Magnolia releases V/H/S (write your reviews) DVD/Blu-ray TODAY, December 4th! Extras include deleted scenes, a featurette on the visual effects, a behind the scenes featurette, an AXS TV: A Look at V/H/S feature, a filmmakers’ commentary and trailers. If you’re not into physical media, it’s also available on iTunes – though I’m not sure if all of the extras come with that version.
In the film “When a group of petty criminals is hired by a mysterious party to retrieve a rare piece of found footage from a rundown house in the middle of nowhere, they soon realize that the job isn’t going to be as easy as they thought. In the living room, a lifeless body holds court before a hub of old television sets, surrounded by stacks upon stacks of VHS tapes. As they search for the right one, they are treated to a seemingly endless number of horrifying videos, each stranger than the last.”
To celebrate we’ve got some (in most cases) new/previously unpublished quotes from filmmakers Adam Wingard (You’re Next, A Horrible Way to Die, Pop Skull), Simon Barrett (You’re Next, Dead Birds, Red Sands), Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Roost, The Innkeepers), David Bruckner (The Signal), Joe Swanberg (Silver Bullets), Glenn McQuaid (I Sell the Dead), and Radio Silence.
Head inside for some brief reflections on their segments.
TAPE 56 (Wraparound) – Adam Wingard (Director) & Simon Barrett (Writer)
Wingard on his objective with the wraparound, “I almost felt like the main point of it was to sort of become invisible a little bit. At the end of the day when you watch ‘Creepshow’ you just want to get to the next segment. So once you’ve set things up and the segments start going, I felt like our job was always to keep the wraparound moving and keep it brief. It joins everything together in a loose way that keeps it from feeling like a collection of short films.”
Barrett: “At the time [we conceived of it], a wraparound hadn’t been done in a while, though after we put it together we saw ‘Theater Bizarre’ which has a bit of a wraparound. But we felt that the combination of a new style, this really aggressive found footage style, with the very old-fashioned anthology wraparound style was kind of key to what I hoped would make the film successful. We wanted the world to feel unified.”
AMATEUR NIGHT – David Bruckner (Director)
On making found-footage cinematic, “It’s astonishing to me how similar it is to everything else. It’s unique in the way that every production is unique, but we’re still trying to make something completely false happen in front of the camera that makes it look real. It’s just in this case, the head is the camera.”
Why do some people mistake the misogyny of the characters for misogyny in the film? “There’s what people do onscreen and then there’s the voice of the puppeteer. And I think a lot of it context. A to of it has to do with the fact that this is a horror film, and that it’s found footage. I also think a lot of it is that several of the segments took on this topic, and none of us knew what the others were doing [laughs]. But we’re not chasing down a scantily clad woman with a knife, she’s chasing us. Just because the female character is on the other side of that doesn’t make her evil. She might be terrifying to our characters, but that’s not a judgement on her. The movie is conscious of the male gaze within the context of video voyeurism.”
SECOND HONEYMOON – Ti West (Director)
On the conceit behind his segment’s approach to horror, “I don’t know why I wanted to do something relationship oriented. It’s just the first thing that popped into my head. I knew the actors I wanted to work with. And I had the idea that someone watching you while you sleep is really scary.”
TUESDAY THE 17TH – Glenn McQuaid (Director)
On getting to the carnage, ““I think found footage has been around long enough that we’ve begun to realize that sh*t needs to happen and hit the fan. Also the fact that they’re all short segments it was important to [hit the ground running]. I always keep the audience in mind, and I can only speak for my own piece, I kind of wanted to uproot everything and let things get a bit surreal.”
THE SICK THING THAT HAPPENED TO EMILY WHEN SHE WAS YOUNGER – Joe Swanberg (Director)
On some of the most important elements of the segment, “Simon [Barret] wrote a really great script and Helen [Rogers] is amazing. She’s alive in a way that a lot of actors aren’t. There’s a human alertness and vulnerability going on that hasn’t been squashed by reciting dialogue.”
That… queasy moment with her arm? “There’s always a slight remove with digital effects. This gives the actors something real to be working with. The stuff on her arm, it was nice to be able to put the edge of the knife under it. It was really gross.”
10/31/98 – Radio Silence (Directors Chad Villella, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett and Justin Martinez)
Making online shorts taught them how to keep the audience invested in their breakneck segment, Matt, “We talk about that a lot a lot. On the internet, if you lose someone for 10 seconds – you’re done. ‘F*ck this. I’m gonna go look at a cat’.” Tyler ,”So even if there’s a slower pace to a section of your film, you should still be delivering information fairly constantly.” Matt, “On the internet, what a movie might have 10 minutes to do, you have to do in 5 seconds.”
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