Interview: Van Gore

2011/08/01 19:35:18 +00:00 | Jonathan James

Hobo with a Shotgun is now available on Blu-ray and DVD and included on the disc is a trailer for Van Gore. Hobo with a Shotgun started out as a faux trailer created for the Canadian release of Grindhouse and Van Gore was attached to the full version of Hobo with a Shotgun in a similar way.

If you haven't seen the trailer for Van Gore, jump to the bottom of this interview, as we have included it below. I got a chance to talk to co-director/writer Keith Hodder about the making of the trailer, plans for a full Van Gore feature, Bond movies, and catching up on horror films.

Jonathan: First off, congratulations on winning the Hobo with a Shotgun faux trailer contest. We loved Van Gore and thought you guys did a great job on it. We understand that you aren't a rabid horror fan. What made you want to enter the contest with this entry in particular?

Keith: Honestly first and foremost, I grew up in roughly the same area as Jason Eisener, the director of Hobo, and I would've been 17 when his trailer won the SXSW contest. This was incredibly inspiring and Eisener's trailer was my first introduction into the world of grindhouse and exploitation. It was mind-boggling. Naturally I hopped into theatres to see Grindhouse which also blew my mind. Since then, I was always dying to make my own sort of grindhouse or exploitation piece but I never got around to it until I did Van Gore. When I started coming up for the rough idea for that piece, all I knew is that I wanted to do a slasher. That was set in stone for me the first second in. Honestly, I think it was the fact that I am not a die-hard fan of horror that drove me to do this project. We took the production of the piece seriously, but in writing and shooting it, I think my separation from the genre helped me parody it and make fun of it. I didn't have an attachment. I wasn't picking on my best friend.

Jonathan: Toward the end of the trailer there is the homage to Zombie, but beyond that you've said that there wasn't any film in particular that inspired Van Gore. Aside from the Romero zombie films, what classic horror films do you enjoy?

Keith: Honestly I can't really say any at the moment. I'm actually trying to go through some now. I've picked up the original Texas Chain Saw but I have yet to watch it. I have a horrible tendency to buy movies without watching others that I have just bought, so I have this huge queue of movies that I need to blast through. It's not that I am disinterested in the genre. It is actually one that intrigues me quite a bit as I believe you can get inspiration from any film good or bad. I was just never really brought up on them, if anything, if you'd like to call them horror, I loved Alien and The Thing.

Jonathan: Since winning, have you received feedback on the trailer from any major horror actors/writers/director? What did they have to say?

Keith: Jason and the Hobo team have told me that they loved the trailer. That's really touching for sure, as for that we haven't really heard back from many actors or the like. We're still really trying to get the trailer out there and get it in front of the public.

Jonathan: The baby scene is one of the standout parts of the trailer. Have you received many complaints from people who were angered by that scene?

Keith: Honestly no one has come up to me yet and said that they were disgusted. No one has gotten angry at us for it. We've spoken to a few people who loved the trailer but kinda cringed at that moment because they have just recently had a newborn child. Maybe they hate me secretly, which is ok. I have a feeling I'll never get a babysitting gig again and for those the I use to babysit, their parents must be mortified and happy that their children and still alive and well (or so they think...)

Jonathan: Since you've had much more exposure to horror fans and the genre, what older horror movies have you been catching up on? What movies are you planning to see soon?

Keith: So Texas Chainsaw Massacre is sitting and waiting on the self. I tried to watch the original Black Christmas a few days ago but struggled with it. Needless to say I'll definitely give it another go along with the original Halloween which I also struggled with. I have an odd patience with films especially older horror films which take a lot of time to get to the gore and brutality. They have a slow pacing to them which really hurts them in the eyes of a modern and younger audience which are used to new horror films that just right to the chase. The Dawn of the Dead remake is an example of such pacing. I think I am still stuck in that younger audience mindset. I'm really trying to get out of it, that's for sure. All I know is that I want to see the original My Bloody Valentine because, if I got my facts straight, I thought it was shot in Nova Scotia, which is pretty awesome. I've seen the first Nightmare on Elm Street so I definitely have to check out those, I still have to see the Jason films. I have a lot to see so I am up for suggestions.

Jonathan: Are you still in the process of writing a full feature screenplay for Van Gore? What's the status of it currently?

Keith: We are still very much in the process of getting a Van Gore feature on the go. As of right now it is still in its infancy stages. We're entertaining new ideas and additions here and there and discussing how we can seriously add on some meat from the skeleton that we've built. We know where we want to go with it, we know how it will play out for the most part, but as of right now we're in the works of getting another short of the ground which is titled "White Trash". That should be a fun project. Don't think that Van Gore is on the back burner though. I think about it everyday.

Jonathan: What can you tell us about the "White Trash" short?

Keith: As for White Trash, well, it's definitely the most imaginative project that me and the guys have ever dreamed up. It'll call for great costume and prop design. As of right now we are writing the script, but we'll plan to shoot it next summer. As for a synopsis I can't say much. But I will say this, it'll be the first time that we're writing for a female lead. Her name is Dana-Mite and she's a washed up motorcycle stunt woman who has found herself in a life-or-death situation. I'm hiding a lot right now, and I'm really wanting to tell you more, but I'll play it safe for now.

Jonathan: You've mentioned in the past that your dream cast for a Van Gore feature would include Sam Neill as the lead. Have you been able to have any talks with him or anyone else about the possibility of joining the film?

Keith: Because we are still in the infancy stages, we've entertained crazy ideas, but we're also keeping ourselves very grounded and down to earth. So we haven't truly dived into a true preproduction process as of yet, and thus we have not been in talks with answers. But, believe me, it is not as uneventful as it sounds. When we're done with our next project and we feel that we're prepared enough but also not enough so that we can learn to work out of our element, we'll dive into Van Gore with bloody fists and a battle cry that will be heard across the land.

Jonathan: We've heard that one of your next projects is an 11-episode webseries called The Crossroads and that it is a tribute to The Twilight Zone. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?

Keith: At the moment we're planning to shoot two episodes, but we have a slew of ideas in the books. One of them is being written right now and the other script will probably start pretty soon if not sometime in June. We'll be shooting it in the fall. Mostly this was a project to take myself out of my comfort zone and push my creative boundaries. I wanted to work of a different playing ground, such as the internet, as it is an audience that I haven't really toyed with yet. It will be a challenge to tell a great story while also giving it some moral grounding in 11 minutes. We will definitely have to find the right balance especially because it will either feel too rushed or it will feel like as if nothing has happened at all. They will need to be clear, concise, and thought provoking and I feel very confident that my team and I can deliver. Also we have to find a good balance of nostalgia and uniqueness. We'd love for it to feel like the original Twilight Zone, but at the same time not too much because then it could feel like parody or a direct imitation. We have to find our own voice in the piece and also give off the old school vibe. It will be an interesting challenge.

Jonathan: What are some of your favorite Twilight Zone episodes and how has that series inspired you as a filmmaker?

Keith: I'm still diving into a lot of episodes right now but I really, really loved Walking Distance. I think what is inspiring about the show is that it just forces you to think out of the box and suspend your disbelief. I am so used to writing grounded and natural scripts and it has been a challenge thinking of the crazy directions that we can take with this series. I can now work with ideas that would never fly in the genres that I have been tinkering. It is definitely liberating, stressful, and exciting all at the same time. But it is definitely a welcome challenge.

Jonathan: I've seen you talk James Bond in almost every interview, so let's talk about it in a bit more detail. I know you are a fan of the Connery Bond movies. Does your love of his movies in particular end after Thunderball or are you a big fan of You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever? Does Lazenby in On Her Majesty's Secret Service screw up the Blofeld storyline for you or do you still enjoy that film?

Keith: I love the majority of the Connery films. From Russia with Love is flawless and is perhaps the best Bond film. Goldfinger is an instant classic, Dr. No is also endlessly watchable. Thunderball has never been one of my favourites despite the groundbreaking filmmaking that went behind it to deliver those stellar underwater scenes and honestly I have a guilty pleasure for Diamonds Are Forever. You can tell that Connery is so done with the role and he really couldn't care if the movie turned out good or bad, which somehow makes the film that much funnier. You Only Live Twice is always a good one to check into every year or so to remind yourself how wacky the Bond franchise can get at times. If anything though the film should be applauded for the scale of its props and sets which even today convey an unmatched sense of grandeur. That's the oddity of the Bond franchise. It can go really good or really bad, it can go wacky and it can be really gritty at times. Never has a franchise changed it's face so many times (literal actor changes aside). It has been alive and kicking for nearly 50 years. It has been through some rough times and no matter what I believe it will keep going.

As for the Blofeld arc I believe it was never really something that worked in the films despite the separation of actors and timelines, mostly because Diamonds Are Forever just lost the story completely. Also, even though it is not one of my favourites as I find it long and drawn out, many die-hard Bond fans applaud On Her Majesty's Secret Service for being one of the best Bond films. It's a shame that Lazenby never continued as Bond as his proposed 7 film contract (which he refused) would have booted out Roger Moore and would have saved the franchise a lot of horrible films.


I want to thank Keith for taking the time to talk with us. We've included the Van Gore trailer below and you can learn more at: