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!”
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.”
Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid recording ‘Tales…’
More thrills from Larry and Glenn, after the jump…