V/H/S

V/H/S

Calvin Reeder in "Tape 56" in V/H/S, a Magnet Release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

V/H/S (2012)

Also Known As: VHS

Opened: 10/05/2012 Limited

Limited10/05/2012
Sunshine Cinema10/05/2012 - 10/18/201214 days
The Nuart10/05/2012 - 10/11/20127 days
Kendall Square...10/05/2012 - 10/11/20127 days
DVD12/04/2012

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Facebook

Genre: Anthology Horror

Rated: R for bloody violence, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, pervasive language and some drug use.

This Collection Is Killer

Synopsis

V/H/S is a POV, found-footage horror film from the perspective of America's top genre filmmakers. In V/H/S, a group of misfits are hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house in the countryside and acquire a rare tape. Upon searching the house, the guys are confronted with a dead body, a hub of old televisions and an endless supply of cryptic footage, each video stranger and more inexplicable than the last...

Director's Statements

David Bruckner ("Amateur Night")

Okay, everyone jokes that porn rules the internet. But these days the sheer volume and influence is often regarded as epidemic. There's a whole generation of "man-boys" steeped in DIY sexual imagery from POV/amateur/voyeur porn to high profile sex-tapes/scandals. They've roll-played with tape creators again and again, choosing fantasy women at will from a wide and varied lot. All the while, striving to get closer and closer to something "real" and "authentic." With the ease of cell camera technology, many have crossed over into creating their own entertainment. Those who haven't have certainly flirted with the possibility. Asking themselves, "Would I?" "Could I?" Maybe even propositioning their girlfriends.

This is an excellent emotional launch pad for good horror. Before we ever enter the realm of violent supernatural events, we can conjure feelings of arousal, anxiety, guilt and dread already existing in our audience. Haunting them with the stuff they keep secret. Priming their vulnerabilities, so when it gets crazy... the old school horror tricks really sink in.

To my knowledge the POV/found footage horror genre has yet to tap into the sex-tape genre. It gives a good structural shorthand. Everybody gets the notion right away. So we avoid lengthy found footage explanations like "my friend the indie filmmaker that has to keep shooting" or heavy backstory exposition often necessary to justify a "rare supernatural occurrence" or "a documentary in the making." The set-up creates a lean intro and gets us to the action in relatively quick order.

Furthermore, it buys us an urban setting. Something very familiar. Spring break with college kids. Hotel rooms and bars. An environment that we can easily draw association.

On the nudity and violence? Depending on how far a production would want to go, we could always scale it back if was too extreme. The story suggests, like all found footage flicks, that the video was "recovered" with the glasses in the street at the end. But you could always employ the censored "black bars" if you wanted to show everything and suggest the extreme. Might be a fun convention. (Especially if the video blurred out Patrick's severed genitals. I know, very sick. But funny.) Otherwise, we'd just cover the hell out of the hotel action and give ourselves lots of room to move.

My feeling is that this topic lends itself to something as extreme as an "R" rating will allow. It's not just gratuitous to be gratuitous. It's about gratuity. And the violence should be as harsh as the sexuality. That's the emotional pendulum swinging back and forth.

The monster is a succubus. Specifics of the design are intentionally left vague for now. But a contortionist is required for a lot of the movement. Mostly she's kept in the dark or at a distance. The camera gets foggy in the one "see everything" moment. Granting some wiggle room to make sure the audience undoubtedly buys it through and through. I figure aim for the sweet spot between spectacle and the imagination and it might never leave our brains.

Of course, I have a million other thoughts on how to do this. Thanks for your time.

Joe Swanberg ("The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger")

The invitation to participate in V/H/S was a treat for me. I have always been a fan of horror films, but my personal work never took me in that direction. My collaborations with Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett outside of V/H/S, and my experience acting in Ti West's segment, whet my appetite for this kind of bloody, scary filmmaking. Despite my association with "Mumblecore" and low-budget relationship films, I had no interest in making a "Mumblecore" horror film. I took this opportunity very seriously and it presented me with two exciting challenges: working from someone else's script and making a straight forward genre film. Thankfully, Simon's excellent script contained several elements that personally fascinate me, namely communication and technology, so it was an easy world to dive into. I worked collaboratively with Adam, Simon, and my two leads, Helen Rogers and Daniel Kaufman, to create a believable, emotional, horrifying situation. Lino Stavole, our special effects guru, went above and beyond with his expert practical effects to add the final layer of naturalism to the bloody proceedings. I hope it's as fun to watch as it was to make.

Glenn McQuaid ("Tuesday the 17th")

Being an anthology film fanatic, I jumped at the chance to be a part of V/H/S. From Michael Redgrave's seemingly alive (and twisted) ventriloquist's dummy in DEAD OF NIGHT, to John Lithgow's white-knuckled air traveler in TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, some of my favorite cinematic moments come from portmanteau horror. Adding "found footage" to the mix seemed a genius stroke, and though certainly a new way of working for me, I tried to embrace the mandate. In the past, I have sketched, storyboarded and generally come to set with a very precise picture of how a particular scene needs to be constructed. V/H/S was a different beast; it allowed me time to improvise with a great cast and crew, and to try a different way of working.

When I was asked to submit the "slasher" segment of V/H/S, I looked to the one "slasher" film that stole my heart: Tom McLoughlin's JASON LIVES: FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 6. Its blend of humor and atmosphere never detracts from the scares, and its sly nod to gothic horror always puts a smile on my face. And so, with "Tuesday the 17th," I tried to insert all the elements of what I consider a good "slasher" film; the jock, the cheerleader, the outsider, the nerd, and of course the killer. In the early stages of the project, I went through many different sketches and concepts of what our supernatural "slasher" should look like, eventually settling on none. The brief (at least in my own head) was to create a visually evasive killer that would have the audience questioning what they are seeing, and more importantly, leave the audience questioning what the victims saw. Is the killer an invisible presence that just shows up on camera? Or perhaps something more physical that the camera can barely pick up on at all?

At the end of the day my goal was to create a fun fifteen minutes of eerie carnage, more "Scooby Doo" than TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.

I hope folks out there enjoy the V/H/S collection of tales. So far, it's been nice to note that everyone who's seen it has their own personal favorite, a telling sign of a great anthology.

Adam Wingard ("Tape 56")

There were a few things that had always bugged me about the found footage format. By and large each found footage motion picture has a set of rules that when established cannot be broken for the remainder of the film. The main example in this case would be the perspective of the character operating the camera. Unlike normal narrative filmmaking you have to pick how the characters perceive the action by what they are physically documenting it with. I felt like while this can actually be a compelling device it often times would eventually lead to editing traps that result in a lag of pacing. My response to that was to set up a two camera found footage motif in order to keep the pacing feeling relentless. I also can't stand when filmmakers use high end cameras and then attempt to pass them off as consumer or even prosumer products. In this case I felt like a bunch of crazy kids filming their crime sprees wouldn't care what they recorded on. Therefore I thought this was a great opportunity to play with the old school VHS load-in cameras that I grew up on. Back in the day when I would film backyard action flicks I found all the glitchy-ness of analog camcorders as a hindrance. Every time you brushed against the brick-sized battery your shot was ruined by a haze of strange static-ky analog fuzz. But now years later here I am using these same cameras but I'm actually attempting to instigate glitches in the footage for added production value.

VHS is becoming a lost and ineffective / nostalgic technology. It has a textural quality that cannot be found in the more advanced HD devices of today. That's what V/H/S was for me...It was a great experiment in finding inventive perspectives of found footage and utilizing all aspects of technology from VHS analog footage all the way to recorded Skype conversations.

There is an authenticity that I am not only proud of in my segment but in all the other filmmakers involved.

Ti West ("Second Honeymoon")

It was fun to be a part of something with such creative freedom. I was able to come up with my own idea within the framework of the project, and really experiment with the "found-footage" sub-genre however I wanted. As a filmmaker, that is incredibly enticing. It was pleasure to work with such a great cast, and collaborate with a lot of on-set improvisation, to create a sense of realism not often found in these types of movies. Another benefit of the film being "found-footage" was that myself, and the cast actually experienced the same trip as the characters in the film. There was no crew beyond the four of us. We met in LA, rented a car and drove to Arizona, filming little bits along the way. It was a film shoot / weekend getaway, and one of the more enjoyable creative experiences I have had to date.

Radio Silence ("10/31/98")

Our involvement in V/H/S started with a fake email.

On May 2nd, 2010, someone named "Rebecca" emailed Brad Miska at Bloody Disgusting a link to one of our shorts--Mountain Devil Prank Fails Horribly--to see if it would get his coveted seal of approval.

Brad replied to "Rebecca" a few minutes later and she kindly put him in touch with us. A couple weeks after that, we met Brad for the first time.

To this day, we never told him there is no "Rebecca." Until now. Sorry, Brad!

We were the last of the six directors brought into the V/H/S fold. Brad wanted to add something very specific to the collection and we're grateful that he saw what he was looking for in our work. We were asked to tell a story similar to what he'd seen in our other content: a grounded blend of horror, humor and action. The only hard-and-fast rule: no fake blood. Everything else was wide open. Our goal was to tell a story about decent guys who make good choices but still end up in a world of trouble.

We shot our segment over a few days last August and it was a total blast: we casually bought professional-grade wrist and ankle restraints at a sex shop in Hollywood, shot at what was probably a real haunted house in Altadena, auditioned a handful of screaming young women but forgot to warn our neighbors, ran around Los Angeles like idiots in full costume a month before Halloween, suspended our actors from a homemade (and less-than-completely-safe) rig in front of a makeshift green screen at our tiny office, fixed a flat tire in Burbank while trying to convince our cast that everything was fine and we were on schedule, futilely chased late-night trains all over the sketchy industrial areas southeast of Los Angeles, frantically searched for Bible quotes on our iPhones at the last minute, ate a sickening amount of pizza & red vines, and had countless group sing alongs to 90's pop songs.

We are excited to make our feature debut in an anthology with a group storytellers we love and admire, and we're proud to be a part of the V/H/S experiment--it has been an inspiring once-in-a-lifetime experience.

About the Filmmakers

Adam Wingard (Director)

Adam Wingard has directed and edited several feature films, including POP SKULL, AUTOEROTIC, WHAT FUN WE WERE HAVING: 4 STORIES ABOUT DATE RAPE, A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE and YOU'RE NEXT, the latter of which recently garnered him a best director award at Fantastic Fest 2011. He resides in Los Angeles.

David Bruckner (Director)

David Bruckner is an American independent filmmaker best known for writing and directing the first "Transmission" of THE SIGNAL a collaborative sci/fi horror tale that premiered at Sundance, was released theatrically by Magnolia Pictures in 2008 and was later nominated for the John Cassavetes Film Independent Spirit Award. His most recent short film, "Talk Show" premiered in competition at AFF in May of 2011.

Glenn McQuaid (Director)

Writer director Glenn McQuaid was born and raised in Ireland, where he caught the film bug working on Jim Sheridan's THE FIELD. His feature debut I SELL THE DEAD starred Ron Perlman (HELL BOY, THE NAME OF THE ROSE) and Dominic Monaghan (LOST, LORD OF THE RINGS) and was a festival favorite that sold to IFC and is currently available to watch internationally. His long-time collaborator, Larry Fessenden, produced the film.

In 2010, McQuaid joined forces with Fessenden again to curate and produce TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE, a series of audio dramas firmly rooted in the macabre, as well as producing the series McQuaid directed two Tales: TRAWLER and THE DEMON HUNTSMAN.

McQuaid is also a motion designer and has worked on title-sequences for films such as THE INNKEEPER, ANGEL OF DEATH, THE LAST WINTER and HELLBENDERS.

As well as enjoying the success of the anthology film V/H/S, to which he contributed the segment TUESDAY THE 17th, McQuaid is currently developing his latest script, THE DAMNED AND THE DANGEROUS into a comic book with artist Brahm Revel.

Joe Swanberg (Director)

Joe Swanberg (b. 1981) has directed several films, including HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS, ALEXANDER THE LAST, UNCLE KENT and SILVER BULLETS. His films have premiered at Sundance, Berlin and SXSW. As an actor, he has starred in several of his own films, including his popular IFC.com web series, YOUNG AMERICAN BODIES, and has had lead roles in Adam Wingard's films A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE and YOU'RE NEXT. Most recently he directed a segment for the horror anthology film, V/H/S, and also acted in the segment directed by Ti West. He lives in Chicago, IL.

"Radio Silence" ( Directors)

"Radio Silence" is Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez & Chad Villella. Formerly known as Chad, Matt & Rob, their previous works include the popular series of "Interactive Adventure" movies: "The Treasure Hunt," "The Birthday Party" & "The Teleporter." After producing a slew of viral videos seen by over 55 million viewers worldwide, the group is currently working on a feature and developing concepts for television. V/H/S marks their feature film debut.

Ti West (Director)

Ti West (b. 1980) studied film production at the prestigious School of Visual Arts in New York City. Acclaimed filmmaker and teacher Kelly Reichardt introduced him to underground horror icon Larry Fessenden who produced West's first feature film THE ROOST which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and was sold in a mid-six-figure deal to Showtime and Vitagraph Films. In 2007, West and Fessenden re-teamed for the micro-budget thriller TRIGGER MAN. In 2008 West directed the critically-acclaimed horror film THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, which was released by Magnet Releasing. In early 2012 Magnet also released West's latest horror film THE INNKEEPERS starring Pat Healy and Sara Paxton.

 

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