SXSW 2012: ‘V/H/S’ Rewinds The Fright & Resurrects Dead Formats

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In early to mid 70’s the face of Hollywood was changed forever by a new wave of horror directors. One of these directors was Steven Spielberg who would direct episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, films like Duel and Jaws. Other members of this motley band of friends included George Lucas with his tale of a dystopian future THX-1138, and Brian De Palma with his take on Steven King’s classic, Carrie. Movie making is a collaborative effort and many times these directors collaborated and critiqued each others work.

Fast forward to 2012, where a new wave of horror directors has entered the Hollywood scene. These directors include Ti West, Adam Wingard, Joe Swanberg, Radio Silence, Glenn McQuaid and David Bruckner. The horror output of these up and comers includes: The Signal, The Innkeepers, The House of the Devil, A Horrible Way To Die, You’re Next and I Sell The Dead. V/H/S is a film that unites these directors’ unique perspective on horror into an anthology of 5 short stories.

Halloween White Elephant: Terror Tract (2000)

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From Damon–“I’m a big fan of anthology films and this is one that I saw via a VHS screener sent to the mom-and-pop video store where I worked years ago. There isn’t anything too special about this and the three stories but I love the Bryan Cranston middle segment with the curious little monkey. My favorite thing about this film, by far, is the wrap-around story with the late, great John Ritter as a realtor giving the gruesome history of the house. Ritter was the best and it always made me happy the few times he graced our beloved genre with his presence.”

It’s a good thing Terror Tract starts off tongue-in-cheek with a hilarious early bird gets the worm/early cat get the bird/early dog gets the cats/early car gets the dog segment. One wouldn’t want to mistake the film as being a serious attempt at anthology horror, would they? Certainly not with John Ritter playing a real estate agent with a shit-eating grin and undying loyalty to the rule of full disclosure, much to the detriment of his ability to sell a house to a young, innocent (read: stupid looking) couple. Turns out there’s a reason Ritter’s realtor character is so anxious to ink a deal. More on that later, though.

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