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Larry Fessenden et al. create pandemic-era fear in “ISOLATION”

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 | News


Numerous filmmakers have been creating fright films while on lockdown, and a just-wrapped anthology project has one of the highest-powered directorial lineups.

ISOLATION was produced by director/producer Nathan Crooker’s Ghost Gang company, along with James P. Gannon and Sophie Gold. The directors include New York horror mogul Larry Fessenden (WENDIGO), Dennie Gordon (JACK RYAN, LEGION), Bobby Roe (the HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT movies), Andrew Kasch (TALES OF HALLOWEEN), Zach Passero (WICKED LAKE), Christian Pasquariello, Alexandra Neary, Alix Austin & Keir Siewert and Kyle I. Kelley & Adam Brown. According to the PR, “Crooker created a fictional world many months into the future that is based around the current global pandemic. All nine filmmakers used the same unifying framework in creating their stories. The filmmakers were tasked with how to stay creative using only what was available to them at the time. They were not allowed to use Zoom or any other video-conferencing services and were only allowed to use the equipment and resources they had with them when they entered into lockdown, including cast and crew, adhering to the COVID-19 protocols.”

“At the start of quarantine,” Crooker says, “I found my feature film that was in preproduction put on hold due to the pandemic. I knew that other filmmakers were in similar situations, but that they still had a burning desire to create even though we were in lockdown. As a filmmaker, I see this moment in our history as our time to be more creative. By leaning into the limitations we have, we can as a community be inspired to create bold, new, thought-provoking, socially relevant stories and that’s exactly what these filmmakers were able to achieve. ISOLATION will not only be a thrill ride but a time capsule for future generations. I am in awe at the level in which these filmmakers not only embraced the rules we set for them, but greatly surpassed our high expectations as to what they would be able to deliver.”

Says Gannon, “The future was put on hold in an unimaginable way for all of us in those first few weeks. These feelings were so new and visceral, as storytellers we only really knew of one way to express them to the world. Some people baked bread, we made a movie.”

Crooker continues, “ISOLATION explores the human condition through a genre lens, weaved together in an anthology experience. The films live under a banner of survival and deal with relatable themes such as: human connection, paranoia, hope, love, escapism, fear of the unknown, abandonment and opportunism… Like any good horror film, the themes transcend the genre.”

Adds Gold, “Watching these films, I was inspired by the filmmakers’ passion and zeal to produce and explore big ideas, under challenging conditions. With very little time, these movies blew me away with their production value and attention to detail. I held my breath as we journeyed to each city, seeing how people’s lives unfolded under such strenuous circumstances. Moreover, watching these films gave a voice to how I felt being isolated alone. I hope that these films will inspire other filmmakers to create and tell their stories no matter the circumstances.”

Production began in March of this year, and ISOLATION is currently nearing the end of postproduction. Ghost Gang is already in distribution talks; stay tuned for further updates!​

Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold (RUE MORGUE's Head Writer) has been covering the world of horror cinema for over three decades, and in addition to his work for RUE MORGUE, he has been a longtime writer and editor for FANGORIA magazine and its website. He has also written for BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH, SCREAM,, TIME OUT, DELIRIUM, MOVIEMAKER and others. He is the author of the AD NAUSEAM books (1984 Publishing) and THE FRIGHTFEST GUIDE TO MONSTER MOVIES (FAB Press), and he has contributed documentaries, featurettes and liner notes to numerous Blu-rays, including the award-winning feature-length doc TWISTED TALE: THE UNMAKING OF "SPOOKIES" (Vinegar Syndrome).