WGTC: So what was the one previous segment that you used as a benchmark? What was the one bit you made yourself have to top?
Nacho Vigalondo: When you like something, you’re a fan. You’re a film lover. From that point of view, every time I love something, I’m not trying to make something better than that. It’s like you’ve got a girlfriend, you love her – you’re not trying to be better than your girlfriend. You want to be next to her.
[There’s a short interlude as we all laugh and make the Inception noise (BROOOOOOM) while Nacho eat’s Nacho’s Nachos]
Nacho Vigalondo: My name is Nacho Vigalondo, and I’m about to eat Nacho’s Nachos! Self cannibalism!
WGTC: Getting back to the V/H/S franchise, let’s pose the question this way – what was your favorite previous segment?
Gregg Bishop: My favorite was “Ride In The Park,” by Eduardo Sánchez and Gregg Hale. The Blair Witch Project guys are the kings of found footage, so when you hear those guys are involved in a series, you know it’s one legit series. Who better better than the kings?! That was my favorite. I thought it was a really clever usage of the POV, a zombie ride in the park.
Marcel Sarmiento: Jason Eisner’s [“Slumber Party Alien Abduction”] – the thing between the kids was so sweet, it felt really real and drew me in.
Justin Welborn: David Bruckner’s [“Amateur Night”] – the very first one. The whole “I like you” bit. It’s the best date movie ever! [Laughs] It’s an answer to porn, an answer to dating. It’s the ongoing idea of taking community and getting it down to the basics. Those are all our bars, all our people, and just a very few locations. What you can do with these practical effects, putting a camera on a balloon and letting it float up hundreds of feet, seeing what you can really capture, is amazing.
But here’s the hardest part for me. I was like, “Oh, I’m going to be an actor in this segment,” and then Gregg went, “OK, you have to film this. Here’s the camera.” All of a sudden I’m watching the movie, realizing that I filmed it too. I never expect that. Suddenly I’m holding the camera that’s capturing the image that’s going to be the scene.
WGTC: Do you ever feel restricted making these shorter segments? You’re not given a ninety minute timeframe to tell your story. You’ve got to come in, create horror, and get out quick enough so everyone else has their fair time as well. Does that weigh on your filmmaking?
Nacho Vigalondo: The difference is in terms of quantity, but it’s not that much different. For me, when shooting a segment for V/H/S versus shooting a feature, the only difference is the number of days. The skills are the same, the things you have to prove are the same. The things that test you as a filmmaker, really. The moment you’re revealed as a true filmmaker are those moments in which something goes wrong and you have to improvise a solution in real-time. That happens if you’re shooting a short film or feature film. It’s the same stuff.
Justin Welborn: Beyond that, you may be making a short film, but I never felt like we were making a short. In the moment, it felt like we were making a monumental movie, even though it was only going to run for seventeen minutes.
Nacho Vigalondo: For me, V/H/S: Viral was my next movie. It was my next stop. I treated it just as seriously as my feature films. The boundaries were the same, with the only rule was having to follow the found footage style, but since you had that in mind while writing, it shouldn’t even be a problem.
WGTC: Now Marcel, I’m curious about your approach to tying all the segments together. Are you given guidance from the pervious films where you have a certain path your story has to follow, or are you given free creative license to shape V/H/S: Viral as you see fit?
Marcel Sarmiento: When they first came to me and asked if I could do the wrap, I said yes, but only if I could do something a little different – take a chance on something. I was basically asked just to tie everything together by the end, so I figured for sure, I could try that. I had total freedom.
I did have to ask Brad Miska to explain the mythology of V/H/S. I had to understand what was happening when they put the videos on, so they explained it to me and I still didn’t understand it 100%, but had enough of a base to build my own story. I think we all understand the commentary on the viral nature of the videos, shooting something terrible to get off on the popularity. That I could wrap my head around.
WGTC: Say they do a sequel to V/H/S: Viral – what filmmakers would you love to see be given their own segment?
Nacho Vigalondo: That’s a good one – no one has asked us that question all morning! I’d say Michael Haneke, Jean-Luc Godard, and Tyler Perry. [Laughs]
Gregg Bishop: As ridiculous as that is, how dope would a Tyler Perry segment be?! I’d go see that!
Marcel Sarmiento: I think I’d say Joe Dante, he’d be a great choice.
Gregg Bishop: You know who would be great? James Wan. I respect the crafting of scares he does. I really love Insidious. I really love The Conjuring. I think he’d make an amazing V/H/S segment.
Nacho Vigalondo: OK, now can we stop talking about other filmmakers? I’d like to talk about us! [Laughs]
WGTC: Well let’s try this – with all these anthology horror movies coming out nowadays, why do you think the subgenre is making such a resurgence?
Gregg Bishop: Everything circles. Everything comes back around. It seemed like for 10 years everyone was scared of anthology movies, nobody wanted to make them, they were a mark of death, but as a kid I grew up on TV anthologies. The old Twilight Zone, Amazing Stories, but now you’ve got American Horror Story, Trick ‘R Treat, Sin City – I mean they’re all awesome anthologies. It’s fun seeing the resurgence.
Marcel Sarmiento: I’ll tell ya, I think it’s simply just a business decision. I think if they really wanted to bring back anthologies, they’d have one director – it’d be much more connected in how we make them…
Nacho Vigalondo: Like Pulp Fiction.
Marcel Sarmiento: Exactly. It’s cheap to say, “Hey go off and make something, we’ll send you this little bit, and come back in six months with what you’ve got.” I think the next step is coming, though.
Justin Welborn: It’s the rising of the independent culture. It’s “Well, I’m not going to pay for your whole movie, but I’ll pay you this little piece to be a part of our project, and we’ll put it in this idea of a collection of the best horror stories of 2014.”
Marcel Sarmiento: With the television anthologies, the same writers are writing every episode. They hire different directors, but the same voice is shaping each story. That’ll be interesting to see if that rolls into film.
Nacho Vigalondo: The thing is, V/H/S could be an amazing TV show.
I’d like to thank all of the filmmakers for this exclusive interview. Be sure to catch V/H/S: Viral when it goes live on October 23rd!