You might know Matt, Tyler, Justin, and Chad of Radio Silence from their online shorts or this may be the first time you're hearing of them. Either way, we doubt this is the last you'll be hearing their names after V/H/S is released on VOD tomorrow and horror fans check out their segment in the film.
I recently had a chance to talk with all of the directors from V/H/S and for this first interview, I asked Radio Silence about selecting the perfect house for their segment, their experience at Sundance, and the possibility of working on a full feature.
For some of our readers who may not be aware of your online video work, could you tell them a little bit about how you came together and got involved on V/H/S?
Tyler: We all started working together about four years ago. Justin and I met in college, while Chad and Matt met at an acting class. Matt and I also worked together when we first moved out to LA and we joined forces four years ago to work on interactive videos.
In between shooting those, we posted videos of found footage prank gone wrong that amassed a following online. Brad Miska got in touch with us and thought that the style could be a really good fit for the V/H/S anthology.
How did you decide on the story for your V/H/S segment? Was this an idea that you had been working on prior to getting involved with the project?
Tyler: We sent Brad a list of five concepts and this was our favorite. It turned out to be his favorite as well and evolved from there. The basic idea was that guys dress up for Halloween and end up at the wrong place, and we took it from there. We also didn't have a lot of time to brainstorm, because we were the last directors brought on for this. This was an idea we had in our back pocket for a while, but we didn't have a way to make it.
Unlike some of the other directors, you guys have experience with found footage shorts. Was telling this story easier for you because of that? What challenges did you face while filming?
Matt: We learned what does and doesn't work from our previous mistakes. By the time we got to this, we really tried to stick to the rules of what would actually happen.
Justin: We were also in a position to escalate the events more than we had ever done before, but we still had to keep the camera motivated.
Matt: Putting the camera on a character and not in his hand was one of the most important decisions we made. I know Dave Bruckner also had a similar idea. If you allow the person in control of the camera to forget that the camera exists, hopefully the audience will as well.
Where did you end up filming this segment?
Tyler: It's called the Woodbury Story Estate and is just north of Pasadena. We found it three days before we started filming, so while we knew the beats we had to shoot, we didn't know how to use the physical location until we were there.
Justin: We're absolutely convinced it's a real haunted house... [laughs]
I thought it was a great location choice. It was very unique with the narrow hallway and all of the extra rooms on the second floor. I thought it may have been previously modified for a movie.
Tyler: Even after shooting, we were still scared of being there by ourselves. I said "Hey, I have to clean up that room on the second floor. Who's going up with me?" There was no desire to be left alone in that house for a second.
I know that you had a quick shooting schedule, but it seems like a decent amount of time was required during post-production. How long did you have to work on the segment after you shot it and what challenges did you face?
Tyler: It was probably four weeks of post-production, but we had a quick first cut after three days. The biggest challenge was not knowing what the final runtime would be. So much of it was written in-camera instead of on the page, so there was no way to know exactly what the length would be.
Matt: We shot it all in HD and then burned it on a DVD that we imported into a Sony camera from 1998. After that, we put it into Final Cut and this entire process was incredibly smooth... up until we needed to deliver the final cut. Then it broke down for no reason and we spent five days banging our heads against the wall until we got it to work. If you see a film print, that is the fifth medium our segment has been converted to.
This is your first experience working on a feature film. What was the Sundance experience like? Were you nervous? Did the film play to the audience the way you thought it would?
Justin: It was mind boggling.
Tyler: I was nervous as hell, because it was a packed theater. We could barely sit in our seats. As soon as you get toward the end of Bruckner's segment and the whole audience erupts in laugher and joy. Then I knew that the audience was watching this the way that they were supposed to.
Matt: It also didn't help that the movie was getting some buzz and people like Bob Weinstein were in the audience.
Tyler: I don't think we expected this to be a Sundance film, so there was a bit of naivety on our part. We just made what we wanted to make and are amazed that it fell into place.
Matt: When Brad and Roxanne called us and said that V/H/S got into Sundance, we said "THE Sundance???" [Laughs] There's something really cool about being a part of the midnight screenings there. That is the right audience for this movie and they wanted to enjoy the experience. It was a really exciting screening.
Now that you've had a taste of feature films and the world will be exposed to your work, do you have plans to work on a full feature? Are we going to see more horror from you guys?
Matt: Absolutely. We're not stopping and if anything, this has lit more of a fire under us. We love bringing humor to our version of horror, so as long as we can, we'll continue to do this.
V/H/S will be released on VOD tomorrow, with a limited theatrical release kicking off in early October. Learn more about V/H/S by watching the trailer below and reading the following articles:
“When a group of petty criminals is hired by a mysterious party to retrieve a rare piece of found footage from a rundown house in the middle of nowhere, they soon realize that the job isn’t going to be as easy as they thought. In the living room, a lifeless body holds court before a hub of old television sets, surrounded by stacks upon stacks of VHS tapes. As they search for the right one, they are treated to a seemingly endless number of horrifying videos, each stranger than the last."