Van Gore Interview – “You Won, You Son Of A Bitch!”

Eisener calls Hodder a “son of a bitch”

“You won, you son of a bitch!” How does a 21-year-old film student who’s been a fan of Hobo since he was 17 react when director Jason Eisener calls him on a Friday night to inform him that he’s won the fake trailer contest? Well, many of us might express our excitement in terms such as “Holy shit!” But a polite, self-proclaimed “biggest geek in the world” who would “rather stay at home and write or play video games like Streets of Rage or Mortal Kombat or Max Payne” simply states that: “I was like, ‘This is sick, sick, sick’ and later wondered if I’d given him [Eisener] the same reaction that he gave when he won the fake trailer contest with Hobo.” Then you’d think a young man of his generation would Tweet the shit out that news, but no; Eisener put an embargo on him and Keith had to sit on it like a prison sentence over the weekend until the official announcement was made on the following Monday – now that’s torture.

Van Gore poster

One-on-One with Tarantino

Van Gore has been compared to several other films in the genre, but these filmmakers haven’t necessarily followed it. Yes, Keith saw and liked the Grindhouse films by Tarantino and Rodriguez, and he especially liked Hobo with a Shotgun since its infancy, but what business does he, as a die-hard fan of the James Bond franchise (Ian Flemming books and all), have making such a trailer? When we asked him what inspired him, he had this to say: “I loved Grindhouse, so Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth with Thanksgiving, Edgar Wright with Don’t, and if you’re talking about action-based films, I’m a huge fan of James Bond, Michael Mann, and Christopher Nolan. Also, I have a lot of one-on-one dialog scenes for two reasons: one, budget constraints and, two, I like Tarantino’s style. And, for me at this point, the bigger scenes like the art show scene in Van Gore require more takes and are more complicated than the one-on-one scenes.”

Liking something and making something are two completely different things. For example, using music, Nickelback might like metal, but… Obviously, there were going to be challenges involved in the conception of Van Gore. “The biggest challenge was that I never really did this genre/type of movie before, but Peter was more into it and had more of a background and understanding… I wanted to have a baby scene, but I wasn’t sure and wanted to confirm with Peter if we should do it and he said, ‘yeah, we have to have a baby scene.’ The story just came up while I was doing research and it evolved in three days.”

We’re not film students, but there are certainly going to be other, subtler challenges in making an exploitation type of trailer, and we can imagine that in film school they’re teaching how to do sweeping landscape type of camera shots, a la Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. Thankfully, as Keith told us, Peter had a bit of background for this genre and his challenge was to “learn how to make mistakes with the camera.”

Van Gore poster

Van Gore Guts

The effects in Van Gore look great for having been developed on a shoestring budget and we tried to get the blood recipe from Keith and Jerrad, but they told us that the makeup team/company they used wouldn’t even tell them. However, Keith mentioned that he helped the blood look thick and red by using natural lighting, which he innately likes due to his appreciation of Michael Mann. Further to that, we also assumed that the human head used as a painter’s palette was a prosthetic, but “No, actually, that is an actor and we got the look we wanted.”

White Trash at TIFF

While these three filmmakers are hoping that Van Gore gets to hit the big screen someday, and, in fact, when they conceived the short they deliberately wrote a back story for it, they’re not putting all their heads in that basket; they’ve moved on to another project. The working title for this 25-minute short is White Trash and production starts in August. We think it would be cool if they could get one of the actors from Trailer Park Boys to play in it, but they already have someone from the Eisener camp in mind; Glen Matthews, the guy who gets his eye poked out in the Treevenge short might be onboard. “It’s the first time I’m dealing with a female lead and it’s action based. It’s out there, like an ‘80s/’90s VHS style.” Keith is also hoping to get White Trash to show at the Toronto International Film Festival in a couple of years.

Van Gore facts: Peter is the guy who gets his throat slit. Keith is the narrator, and also appears in a scene. Kris Fisher scored the film.

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