The Big Picture
- Director David Bruckner discusses the freedom to explore extreme gore in the V/H/S franchise compared to his experiences with Hellraiser.
- The V/H/S/85 anthology encourages filmmakers to creatively push the boundaries of violence and gore without editorial oversight.
- The film takes inspiration from the Golden Age of Horror Cinema in the 80s and promises to deliver plenty of violence and gruesome scenes for horror fans.
David Bruckner is no stranger to embracing gore with his horror. The director most recently helmed 2022’s Hellraiser reboot which reintroduced everyone to the pain and pleasure of the Cenobites. In the V/H/S franchise, however, he’s found a level of freedom in expressing such violence that he might not otherwise have in a more traditional studio film. That’s especially true of the latest anthology of horror, V/H/S/85 which just made its world premiere at Fantastic Fest. Collider’s Perri Nemiroff was on-hand at the festival to discuss the film with Bruckner and specifically how the film differs from his other work in terms of gore and oversight.
“We had a few things in Hellraiser we had to slide by the ratings folks,” Bruckner said when asked about his experiences bringing horror violence to screens. “Then you do the thing where you put things in there that you know you’re gonna lose just so, in case they ask, you can go, ‘Okay, fine, we’ll lose this one shot. We did something for you.'” Hellraiser was hailed for its extreme gore even if there was a bit of gymnastics needed to get things approved. For V/H/S/85, however, no such gymnastics were needed. Instead, they openly pushed filmmakers to get creatively bloody. “But no, I think, as far as with V/H/S, I can’t imagine. There’s no editorial oversight and anything that anybody is creating, if anything, we’re just encouraging people to go further.”
Part of the appeal of the V/H/S franchise for both creatives and audiences is letting new and established horror filmmakers let loose in shorter found-footage segments that play around with unique ideas. The film’s predecessor V/H/S/99, for example, embraced low-budget horror, practical effects, and timely concepts for its year like an unhinged Legends of the Hidden Temple parody. Practicality and creativity were also a focus for Bruckner in 85. “Also, a practical approach is strongly encouraged,” he added. “So there’s, you know, gallons of blood getting thrown around the set. If anything, the only frustration is that the found footage is dark and murky enough that you sometimes can’t see on camera how much blood there is in the room, so the BTS photos are quite revealing.”
‘V/H/S/85’ Scratches the Grimy Underbelly of Horror’s Golden Age
V/H/S/85 promises something special for horror fans as it takes inspiration from the so-called Golden Age of Horror Cinema – the 80s. The individual stories are told through the lens of a made-for-television documentary with a focus on the forgotten and sinister secrets of the bygone era. Each found footage tale follows a different premise, including scientists studying a boy transfixed on his TV, a group of kids on a skiing trip from hell, a television crew’s fight for survival amid a natural disaster, the early days of VR and the horrors it brings, and a horrific dream caught on tape. Within each, there’s plenty of room for violence to be creatively infused to please horror fans of all kinds. If the trailer and Bruckner’s comments are any indication, it’s about to get very messy.
Bruckner is one of five directors helming segments, including, The Black Phone‘s Scott Derrickson, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Natasha Kermani, and Mike P. Nelson. He’s also credited as a writer with Derrickson, Guerrero, Zoe Cooper, Evan Dickson, and C. Robert Cargill. Bloody Disgusting founder and film producer Brad Miska created the V/H/S franchise as a showcase for the diverse talents and visions within horror and, as such, the cast reflects that Freddy Rodríguez leads the group with Jordan Belfi, James Ransone, Dani Deetté, Justen Jones, Marcio Moreno, Ari Gallegos, Forrest Hartl, Duffy McManus, Eric Pierson, Felipe de Lara, Tom Reed, and Vivian Morse.
V/H/S/85 premieres on Shudder on October 6. Check out the full interview below: