News

June 21, 2016

TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE wins the Silver Radio Award for Best Regularly Scheduled Drama Program at the 2016 New York Festival’s International Radio Program Awards! Co-creator Glenn McQuaid was in attendance, accepting the award. Check out the pics below!

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December 20, 2015

Indiewire hosts the latest TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE episode by Joe Maggio. CANNIBALS follows an auteur who discovers that a young filmmaker is biting his style.

Indiewire is exclusively premiering new episodes from the third season of “Tales From Beyond the Pale,” the audio play series produced by Glass Eye Pix. Episodes will be available for two-day windows. 

The season concludes today with filmmaker Joe Maggio’s “Cannibals.” Read an interview with Maggio conducted by Indiewire’s Eric Kohn about the inspiration for the episode below. Pre-order the third season of “Tales From Beyond the Pale” here.

The story of “Cannibals” involves an established director who confronts a young filmmaker who’s been ripping him off. Is this something you’ve experienced firsthand? 

Well, I’ve done my share of idol worshipping — writers and directors I became obsessed with and whose work I devoured. I started off with Cassavetes. I watched his films over and over again, but beyond the film work I really dug into his personal life. I wanted to know what brand of cigarette he smoked, what was his cocktail of choice, whose shirts did he wear, that kind of stuff. I suppose that, unconsciously, I was simply trying to conjure up a presence, to get as close as possible to the man so that some of his greatness might rub off.

READ MORE: How Horror Movies Have Changed Since ‘Psycho,’ According to Filmmaker Eric Red

After Cassavetes I had a David Lynch phase, Kieszlowski, Fellini…And then you reach an age where such obsessive fandom feels somehow undignified. You become your own person, comfortable in your own skin, and it feels silly to be so involved in the minute details of another man’s life. It’s like when I see a grown man walking around in a football jersey with another man’s name on the back – it’s ridiculous! For “Cannibals,” I wondered how it must feel to know that there is this person out there digging into every aspect of your creative and personal life. I imagined it would feel flattering to a point, but then it might start to feel like a violation, or worse…

How did this approach to storytelling differ from your experiences as a filmmaker?

“You reach an age where obsessive fandom feels somehow undignified.”

This is actually my third time out with “Tales From Beyond the Pale” so I feel like I’ve made some progress as a “radioist.” I guess the most obvious difference between radio and film is that with a radio play you’ve got to be careful that your story will be compelling on a purely auditory level, which really isn’t that hard because frankly I find it compelling to just listen to someone with an interesting voice saying interesting things. And that really is the biggest difference for me, that the radio plays allow me to write really long passages of dialogue, which I love to do and which is not something I can get away with as a filmmaker.

With film, I feel like I’m always trying to trim things back, to show and say the minimum. But with the radio plays I let it rip.

You’ve been exploring themes of human depravity across several films. What appeals to you about this focus? 

Oh, I guess what I’m really exploring is my own depravity, my own sick fantasies, or the crushing fears that would otherwise fester inside of me. Writing about these things and then watching an actor get up and speak the words that previously only existed in my head, or perform the gestures and actions I’d imagined a thousand times is a way of exorcising my depravity and achieving a kind of transcendence.

What’s your relationship to the horror genre? Do you consider horror to be a part of your earlier films? “Bitter Feast” is the only one that has some horror elements.

I don’t think I’ve ever made a movie that lies strictly within the horror genre, although “Bitter Feast” comes the closest. I’m someone who dabbles in horror, who sees the horror in the seemingly benign — which, when I think about it now, is actually a defining characteristic of the best horror films, or at least my favorite horror films, like “The Exorcist” or “The Shining.” You start with something so ordinary, so familiar, and then you start peeling away the layers until you get to the rotting core.

What’s next for you?

I’m just finishing a new film, “Supermoto,” about a girl who wakes up in a motel on the edge of the prairie in Eastern North Dakota. She quickly discovers that her boyfriend has ditched her and all he’s left behind is a toothbrush, a few bucks, a set of racing leathers and a supermoto motorcycle. We shot in scope with seventies-era Lomo anamorphic lenses. It’s gonna be pretty sweet.

Cannibals

December 18, 2015

Indiewire hosts Eric Red’s LITTLE NASTIES, a new TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE episode about the terror of children’s beauty pageants.


Indiewire is exclusively premiering new episodes from the third season of “Tales From Beyond the Pale,” the audio play series produced by Glass Eye Pix. Episodes will be available for two-day windows. 

The season continues with filmmaker Eric Red’s “Little Nasties.” Listen to the episode above, and read an interview with Red conducted by Indiewire’s Eric Kohn about the inspiration for the episode below. Pre-order the third season of “Tales From Beyond the Pale” here.

How would you say this medium of storytelling differs from filmmaking? From novels?

Doing a radio show is like making a movie because you’re dealing with getting performances from actors and working with a sound effects mix to tell the story. But it’s really more like a novel, because radio enlists the audience’s imagination as an active participant. A film shows you pictures, a book makes you supply your own, and so does radio. What I love about writing novels is when people read a book they provide their own images to the prose, which is a more intimate involvement because they’re engaging their imagination. It’s the same thing with radio — when you listen to the show, you see what you’re hearing in your head. The fun in doing one of these as a writer and director is designing it to work so the listener fills in the blanks.

READ MORE: ‘Tales From Beyond the Pale’ Season 3 Posters Will Chill You to the Bone

When I was a kid, my grandfather used to tell me about the horror radio shows he listened to as a boy. When he described those radio scenes — the ghostly train engines, the creaking footsteps and rattling bones — my imagination ran wild…just like his must have as a child huddling around the radio listening to famous horror shows like “Inner Sanctum” and “Lights Out.”

“Tales From Beyond the Pale” reinvents the classic radio horror show format for modern horror audiences in the hippest, coolest way.

What inspired your interest in a child beauty pageant as a setting for a horror story?

A while ago, I watched a documentary on child beauty pageants and honestly was mortified. Not just how the pageants objectified children in a pervy way — the whole Jean Benet Ramsey thing — but how some of the kids seemed to be bossing their parents around in every respect. It’s a different culture, so I’m not judging.  But it seemed to me a unique setting for a horror tale that also satirized the child beauty pageant world, in a funny scary way.  So that was the inspiration for “Little Nasties.”

How has this genre evolved since you first started contributing to it? 

“It’s not how you show it but how you don’t show it.”

I think the genre has devolved somewhat. There’s too much gore now, to the point where it’s totally off the chain. The classic horror films that influenced me like “Psycho,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” or “The Exorcist” were more grounded in character and reality, relying on sophisticated suspense and tension techniques. My most recent film, “100 Feet,” with Famke Janssen and Bobby Cannavale, was a throwback to those. The whole film was a woman under house arrest haunted by the ghost of her husband. Even though it was one location and mostly a one-woman show, it still had the audience on the edge of their seat throughout, even with only one death scene.

To me, it’s not how you show it but how you don’t show it. The classic example is the shower scene in “Psycho” — you don’t see any nudity or knife wounds, you just think you do because of how the sequence is designed, so your imagination supplies the pictures, which is what makes the scene so scary. To me, that’s more interesting, and brings me back to what was so much fun about doing “Little Nasties”: the whole show was about using just sound and dialogue to tell a story the audience uses their imagination to visualize, which is very intense.

You started your career in the eighties. What sort of creative challenges have you faced since you first started making movies? 

Getting them made is the biggest creative challenge, same as always. I am very happy to be able say that the films I’ve written and directed so far, “Cohen and Tate,” “Body Parts,” “Undertow,” “Bad Moon” and “100 Feet” all turned out the way I wanted, though they were occasionally a battle to get made. If it was easy, everybody would do it.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on films of my two most recent novels, “It Waits Below,” and “White Knuckle,” and writing the sequel to my novel, “The Guns of Santa Sangre,” which will be the second book in a trilogy.

Little Nasties

December 11, 2015

Indiewire hosts Jeff Buhler’s GUTTERMOUTH, a new TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE episode inspired by the fact that he’s “always been terrified of drains.” Streaming now!

The story for “Guttermouth” involves a man who hears voices coming from a drain. What inspired this premise?

I don’t really know how to explain this, but I’ve always been terrified of drains. Not terrified like I don’t want to take a bath, but ever since I was little, I remember thinking how weird it is that all the water we use just goes down these pipes to some place underground. Stare at the sink for a while and your imagination wanders…

What tradition would you place this story in? On the one hand, it’s got a creepy supernatural tone; at the same time, it’s more of a psychological thriller.

I would put this in the relationship drama department. What is really at play here is a failing relationship and that is something we can all relate to, whether is a partner or friend. The supernatural stuff is really the mirror we hold up to look at ourselves and the silly head games we all play with each other.

As a filmmaker, how would you say the process of crafting audio plays differs from making movies?

“The supernatural stuff is really the mirror we hold up to look at ourselves.”

This is my third go around with the “Tales” gang, and I would say I’m finally getting my head around that very question. Audio storytelling is freedom.  There’s no crews, cameras, lights, etc. It’s far closer to theater that way.  The storytelling rests completely on the actors and the sound design, both of which are aspects of filmmaking that I love. I mean, who doesn’t love foley?  It’s just a blast to watch people walking on kitty litter or ripping up bunches of celery for bone snaps.

I was over at Larry Fessenden’s house and accidentally broke an extremely valuable vase. Doing these shows is the only way I can pay Larry back. He promises to knock $200 off my tab every time I turn one in but I don’t really trust him or that Glenn McQuaid fellow. Very shifty, that pair.

More generally, what do you like about working with Glass Eye Pix?

Basically it’s all about creative freedom.  Glass Eye lets creators run with ideas that no one else would touch.  They are supportive throughout the process but not intrusive.  And, most importantly, they’re getting really good at doing these things.  When I see the evolution from Season One to these recent Tales, I am really proud to have been a part of it from the beginning.

You’re currently working on several remakes. What do you make of this particular creative challenge and how does it differ from other projects?

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“Jacob’s Ladder” was the first in what I’m calling my Trilogy of Reboots.  After that, it was a new “Pet Sematary” and then a new “Grudge.”  With each of those projects, the challenge was to find ways to make the current version have a reason to exist other than the name. Each of those scripts are completely different from the original movies — or books — in certain details, but remain true to the spirit of the original stories. They’re all fun and, I think, will not feel like a lame horror cash grab but actually a companion piece to these movies that we, as fans, hold so dearly.

With the “Tales” work, it’s completely just for fun. There are very little restrictions. The stories are all originals. Each one is completely different from the ones before. Writing and directing the “Tales” episodes feels like doing short stories after you’ve been working on giant novels.  They’re quick and fun and best of all, they get made!

What else do you have in the pipeline?

Outside of my Trilogy of Reboots, I’m just finishing a script I’ve been developing with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo — who is also the director of “Pet Sematary” — called “Into The Zombie Underworld,” which takes place in Haiti and delves into the real life experiences of a journalist who lived there just before the earthquake.  It’s all based on real events and very, very scary.  A bit like a gritty and modern “Serpent and the Rainbow” but real dark shit. A lot of fun to write. I also wrote a supernatural thriller called “Descendant” that is being produced this coming year with Screen Gems, and “Lotus,” which will be directed by Nicholas Macarthy, who did a wonderful little film called “The Pact. ”

And of course, I’m always coming up with more ideas for the “Tales” gang.  Gotta pay off that vase…

December 11, 2015

It’s Friday, so it must be time for new TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE! NATURAL SELECTION, by Fessenden, starring Dominic Monaghan, streaming now on Indiewire.


For the next several weeks, Indiewire is exclusively premiering new episodes from the third season of “Tales From Beyond the Pale,” the audio play series produced by Glass Eye Pix. Episodes will be available for two-day windows. 

The season continues with filmmaker Larry Fessenden’s “Natural Selection,” starring Dominic Monaghan. Listen to the episode above, and read interviews with Fessenden and Monaghan conducted by Indiewire’s Eric Kohn about the inspiration for the episode below.

The episode is inspired by the show “Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan.” When did you discover the show and how did you get Dominic onboard to play the lead role?

I worked with Dom on Glenn McQuaid’s movie “I Sell the Dead” and we’ve always stayed in touch, so naturally when his show came on, I tuned in. The show has a really fun travel-type vibe, lively editing and exotic locations that become increasingly remote as each episode progresses toward the discovery of some rare creature that Dom is ultimately going to commune with on camera. But what is most meaningful to me is the ethos at work; Dom is fearless but not foolish in the way of daredevil personalities stalking alligators. He is incredibly respectful of the creatures in a trans-species sort of way that is so rare in popular entertainment.

Anyway, whenever I watch a show like that, any reality TV stuff or documentaries, I always think of the cameraman who is entirely invisible to the viewer but presumably doing everything the host is, only with a camera on his shoulders. Like they used to say, Ginger Rogers was doing all Fred Astair’s moves, only backwards and in heels. So I wanted to bring that idea into a story. In all the tales we’ve done, there are very few if any that would be considered “found footage,” so I was inspired to try something with that aspect to it.

“My mind clouds over with frustration at human arrogance…so I write a horror story.”

Next, I thought of how to tell the story personally and of course my trip to the Galapagos came to mind. I don’t travel often but the remote places I’ve been are my favorite and most memorable: Iceland, Alaska, the Redwoods — the places that are about the land and the animals more than the people. You can’t really visit or think about the Galapagos Islands without thinking about evolution and the power of observation and insight that a naturalist like Darwin brought to the world. Of course, all this wonderment leads me to think about the idiotic controversies that we have in our public and political diatribes, and my mind clouds over with frustration at human arrogance and the way religious doctrine is wielded like a blunt club. So I tip over into the dark side and write a horror story.

What were the challenges of representing this setting only through audio? 

I wanted to represent the remoteness of the islands by depicting the travel it takes to get there, and to take the listener from bustling Ecuador to this remote island in the sea populated only by birds. At the very end, it’s just one man and the birds. I used the motif of the chattering birds — boobies, to be precise — which are a species specific to these islands. I also have flamingos in there, which have a very unusual call. The idea was to have the vocalizations of the birds rise and fall with their excitement level and use that as a storytelling device: when they grow silent, the monster is near.

Ever since your first feature “No Telling,” you’ve dealt with ecological themes in your work. How does “Natural Selection” fit into that focus? 

Spoiler alert!

“What is scariest in life is not violence and death but loneliness.” –Larry Fessenden

I think of “Natural Selection” as the story of a man who transforms into another species without fear and horror, showing his true openness to the world. In a way, the story is told from the point of view of the cameraman, who witnesses the horror and then has to confront the same fate himself. In the end, it is a story about how we confront death and change and deal with the unknown. Ross Geary, Dom’s character, undergoes his fate without judgement. It is also, as I have said, about the cameraman. He’s left alone, repeating the same experience, but without the same perspective that eased Geary’s end, so his fate is more chilling. In setting up that ending, I contemplate that what is scariest in life is not violence and death but loneliness, the simple existential truth of existence. It’s a common theme in my work.

What has changed with respect to these issues since you started tackling them in your films?

The world has become more partisan and desperate since I began thinking about ecological things in the mid-eighties. I have seen public discourse go from civilized to irrational and vitriolic. In a sense, all my worst fears are coming true as humankind has become detached from the natural world and lost in a narcissistic death spiral exacerbated by the echo chamber of the internet. All the wars and unrest we are experiencing are resource wars and climate wars, brought on by a global eco-system under deep duress. This was all foreseen decades ago in books I was reading. So while I have always operated under a sense of urgency, there is also now a feeling of resignation and sadness as well.

In a broader sense, how do you avoid simply shilling for your message without losing something in the storytelling department?

Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid

In all my work I am trying to get at a philosophical perspective about an individual’s place in the world. In the final analysis, I am trying to question the mythologies under which we exist, the basic assumptions our society operates under that in my view is not sustainable. This viewpoint, which is very personal, can be alined with the environmental movement and the talking points of various eco-causes. But then again, movies about the devil and exorcisms are in fact assuming a religious context where a devil exists. It is essential to understand where our stories are rooted. My stories may seem preoccupied with “nature,” but that’s because it’s what we as sentient beings are dealing with, not gods and devils. Those things reside in ourselves.

When will we see your next movie?

After this interview I’m sure I’ll never get financed again!

Below, Dominic Monaghan shares some thoughts on how his decision to perform in “Natural Selection.”

'Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan'

What made you want to do this?

Well, I love Larry, Glenn McQuaid, working with Billy Boyd, and “Tales From Beyond the Pale.” All plus points.

How did the production experience differ from what you usually do?

Always the same. Who’s the character? How do I identify with him? How can I add more? How can I help? How can I have fun?

What do you make of the ecological themes in the show? 

Larry very much hit upon something that has made us close friends over the years. We share the same worries and hopes for the future of this planet. We want the same things. We see the same warnings. It’s a cautionary tale — with a little fun!

How does your own program address these issues?

I attempt to inspire curiosity and eradicate fear from some classic situations that typically inspire fear: Travel. Planes. Heights. New things. Cultures. Ideas. Creeds. Unknown foods. And animals, of course.

Why would someone familiar with your show want to check out this episode?

I think they both exist as two separate things just fine, but if you have seen Larry and I in “I Sell the Dead,” or seen Billy and I in “The Lord of the Rings,” maybe you’ll want to check things out more. But it’s a great story full of exciting moments of suspense and intrigue. I had a lot of fun doing it and I hope that shows.