George Romero and his film Night Of The Living Dead (1968) have had an incalculable impact on horror cinema, and the way filmmakers attack the genre. Romero is one of my favorite directors, and he's been hugely influential on my work as a filmmaker. Obviously, I'm not alone in this.
Another artist who was influenced by Romero is another of my favorite filmmakers, director/actor/producer Larry Fessenden (Habit, The Last Winter). He is the producer of a unique documentary about Romero and Night Of The Living Dead. Fessenden's documentary is called Birth Of The Living Dead, currently available on demand and now rolling out in theaters. Fessenden routinely cites Night Of The Living Dead as one of his favorite films. It is fascinating to see such a respected filmmaker function as a producer on a documentary about a director he greatly respects.
I had been a huge fan of Fessenden's films long before I had the pleasure of working alongside him on the set of Stake Land (2011). Through this meeting, and through subsequent email conversations and such, I've struck up a friendship with this director who I admire very much. Therefore, it was with great pleasure I took on the assignment of interviewing Larry for FEARnet about Birth Of The Living Dead and his impressive quantity of additional contributions to the horror genre. You can descend into the eye-opening and brutally honest interview here.
Just as I was putting the finishing touches on this interview for FEARnet, another publication contacted me, requesting an interview with me. The writer seemed quite excited that I was consenting to the interview. He says he's been a fan of my work for many years. I noted the intertwining, almost cannibalistic aspect of this... Romero was being documented by one of his fans, Larry Fessenden. I was interviewing Larry Fessenden for FEARnet. I was being interviewed by a fervent fan of my own films.
One could view this series of events as simply weird... like a quirky film journalism Human Centipede scenario. But personally, I think it's pretty damn cool. I grew up on Romero's films, and I was very much inspired by the work of Larry Fessenden. I'm pleasantly surprised by, and quite appreciative of the fact that others think of me in a similar light - enough to want to interview me about my work.
These events of the past few days remind me that I'm very lucky. I work very hard for the little rewards that, occasionally, come my way, and verify that I am indeed a tiny little thread in the fabric of horror cinema. It's reassuring - and it fuels me to continue working the long hours and enduring the many setbacks this industry delivers. I don't take such rewards for granted. I genuinely appreciate being a small link in this chain reaction.
Thanks for reading.
- Eric Stanze