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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 5, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 40
A scary 'Second Honeymoon'
Arts & Entertainment
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A scary 'Second Honeymoon'

Director Ti West talks about his contribution to the horror anthology V/H/S

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

I saw V/H/S when it had its midnight screening during this year's Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), the found-footage anthology horror movie getting under my skin to such an extent that exiting the theater at just past two in the morning was an unsettling proposition. Revolving around the search for a missing videotape by a group of hooligans who are promised untold riches if they can recover it, the film is a series of unnerving stories told in shaky-cam first person by a bevy of talented filmmakers including Joe Swanberg (Hannah Takes the Stairs), Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way to Die), David Bruckner (The Signal) and Glenn McQuaid (I Sell the Dead).

One of the better shorts in the anthology is director Ti West's unsettling road trip, 'Second Honeymoon.' Filled with moments reminiscent of both of the filmmaker's most recent efforts, The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers, yet managing to tell a disquieting story uniquely its own, the short paints a picture of romantic unease the likes of which captivated me whole and kept me continually intrigued as to where it was going next.

Thanks to the SIFF publicists, West and I were able to engage in a short e-mail Q&A revolving around V/H/S, his career, and what interests him as a filmmaker, as well as his thoughts on both the horror genre and the found-footage subgenre. Here are some of the highlights from that back-and-forth.

Fetters: After the critical and cult success of both The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers, what made you decide that working on an anthology project was what you wanted to do next?

West: It was something different. I don't like to repeat myself, and this was an option to experiment with another type of genre film. I also had creative freedom, which is important to me.

Fetters: Where did the idea for this anthology come from? What was the genesis for it?

West: Not sure - I was just approached and asked to be a part of it. I was friends with some of the other filmmakers so I went for it.

Fetters: How closely did you work with the other directors? What was the collaboration like?

West: There was no collaboration. We all made our respective films separately.

Fetters: For your short, 'Second Honeymoon,' what was the inspiration behind it?

West: I had just been on a road trip and was fascinated with all the hitchhikers and meth abusers in the Southwest. I was able to make this film only a month after that trip, so I was still ripe with creepy inspiration. I liked the idea of people in a scary movie discussing being scared.

Fetters: At this point, do you consider 'found footage' to be a genre unto itself, or just another means to tell a story?

West: A little of both. If it's motivated, I think it's a great way to tell a story. Unfortunately, most of the time they are just derivative copies of other movies. [The other directors and I] all worked hard to make V/H/S original.

Fetters: What do you think of horror anthologies in general? What makes the good ones good? Where do the other ones fall short?

West: It's tough, because the tone shifts during each story, so it's very hard to have everyone like everything all the way though. But it's fun. You don't get to see them often, so it's exciting when you do. I did two back-to-back last summer, V/H/S and ABC's of Death. I think I'll take a break for a while now.

Fetters: I love how you're not afraid to use silence in your films - how you allow it to become another character going through whatever travails you're subjecting your actors to. When do you know to step back and let a sequence speak for itself? And when do you make the choice to allow for sound - allow for that music cue to give a scene that certain extra punch?

West: It's hard to say. It just comes naturally. I am just trying to recreate what I see and hear in my head.

Fetters: What scares you? What are you afraid of?

West: Losing control. The thought of that terrifies me.

Fetters: As a filmmaker, what draws you to the horror/suspense genre? Do you see yourself branching into other genres anytime in the future?

West: I think my days in horror are numbered. I have a few more in me, but as I said, I don't want to repeat myself, and I have made six horror movies in seven years. Pretty soon it's going to start to feel repetitive. But it's a great genre to experiment in as a filmmaker. You can pretty much do anything. That sense of freedom is inspirational.

Fetters: What are the types of stories that inspire you? What are your influences?

West: Personal stories. Nothing specific. I just want to see things that mean something to those who made them, not just surface-level stuff.

Fetters: With V/H/S, how do you hope audiences respond?

West: I hope they are scared and tell their friends!

Fetters: Where do you go next?

West: I have several movies that can go at any minute. Just waiting for the checks to clear.

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A mega-dose of MDNA
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Garbage out, Garbage in
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Horror anthology V/H/S a sickening descent into found-footage madness
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Inside the mind of Tony Kushner
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The dark underbelly of sex
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Q-Scopes by Jack Fertig
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Hanging out backstage with Garbage
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Northwest News
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Letters
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October rocks with live shows in Seattle
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A scary 'Second Honeymoon'
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