Horror fans are the most passionate fans in all of cinema fandom. There’s no question about it. No other genre even comes close. In 1988 two brothers (Eric D. Wilkinson and David E. Wilkinson) put that passion on full display with they rented a VHS camera from Erol’s Video and shot a tribute to slashers, The Violence Movie.
The movie is a short film with little story and a very amateur feel but then again it was shot by a couple of teens in the 80’s who had no idea what they were doing. While the flaws are very much present the film is incredibly charming and the passion and love for the horror genre is on a full display. This is what being a horror fan is all about.
Remarkably, 30 years after it was shot on VHS, The Violence Movie, is making a return so the whole world can enjoy this love letter to the slasher and Bloody Disgusting has got the exclusive trailer for our readers!
“When a deranged killer (David E. Wilkinson) escapes from prison, he inexplicably invades the home of Joey Hammond (Joseph Shaugnessy) who must fight for his life in order to stay alive.”
Shot entirely on VHS back in 1988 (with additional VHS footage added in 2003) The Violence Movie features an original score from legendary composer Harry Manfredini (Friday The 13th, House, Wishmaster) in the slasher movie homage that has to be seen to be believed.
Eric, who served as director, as gone to establish a successful career as an indie filmmaker with some cult cred with credits that include the cult classic Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth, the horror thriller Mischief Night, the indie comic book movie Sparks and the upcoming The Man From Earth: Holocene. The Violence Movie represents his first foray into filmmaking.
“First of all, please let me say that The Violence Movie was never meant for public consumption,” explained Wilkinson. “My little brother and I were teenagers and we loved movies like Friday The 13th, Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street. It was summer 1988 and we had nothing to do so I had this ‘brilliant’ idea to pool our money, rent a VHS video camera at Erol’s and had 24 hours (before we had to return the camera) to make our ‘movie’. I scribbled a story and script out on scrap paper, had my brother call his best friend to join in our adventure and we just kind of made it up as we went along. I dumped it down to my Sony Betamax to edit it and the back to VHS to add music from my record collection, which included generous use of my Friday the 13th album, and we had this funny short to share with our family and friends. The tapes were passed around and we became local ‘celebrities’ in our home town.”
However, the story doesn’t end there, Fifteen years later in 2003, the original tapes were thought to be lost until a leaky water pipe in a dank basement lead to their rediscovery.
“I opened the box and there they were, the original VHS tapes for The Violence Movie and The Violence Movie 2 (yes… we shot a “sequel” over the summers of 1989 and 1990),” Wilkinson continues. “I suggested to my brother that we should digitize the tapes to “preserve our childhood” and during that process we both felt that there were little shots that were missed and things we could ‘make better.’ I dug up my old VHS camera (this time I owned one) and went back to our parent’s house and here we were, two brothers now in their thirties, acting like a couple of teenagers once again. When we were finished, we burned some DVDs and at that point I thought to myself, ‘Okay NOW it’s complete.’ Not long after that, I went on to produce my first feature film The Man From Earth.” Once again, The Violence Movie became a distant memory.” Until…
…January 2017. George Schmalz, an acquisitions executive at Sundance Now had seen The Violence Movie and thought it would be fun to put it on the subscription streaming service. He reached out to Wilkinson to inquire about its availability.
“I tried to tell him that it’s not a real movie. It looked like shit and was full of music I didn’t own,” Eric explained. “But then I thought what the hell. I’m a movie producer; I have an ultimate set of tools. I can fix it. I had my brother David work on re-digitizing the short and did something my teenage self would have loved. I reached out to composer Harry Manfredini, whose music I originally ‘borrowed’ to score my ‘movie’ thirty years ago and asked him if he would do an original score for The Violence Movie and he said yes! After three summers and thirty years I finally have the perfect version of The Violence Movie and while it’s certainly still flawed, I’m happy to share it with the rest of the world.”
The plan was for The Violence Movie to premiere via Sundance Now, but fans in New Jersey will be able to see it a month sooner as it will be screening on September 23rd at the New Jersey Horrorcon and Film Festival.
The Violence Movie is a wonderful story, 30 years in the making, and something all horror fans should be able to connect with.
The Violence Movie short will debut on Sundance Now subscription streaming service on October 1, 2017, from MVD Entertainment Group.