Indie French Filmmaker Gautier Cazenave Unleashes His VHS-Centric Horror Comedy flick HOUSE OF VHS on PAL Format and Gears up for an Analog Excellent NTSC Release with Vultra Video Later this Year!
The original one-sheet poster for HOUSE OF VHS. He may need to use two hands on that tape, mang.Tell us a little about yourself and your filmmaking history, Gautier. What were you doing before you wrote and directed House of VHS? I started making video movies in high school, in the 1990s. At that time, I did my editing directly on VHS tapes! Then I spent way too much time trying to have a normal job, but I finally gave up on that and created Marteau Films Production. House of VHS is the company's first feature film, and mine as a writer-director.
The alternate poster for HOUSE OF VHS with that beast of a playback machine front and center. You know we can dig it.What inspired House of VHS? Any particular reason why you chose VHS as the ethereal analog antagonist? Do you have a personal predilection for the format? Like most people of my generation, I grew up on VHS. I think I went to a cinema for the first time when I was 3, and we had our first VCR at home when I was 4. So I've watched an awful lot of movies on VHS, and still haven't transitioned fully to DVD/BR. I still have a lot of old recordings, and movies that aren't out on other formats. The idea for the film came from seeing a garage full of VHS tapes in big boxes. I thought, “Wow, each of these tapes contains a movie, which means this garage is probably full of hundreds of universes, thousands of places, millions of characters... all asleep, or prisoners in their boxes.” That was the spark for the script.
A still from the VHS discovery scene. I mean, if I found a chest full of glowin' tapes, I'd pop 'em in, too, dude.For the totally uninitiated, tell us a bit about the flick. What can Tapeheads expect when they turn on House of VHS? It starts off as a typical “haunted house movie”, with a bunch of young people squatting in an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. The tone is fairly comedic, I think, with the supernatural element slowly building, as a magical VCR gradually shows its fantastic properties. Then things get a bit violent towards the end!
Another still featuring that beasty and beautiful haunted VCR (and actress Delphine Lanniel!) mid-inspection. Things are about to get real rewind wild up in here.There’s a lot of radical cult flicks from the public domain arena running around in this film. Did you research a lot of these and incorporate them, or were you already familiar with a lot of these flicks? Any particular favorites? I had seen some of them, but when I started researching specifically public domain material, I discovered a lot of gems! I pre-selected about 60 films, and ended up using 35 in House of VHS. I have a soft spot for Prisoners of the Lost Universe, a pretty entertaining adventure flick set in a parallel universe, and Bloody Pit of Horror, with Mickey Hargitay as the Crimson Executioner torturing people in a gothic castle!
The cover for a too groovy VHS release of BLOODY PIT OF HORROR. The cheap and charming aesthetics on this just rule.The haunted machine in the movie is a totally bitchin’ JVC beast, man. Where did it come from, and did you really have to destroy it, or was that (hopefully!) some kind of VHSpecial effect? I think the TV was a rad little JVC, too? And the camcorder? Were they like a package deal?! The VCR had a stunt double! So yes, we had to destroy the double, but it was already in bad shape to begin with. The one you see throughout the movie is still in one piece as we speak. TV and camcorder were also JVC, you're right – hell, JVC invented VHS in the first place, so no reason to look elsewhere! The camcorder is actually the same model I was using for my first video movies in the 90s.
A still featuring some of the creepy cool atmosphere running through HOUSE OF VHS. That's a diesel flashlight, dude. Nice.What was the most challenging experience while making HoVHS? The most fun? Any groovy / spooky stories from the set?! It was a very short shoot (less than 12 days), with a very small crew (6 people including me), so it was quite intense. We filmed it in August 2013, and then post-production took forever (over a year and a half). The main problem on set came from the person who was supposed to take care of the practical special effects. She never showed up. And I don't mean she cancelled at the last minute – she just NEVER SHOWED UP. So we had to rethink the whole ending, because it was supposed to be filled with monsters and blood, and we had nothing and no one to take care of that. We ended up filming a much simpler ending, and we filmed inserts a few months later to spice it up with short striking visuals. Looking back, it's probably more effective than what I had in mind originally!
The PAL VHS release produced by Gautier and crew. Lookin' GOOD, mang.I believe you made a PAL version of the VHS. Are those still available? Is the film available to view anywhere else? Any chance of an NTSC VHS release? We actually made two small series of PAL videotapes: one with French subtitles and one without. So that covers a few countries in Europe, but yes, it would be cool to hit USA and Canada with a round of NTSC tapes. Something's cooking… more on that soon! (UPDATE! The VHS Vindicators at Vultra Video along with us here at Lunchmeat are working to help bring House of VHS to NTSC! Stay tuned, Tapeheads!) The PAL VHS can be borrowed for free in a few selected stores in France and UK: Videosphere and Metaluna in Paris, 20th Century Flicks in Bristol. People can discover it with their video rental of the day, and hopefully will want to own it later on HD with special features. We're starting to look for official distribution, so more on that soon, too!
The full cast and crew for HOUSE OF VHS. That's Gautier in the Captain America shirt. PARTY CREW.Okay, now for a fun one: In the movie, the haunted VCR interbreeds two VHS tapes to create a totally new flick. If you could choose two movies to put into one, which one would it be? And why? All right, that's an easy one: I would take a Sherlock Holmes movie (probably A Study in Terror where he tracks down Jack the Ripper), then a Frankenstein flick (let's say The Curse of Frankenstein), and we would get... Sherlock Holmes vs Frankenstein. Wait... it actually IS my next movie! I could also take a werewolf film, for example The Howling 5 with its medieval intro, and something like The Mummy's Shroud, and end up with The Werewolf Mummy. I also have the script for that one! Well, those sound bitchin’, indeed! What’s next for you, duder? Where can we keep up with you? Like I said above, I am now prepping Sherlock Holmes vs Frankenstein, which is a BIG movie, with Hammer actor Shane Briant who used to play Peter Cushing's assistant, and the real baron Clement von Franckenstein. There's a crowdfunding campaign out there to put the project in orbit: http://igg.me/at/holmes-vs-frank We're now at $30,780 on the campaign, but we need much more if we want to make the full movie. Also, it's the only way as of now to get your hands on House of VHS: you can get a DVD, Blu-ray, PAL VHS tape, and also goodies like posters, mugs and T-shirts. Fan support is everything, because there's no big studio behind us! There's also a Facebook page for House of VHS right here: www.facebook.com/house.vhs
The teaser poster for SHERLOCK HOLMES VS. FRANKENSTEIN! Check out the mini-trailer HERE!Anything else you’d like to shout out to all the Videovores here in Lunchmeat Land? Well, the actors have been asking me if there would be a sequel, so I would love to have feedback from people when they've seen the first one! And if there's an audience for the first one maybe I'll pen Return to House of VHS...
I’m sure once they’re able to stick this slab in their VCR, peeps will VHShout out their analog opinions, no doubt! But wait… how do you get a look at it?! The film is currently awaiting word from several film festivals, and has already been accepted to quite a few including the Vancouver Badass Film Festival in February 2016, so if you’ll be in that area around then, I implore you to groove on out and enter the House of VHS! Until then, you can check out the trailers HERE, HERE and HERE, and if you’re a Tapehead across the VHSea or have one of those too groovy all-region players, reach out to Gautier through the House of VHS Facebook page and see if he can whip up a PAL copy for you! Also, you can grab a PAL copy by supporting the Sherlock Holmes vs. Frankenstein IndieGoGo HERE. An NTSC VHS version was recently solidified with Vultra Video and is currently in motion for an end-of-year release! DIG THAT. VHStay tuned, Tapeheads. This is one trip into VHS tape-driven terror you won’t want to miss.