of Fame in 2011, and was honored as Total Film‘s “Icon of Horror” the same year.

By comparison, Glenn is just starting out, but don’t be fooled, for Irishman McQuaid is the young and impressive talent behind the excellent I Sell the Dead and more recently contributed one of the best segments, “Tuesday the 17th” to the hugely enjoyable compendium horror film V/H/S. Together Fessenden and McQuaid have created a thrilling and superlative radio drama series with Tales From Beyond the Pale.

The first season was produced over the winter of 2011, and was made available to download in Fall 2012 . What makes Tales… so successful, is the high level of production values Fessenden and McQuaid bring to each drama. As curators they bring together the best writing with the best of acting talent. Writers include Kim Newman, Ashley Thorpe, Joe Maggio, Simon Barrett, Jeff Buhler, and of course, Fessenden and McQuaid themselves. While the tales are performed by Sean Young, Ron Perlman, Vincent D’Onofrio and James Le Gros.

The first season of Tales… proved such a hit, that Fessenden and McQuaid produced a second series, but this time each drama was recorded live, in front of a studio audience.

Glenn McQuaid: “Last October we had a chance to put on a few new Tales…, and we thought it would be a new challenge to put them on live, as opposed to doing them in the studio. We basically booked this place for a month, where once a week we would put on a double-bill of Tales….

“What made it different, I suppose, was the chance to do it live. We also invited new collaborators into the mix, like Kim Newman, Simon Barrett and Clay Mcleod Chapman. Basically, it was a really great chance to get back in the saddle and get some new content out there.”

Larry Fessenden: “We wanted to pull back the curtain on the process on what is ultimately destined to be audio entertainment. We didn’t hesitate to have the director on-stage, even rushing over to an actor and whispering in the ear, ‘Speed it up a bit,’ or….”

Glenn McQuaid: “...Falling apart!”

[Laughter]

Larry Fessenden: “Glenn was helping out the Foley guy [sound FX], and doing footstep sounds. It was a fun thing to watch, because you really got a fun sense of the process.

“Another thing I always say, as an actor you really need to be relating to the microphone, not to your fellow actors, which is the traditional way of performing. In this case, each individual performer is in some way intimate with the sound environment and their microphone. All of this is fun to observe when watching the process unfold, and that was sort of the premiss of the evening.”

Glenn McQuaid: “I think having that much activity happening with various actors, technicians and Foley artists. Once we’re rolling time flew by and the job was a a joy. I was always a nervous wreck prior to each evening, you know, that didn’t get easier. It was a bit of a roller-coaster getting back into theater, which I hadn’t done since I was in my teens. It was an awful lot of fun, and it was good getting into that environment, which gave it an edge.”
 
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Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid recording ‘Tales…’
 
More thrills from Larry and Glenn, after the jump…

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘Tales from Beyond the Pale’: An interview with Glenn McQuaid & Larry Fessenden

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It’s near midnight when I make the conference call to Glenn McQuaid and Larry Fessenden. Outside I can hear early Halloween revelers making their way home - shouts, laughter, a distant scream. McQuaid is the writer and director of I Sell the Dead, which starred Indie King of Horror, Fessenden – who has been making horror films as an actor, writer, producer and director since 1985, when he set-up his company Glass Eye Pix.

The line crackles, then a faint casual tone. It’s answered, and there’s something of the séance about their voices – distant, ghostly, far off – as they come through. Eventually ‘Hello,’ Glenn’s soft Irish lilt, and we greet each other through a deafening roar. ‘Like a hurricane’ one of us says. ‘Better try again.’ This time we’re clear, and in the room.

Since 2010, McQuaid and Fessenden have been scaring the bejesus out of listeners, with their anthology radio series of top drawer horror stories called Tales from Beyond the Pale. Recorded live in front of an audience at a New York theater, Tales… brought the magnificent acting skills of Vincent D’Onofrio, Angus Scrimm, Ron Perlman, and James Le Gros, together with the writing talents of Fessenden (who also acted in certain shows), McQuaid, Graham Reznick, Ashley Thorpe, Paul Solet, J. T. Petty, Sarah Langan and Jeff Buhler. These tales of mystery and imagination varied from science fiction (“This Oracle Moon”) to fantasy and horror (“Trawler”, “Hole Digger”, “The Demon Huntsman”, “The Conformation”), and were an instant success.

The original idea for the series came to Glenn, when he and Larry were driving upstate, listening to an old Boris Karloff broadcast.

Glenn McQuaid: ‘Larry and I were driving up to the set of Jim Nichols’ movie, which Larry produced, and we were listening to an old Boris Karloff radio play. The rain started down and we found we were enrapt by this old time radio drama. And I just turned to Larry and started proposing the idea - that this was something that Glass Eye Pix could get behind, and we both talked about it.

‘A coupe of months later, we started to take the idea seriously. It came out of a desire to get a lot more of our own content out there. Initially we had treatments and outlines for projects that had been sitting around too long, and we thought this would be a good platform to get our own work out there, as well as the work of all our friends and collaborators - people like Paul Solet and Jeff Buhler. It was a desire to keep working to keep getting ideas out there, and I think it was very tempting for Larry and I to try something, which was essentially new for us at the time.

‘Basically, the project grew out of a desire to get stuff out there from ourselves, but almost more importantly from other people and step in as curators in a way, and design the anthologies. We reached out to people we’ve either worked with before, or had met and have enjoyed their work.

‘For instance, I met Paul Solet while I was showing I Sell the Dead and he was showing Grace at Fright Fest Presents… in Glasgow, and we just got on well together. When we started shifting gears with Tales from Beyond the Pale, I started reaching out to Paul Solet, Jeff Buhler - he’s another film-maker that I like, and similarly Larry reached out to a few folks he was intrigued by.’

Larry Fessenden: ‘Yeah, we hooked up with Simon Lumley, who I’d never met, I think you met him. Simon Barrett as well, who Glenn and I have both worked with, I was in Simon’s film You’re Next, and Glenn worked with him on V/H/S.

‘It’s really expanding the community, which is the other agenda, something I’ve always tried to do. It’s my theory that if there is enough of us in the same boat, then maybe we can all rise up together and take over Tinsel Town.’
 
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More tales from Glenn McQuaid and Larry Fessenden, after the jump…
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Rising Star: An interview with Glenn McQuaid


 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Rising Star: An interview with Glenn McQuaid director of ‘I Sell the Dead’ and ‘V/H/S’

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Sometimes there comes along a director, whose talent is so apparent that you wonder why they’re not more famous. Glenn McQuaid is such a director, and his first feature, I Sell the Dead, in 2008, offered everything I want from a horror film.

It was my brother who tapped me in to Mr. McQuaid’s work. My brother and I had grown-up under the spell of the horror films produced by Universal in the 1930s and 1940s (with Karloff and Lugosi, and Lon Chaney jnr.), and Hammer films (with Cushing and Lee) from the fifties and sixties. Of course there were also the Vincent Price and Roger Corman collaborations, as well as the Milton Subotsky and Max J Rosenberg anthology films of the 1960s and ‘70s.

We also had a love of stories by Dennis Wheatley (in particular his series of classic horror novels published under his Library of the Occult - Stoker, Shelley, ”Carnaki, the Ghost Finder”, and Guy Endore), and the tales of terror penned by Poe, Blackwood and Bloch.

My brother raved about I Sell the Dead, and when I saw it I had to agree. Written and directed by McQuaid, it stars Larry Fessenden, Dominic Monaghan, Ron Perlman and Angus (Phantasm) Scrimm, and is near perfect - a witty, clever and engaging story, presented in the style of the best, classic horror film. I was smitten, the same way I was when Boris Karloff as the Monster first walked backwards into the laboratory; or by Oliver Reed when he turned into a werewolf. McQuaid knows his genre and its cinematic traditions.

For his next film, McQuaid is one of the directors (alongside David Bruckner, Radio Silence, Joe Swanberg, Ti West, and Adam Wingard ) of the soon to be released anthology film, V/H/S, for which he wrote an directed the “unconventional killer-in-the-woods chiller Tuesday The 17th”. When V/H/S previewed at the Sundance Film Festival, it received the kind of exposure of which publicists dream.

At its screening two audience members fled in terror – one fainted, one puked. The last time I recall such a response was for The Exorcist in 1973, where there were reports of fainting, vomiting, and even an alleged possession.

When was shown at SXSW, V/H/S was described as ”an incredibly entertaining film that succeeds in being humorous, sexy, gross and scary as fuck.” While Dead Central gave it 5/5.

Though all the directors have been praised for the quality of their films, the reviews have singled out McQuaid for the excellence and originality of his contribution.

Before all this kicked off, I contacted Glenn McQuaid to organize an interview. Over the following weeks emails went back-and-forth, until the following arrived. The interview covers Mr McQuaid’s background, his influences, early work, The Resurrection Apprentice, working with Larry Fessenden, Ron Perlman and Dominic Monaghan on I Sell the Dead, to V/H/S.
 

 
The full interview with Glenn McQuaid, after the jump….
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion