Sound And Vision: Larry Fessenden
In the article series Sound and Vision we take a look at music videos from notable directors.
This week we look at Life in a Blender's Frankenstein Cannot Be Stopped, directed by Larry Fessenden.
Larry Fessenden loves Frankenstein. It might even be an understatement to call it love. In an interview I did with him for the Dutch-language film magazine Schokkend Nieuws he stated: "It's how I see the world. It's my religion, my mythology."
Fessenden, who as a director might be most well known for two Wendigo-related features he made (the coming-of-age horror Wendigo and the eco horror The Last Winter), and his contributions for the game Until Dawn, keeps often returning to the same themes in his work. The wendigo-myth is one, but Frankenstein is the other big main staple. In Habit a person wearing a Frankenstein-mask shows up at a party, and N is for Nexus, his segment for ABCs of Death is a cheeky retelling of Frankenstein surrounding a Halloween-themed traffic accident. It is in two other films, in which he explores the limits of science, that his love for Frankenstein most clearly shines through.
No Telling, his first feature, is concerned with themes of animal testing. A doctor keeps experimenting on local farm animals, while his marriage falls apart. In our interview Fessenden told me that he wanted to explore the notion that there is a different sort of moral outrage depending on what we cut open: humans or animals. He thinks the film failed because the film hints at a greater psychological toxin surrounding the treatment of the environment, instead of putting the humans in harm's way. It might have blunted the effectiveness of the film, according to him, even if I personally like the film a lot.
For Depraved he wanted to explore themes of the brain, and how the thing that we connect with to other people emotionally, is just a physical thing. Flesh. For that purpose he builds a haunting story told from the point of view of a modern Frankenstein's monster, remembering flashes of his former life. It is an incredibly underrated film that takes the Frankenstein-mythos in some interesting new directions.
The music video of the week, Life in Blender's Frankenstein Cannot Be Stopped, instead, is beholden to Frankenstein to a very extreme degree. No new directions are taken: this is the music video of a fan, remaking his favorite movie, his mythos, his religion, on a shoestring budget. The mask that was used in N is for Nexus shows up again, as do the typical Fessenden-stop motion sequences. It is a fun video, imaginative in the way it replicates existing iconic imagery with no budget and a lot of skill. The enthusiasm and love for film shines through, as is ever the case with Fessenden's work. While he might not necessarily be a household name, he deserves to be thought of as a modern master of horror. This music video is a decidedly low-key affair, but will hopefully spur on some viewers to seek out No Telling and Depraved.