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.

Interview: AJ Bowen, Simon Barrett and Travis Stevens on A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE [Fantastic Fest 2010]

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One of the most unique films I saw at this year’s Fantastic Fest wasn’t some experimental flick about killer tires or a crazy Japanese movie about killer fish store owners, it was a little American indie called A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE.  Written by Simon Barrett (DEAD BIRDS), directed by Adam Wingard (POP SKULL) and starring AJ Bowen (THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL), Amy Seimetz (WRISTCUTTERS: A LOVE STORY) and Joe Swanberg (LOL), AHWTD is a thoughtful and haunting serial killer movie that strives – and succeeds – to be unlike every other serial killer movie.

Hopefully I’ll get off my ass and start working through my Fantastic Fest reviews so I can write about the film at greater length, but in short I think it’s damn good.  It’s got a unique approach to what it means to be a serial killer, a very sharp script and a hell of a set of performances in it.  It shouldn’t be much of a surprise, then, that it took home awards for Best Screenplay, Actor and Actress at the festival.

I wish I could have done it sooner in the fest before director Adam Wingard had to leave, but I did make sure to have a chat with the very cool Simon Barrett, AJ Bowen and producer Travis Stevens over some drinks before they left town.  Anchor Bay has picked up their film for US distribution, so I’ll be sure to update things whenever I know when people will be able to see this gem, but in the mean time here’s a nice little interview about serial killers, killer land sharks, the studio system, nihilism in horror and AJ Bowen’s tits*.

*My quest to be the SEO king of the search term “AJ Bowen’s tits” begins!

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