If you pick-up the Hobo With a Shotgun DVD or Blu-ray (and if you read our New On DVD column you would know you should), you’ll be graced with a slew of awesome bonus features. One of the best is the sick and very twisted fake trailer, Van Gore.
Written and directed by young Halifax filmmakers Keith Hodder and Peter Strauss, Van Gore was specifically made for a contest the Hobo filmmakers were having. For those that don’t know the history of Hobo, it began as a fake trailer in the Quentin Tarantino-Robert Rodriguez flick Grindhouse (2007). The Hobo guys wanted to do something similar, and Van Gore, about an artist who drains the blood of his victims to paint brilliant works of art, was crowned the winner.
Criticize This! chatted with Hodder about how the idea for Van Gore came to be and whether it will be turned into a feature at some point. Read our Q&A below.
Brian McKechnie: How did the idea for Van Gore come to you guys?
Keith Hodder: Well, the trailer contest went up in early March, and I was lucky enough to be bored and on YouTube and I caught it a few minutes after it was uploaded. I was instantly inspired to start working and get my gears turning, and within a few minutes, if not in an hour or two, I had thought of the loose idea about an artist known as Van Gore. The idea about him draining his victims was there from the beginning. From there, I called [co-director and co-writer Peter Strauss] and [co-writer and cinematographer Jerrard Pulham] and we got together two days later and wrote the script that night. Van Gore, the script that formed the trailer, was born in a few days.
BM: Were you a fan of grindhouse films?
KH: I am still very new to the genre. My first introduction to it was Jason Eisener’s original Hobo With a Shotgun trailer, hence why I was so eager to do this contest. I had been following Eisener’s progress since the age of 17 so he and his films remain a constant inspiration. Peter knows a bit more about the genre than I do. Jerrad and I are in the same boat. We’re very eager to dive in and eat up all the films that we can. I have Texas Chainsaw Massacre sitting on my shelf as we speak, I also have Driller Killer just dying to be watched.
BM: Was it hard working in the confinements of keeping it as a trailer?
KH: Surprisingly it was a lot easier. When you’re doing a short film it is really easy for you and your crew to get bogged down shooting a long scene. You hear the lines over the over, and all you do is continue to change up the shots. It can really drain your creativity. Honestly, shooting this trailer was the most liberating experience I have ever had as a filmmaker. It was great to have the short scenes, it was like shooting the whole film in two days. Each day, every hour or so, was a new setup, different actors, new makeup effects, it was easy to remain interested and excited. It was a lot of fun.
BM: How long did it actually take to get it from script to screen?
KH: We wrote the script in a night, took roughly about five to six hours. From there it took about a week to cast our actors, find the locations, buy props, and have everything prepared for the shoot. We shot the entire trailer over two days and then the post-production took a week. That included editing the piece, adding all the filters, and getting our soundtrack which was composed by Kristopher Fisher. He actually lives in the UK so we had to listen to him compose over Skype. From there we’d be able to tell him what we liked, what we didn’t, and it was a great experience. We literally heard every note as it happened.
BM: What did you find was the hardest part of producing it?
KH: Doing it in such a short period of time. I was constantly worried during the pre-production. I really believed in our group and our cast, we were very lucky to have such a talented ensemble, but there were times where I thought it wasn’t going to happen. We were making it in the busiest time during the school year, projects were due, exams were coming up, and after we wrote the script I could see it in our eyes that we still weren’t sure if it was going to happen. But… it did! Everyone worked their asses off and we made the trailer within the timeline. I am very proud of everyone involved, we couldn’t have done it without their patience and sacrifices.
BM: Did your process change at all knowing it was for a contest?
KH: No matter what the film I always like to be organized. Storyboards, schedules, call sheets, you name it, we had the paperwork for it. I’d definitely say this was the most prepared I have ever been for shooting. We made sure were weren’t wasting anyone’s time. They were working for free!