When I was a teen, there was a movie called ‘Faces of Death’. To watch it was practically a rite of passage to any young person living in the mid to late 80s. It was supposedly the most horrifying and gross thing that anyone could ever watch, filled with allegedly real images of people dying. Of course, since then, the majority of the footage in ‘Faces of Death’, which was actually pretty tame to begin with, has been proven to be hoaxes.
Since then, there hasn’t really been a gross-out movie that everyone has to see. Sadly, gone are the days of passing around a worn out VHS tape and telling your friends, “I dare you to watch this without puking or passing out.”
Enter ‘V/H/S’. This low-budget horror flick had its premiere this past Sunday at the Sundance film festival where it played the Midnight section that often showcases horror and shock film. Since its premiere, the film has already been snatched up by Magnolia Pictures for an alleged $1 million plus payday. And this after a bidding war between Magnolia and two other companies!
Why all the fervor? The premise to ‘V/H/S’ is simple. It follows a group of low-life crooks that is hired to retrieve a valuable VHS tape from a run-down and abandoned old house. In the house, the thieves find a library of VHS tapes, each featuring nastier video footage than the last. With that setup, ‘V/H/S’ turns into an anthology horror film that is really a vehicle for a series of shorts as the audience watches what is on the tapes that the crooks have discovered.
Since it’s an anthology, ‘V/H/S’ is directed by Adam Wingard, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, David Bruckner, Joe Swanberg, and Ti West and based on scripts from Glenn McQuaid, Bruckner, Ti West, Simon Barrett, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Chad Villella, and Nicholas Tecosky.
The interest came in when a pair of movie-goers became ill (with one of them actually passing out) after watching one of the more ghastly segments of ‘V/H/S’ and had to be treated by paramedics. Wednesday morning, ‘V/H/S’ producer Roxanne Benjamin said that the film fans were suffering from exhaustion and dehydration. Still… the shock value of ‘V/H/S’ was set and the bidding war began.
‘V/H/S’ will hit Magnolia’s new VOD (video-on-demand) service first before having a limited theatrical release and then heading to DVD and Blu-ray.