The 'V-H-S' Rewind

Before tonight's last screening, the SXSW debut

'V-H-S' creators David Bruckner, Ti West, Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard and Glenn McQuaid, just before a couple of dozen more people hit the stage at their first SXSW screening
'V-H-S' creators David Bruckner, Ti West, Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard and Glenn McQuaid, just before a couple of dozen more people hit the stage at their first SXSW screening (Photo by Richard Whittaker)

The Q&A for last weekend's first SXSW screening of horror anthology V/H/S may have meant the most crowded stage the Alamo South Lamar has ever seen.

It was the assembled faces of what increasingly is being dubbed the Mumblegore movement, and it represented a cauldron of talent with a habit of working together. Segment directors Adam Wingard (who directed the wraparound), Ti West (the 'Second Honeymoon' segment) and Joe Swanberg ('The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily When She Was Younger') plus scripter Simon Barrett all worked on the magnificent You're Next, which got its US debut last fall at Fantastic Fest. Both V/H/S and You're Next feature actress Kate Lyn Sheil, who stars in Joe Swanberg's Silver Bullets with West (who also made House of the Devil starring Greta Gerwig and featuring a cameo by another SXSW 2012 alum, Lena Dunham of HBO's Girls, who was also in West's 2011 SXSW smash The Innkeepers.) Dave Bruckner ('Amateur Night') gave West-and-Barrett regular AJ Bowen (who was in the audience but not in the film, but was here for the short 'Sun Don't Shine' which co-stars Shiel and was directed by Amy Seimetz who is also in Silver Bullets and You're Next) his break in The Signal, and as for Glenn McQuaid ('Tuesday the 17th'), he designed the titles for West's The Innkeepers, and … wait, is that all right? This probably needs a Venn diagram. Suffice it to say that only YouTube horror collective Radio Silence ('103198') are new to this cadre.

However, they are no strangers to working within the lo-fi restrictions of the found footage genre. West said the film was shot on "a mess of every sort of digital format." Because of the POV-effect, West's camera crew was his cast, so he gave his actors on a pro-sumer camera. Similarly, Bruckner used a mixture of a spy camera in some glasses and a helmet-mounted camera rig (designed by cinematographer Victoria Warren) to simulate the same effect. Meanwhile the wraparound was shot on a real, old school VHS camera. Wingard said, "I wanted to shoot it on a real load-in VHS camera, and the camera we actually used was from (scriptwriter Simon Barrett) and it was the exact same camera I had growing up when I was doing martial arts movies in my back yard."

The other effect of the POV-style? Everyone jokingly argued they should have had a camera credit. However having so many experience indie film makers both before and behind the camera really helped. Bruckner worked closely with his actor Drew Sawyer. Bruckner said, "Part of the reason that we cast the guy is that he's a film maker before he's an actor, so he had a sense of understanding that when he turns his head he's basically creating metapoints."

This is not quite the same version of V/H/S that screened at Sundance: It's a longer edit and the running order for the individual scenes has changed. Now, the good news: V/H/S will be appearing on VOD, starting Aug. 31, followed by a limited theatrical run on Oct. 5. However, you have one last chance to catch it during its SXSW run tonight at the Alamo Ritz at Midnight (and read our review here.)

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Yes, You Should Move to Austin
Yes, You Should Move to Austin
But only if …

Maggie Q. Thompson, March 17, 2023

It's in the Rivets: The Secret Passion of Loungefly
It's in the Rivets: The Secret Passion of Loungefly
The "geeky Gucci" designer brand makes its SXSW debut

Richard Whittaker, March 12, 2023

More by Richard Whittaker
End of an Era: Funko Lays Off Mondo's Leadership
End of an Era: Funko Lays Off Mondo's Leadership
UPDATED: Toys and records unaffected as prints team gutted

March 24, 2023

SXSW Film Review: <i>Monolith</i>
Film Review: Monolith
Australian audio-horror builds tone through sound

March 24, 2023


Ti West, Joe Swanberg, Radio Silence, Mumblecore, Mumblegore, SXSW, VHS, You're Next, The Innkeepers, Adam Wingard, SImon Barrett, AJ Bowen, Kate Lynn Sheils, Lena Dunham, David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle