While I enjoyed most of V/H/S: Viral, there’s no denying the frantic awesomeness of a little segment called “Bonestorm.” My best goes out to Nacho Vigolondo, Gregg Bishop and Marcel Sarmiento for their respective horror shorts, but Spring/Resolution filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead have done the unthinkable and challenged previous V/H/S favorite “Safe Haven” for franchise supremacy.
Starting out with a group of skateboard punks looking to record a sick demo, the segment quickly becomes a video-game-esque shoot ’em up I dubbed “Skater Punk Call Of Duty.” Once Benson and Moorhead hit their stride, there’s no competition amidst the skull-crushing gore, crazy cultists and evil monsters, which you can read about in my Fantastic Fest review of V/H/S: Viral.
Benson and Moorhead were mainstays at this year’s Fantastic Fest, having both V/H/S: Viral and Spring to promote, so we found some time to sit down and talk all things “Bonestorm,” but they weren’t alone. Also in attendance were segment stars Shane Brady, Chase Newton, and Nick Blanco, who were soaking in every minute of joyous chaos the festival had to offer. I had a blast talking “Bonestorm” with these guys, discussing everything from the video game influences that inspired the segment to Benson and Moorhead’s attempts to win the friendship of the Soska sisters.
Oh, and by the way, fuck “Gas Money Kid.” That statement will make more sense once you discover the context in the interview below. If you share this review on social media, please include the hashtag “Fuck Gas Money Kid” so everyone knows the truth. #FuckGasMoneyKid
Check it out below, and enjoy!
WGTC: So the first thing I noticed about your segment was that it resembled what I called “Skater Punk Call Of Duty” and…
Justin Benson: Oh that was you?!
Aaron Moorhead: We’ve actually been pitching it as Mortal Kombat meets Tony Hawk’s Pro Staker.
WGTC: That’s even more perfect! So that leads into my first question – how much inspiration did you draw from video games when creating “Bonestorm?”
Justin Benson: To be honest it’s there, but it’s totally subconscious. We’re both obsessed with Mortal Kombat, it’s a part of our bonding as a friendship. [Laughs]
Aaron Moorhead: We’re not good at it, like we’re pretty terrible at it, we just play all the time.
Shane Brady: I’m very good at it. I come over and beat both of them all the time. It’s all we do.
Justin Benson: So the idea was to take a “Fatality” in Mortal Kombat and escalate that. The fatalities have gotten worse and worse and worse. They just get better, the kills have become more elaborate. Aaron and I aren’t known for doing kills, we’re not known for that conventional slasher stuff, so here we could essentially do a test run where we could find out how many practical effects we could pull off in one day with Spring coming up. This wasn’t a real test run, because we were really passionate about V/H/S: Viral, but it was all about pushing boundaries. Beyond that, with the script itself, the dialogue and characters were pretty fluid, and that was dependent on our actors, who gave us something very special.
From a technical standpoint, and getting back to Mortal Kombat, the idea of escalating kills was pretty much word for word in the script. We’d be looking at the script going “OK, someone just got decapitated, what’s next? Oh, how about this guy gets a gun stuck in his skull as he’s being pistol whipped!” It was literally just piling on violent things we’ve never seen before. It was like, “OK, so he shot someone in the bottom of the head, but let’s have him rip a dude’s head off later!” Literally rip someone’s head off!
Aaron Moorhead: All of our movies, Resolution and Spring, are exercises in restraint. It’s about letting the story play, letting it go. “Bonestorm” was an exercise in excess. We were trying to go as far as possible to make it fun, bizarre, strange and crazy. That was exactly what we wanted. I mean, we need a release, we need to just go for it when we want to. We made a quiet psychological horror movie, then a romance, and in between it we needed to just go balls to the wall.
Justin Benson: The other thing is, before “Bonestorm” we were trying to win the friendship of the Soska twins. We would Facebook each other and make small talk, but I noticed that after they saw our segment they’ve really embraced us. I actually saw them cry, both of them. There were tears. [Laughs]
Aaron Moorhead: One had a single tear from her left eye, and the other from her right eye. [Laughing]
WGTC: Were they like bloody tears, though? I could see them crying straight blood like horror badasses…
Justin Benson: They were crying blood in perfect synchrony.