Master is a title we bestow upon those who excel and/or define their provocations. Think ‘Master craftsman’ or ‘Master of Ceremonies’*. But by its very nature this title is transitory: within this filthy prison we call ‘time’ those people identified as ‘masters’ will eventually die or retire and someone new will earn the hallmark. For example, Carlton Fisk** will always be remembered as a master catcher but the game has continued since his retirement and new players have taken his place. So too in Cinema where Carpenter, Romero and their peers will always be regarded as ‘Masters or Horror’ or trendsetters despite the fact that time has steadily moved them away from the spotlight and opened up the opportunities for others to step up and help define the next generation of horror cinema.
Only if you’re like me you don’t see too many new names filling in those ranks. Sure studios are probably turning out more horror movies a year than ever before but are any of them truly trendsetting? Are any of their creators big enough, iconic enough to be called ‘Masters’?
I firmly believe given continued opportunity Ti West will achieve a place in this fan-proclaimed Hall of Gore. So too Lucky McKee. And you can argue all you want, as I myself am tempted to based on my lukewarm opinion of the Halloween remakes but Rob Zombie is in that league now as well. Other than that though… yeah, I don’t know. It’s no big secret horror has been co-opted by the mainstream and as such… well… anyone want to nominate the creators of Saw? The Michael Bay remakes of classic 80’s slashers? Eli Roth?
Naw, didn’t think so.
So what are we left with? A hand full of insanely talented directors and some ideas but…. where’s the glue? What’s holding all of this together? Whose the next Icon?
Larry Mutha-fuckin’ Fessenden, that’s who.
This guy’s been gaining steam with me and so far everything I’ve seen that he’s had a hand in has been worthy of the toils of an icon-in-the-making. Because that’s part of the nature of icons – they work.
Mr. Fessenden’s Glass Eye Pix has been enabling new Horror-talent since the mid-80’s and now they’re finally beginning to get their head above water and garner buzz. To that end, let’s count some of Mr. Fessenden’s recent accomplishments off, shall we?
Writer/Director: The Last Winter.
Writer/Actor: Satan Hates You
Producer: House of the Devil
Producer: Trigger man
Producer/Actor: I Sell the Dead
There’s more on his IMDB page but nothing else that I’ve actually seen. However I will seek them out because this is a man who, even when not actively making a film himself casts seeds in many different directions at once. On the bonus features of Trigger man Ti West refers to Fessenden as ‘someone who will give you a little bit of money to make a film’ – this is no doubt because Mr. Fessenden is a fan of the genre and sees what it is lacking now that corporate thought processes control a large amount of its publicity and output. Horror needs someone like Mr. Fessenden; a benefactor if you will, someone to facilitate non-corporate ideas and I say it’s about time. Enough with the crappy remakes and post-Saw gorno. Let’s stop paying for crap and put the Underground back in effect right now!!!****
* Well that’s a bad example, ‘MC’ for short now denotes any douche bag with, ahem, two turntables and a microphone.
** Probably the only sports reference I will ever make in any of my writing.
*** There hasn’t been much of an underground film livelihood in what feels like a loooooonnnnggg time. That’s why I pimp folks like Fessenden, Shane Carruth or the folks responsible for Infest Wisely. Support the real shit or stop bitching about the crap!
‘You say everything sounds the same, then you go buy them‘ – The Streets.