Starburst caught up with actor, writer, producer and director Glenn McQuaid, one of the
madmen filmmakers responsible for the brilliant horror anthology V/H/S...
Starburst: What were your influences when working in the visual effects and title design field?
Glenn McQuaid: As a kid, I was very much enticed by horror movies. Hammer horror films really grabbed me. I was drawn to escapism and got to be scared at the same time. After graduating college, majoring in graphic design animation, I began working in the advertising world. After a while, I left that behind me as I decided I wanted to work in film.
Visual effects and titles have come a long way since the days of the optical printer where everything is computer driven now. Where do you think this is headed with future filmmakers?
Younger generations now refer to the older films for references. Earlier optical imaged films and titles have a certain quality that computers don't have. Computers have been around long enough and by looking at older films, shot on actual film, you learn a lot. So, in a way, it’s come full circle.
Film has a certain depth to itself that a computer generated image doesn't.
Yes. I just finished Hellbenders which was a film shot on video where I took that footage working with it to give it that film look for the titles. People know what computer generated effects and titles look like and I wanted to give it that filmed, theatrical look.
I Sell the Dead is a terrific send-up on the Burke and Hare, body snatcher-type story. A black comedy with everyone turning in a top notch performance. The scene with the alien is pure genius coming out of left field and it totally works in the film. How did you come up with that?
I made a short film called The Resurrection, about a young boy who took to grave robbing to support himself. The story grew from there and I decided to make I Sell the Dead funny with a sense of dark humor. The alien scene came to me one night and I thought, why not put it in?
You wrote and directed your own segment of V/H/S, 'Tuesday the 17th'. Let's talk about that...
I have to thank Roxanne Benjamin and David Bruckner for this project. The producers approached me to make a slasher-type film segment. It’s not my element, but we talked a lot about ideas of what we could do with it. I looked at films such as Jason Lives on how to shape the story, but in a lighthearted sense that included the archetypical stereotypes - the geek, the jock, the cheerleader, the Goth girl... that type of genre. It’s a celebration of escape through fantasy. We shot my segment in two days and then I went to edit it. I wasn't satisfied with what I shot, so we went back with the entire cast and reshot it. 80% of the second shoot made it into the film. What you see on the screen really worked better the second time around.
Collaborating with the other directors must have been interesting. What were your production meetings like?
Actually, David Bruckner and the collective deserve all the credit as well as Radio Silence. They did a great production job. Everybody involved I had never worked with before except for doing the title work on Ti West's The Innkeepers. None of the directors knew what the other was up to.
What's next on the horizon for you?
I've written a script with Ted Gagen about a group of traveling vampires from around the world going to America that are fascinated by the early days of cinema called The Damned and the Dangerous. They come from all over roaming the American countryside so, as we get to know their characters, we explore their mythology from the different countries. You have your European vampires, African vampire, Asian vampire, etc. We're going to turn it into a comic book first.
V/H/S is available in the US now via VOD and will receive a theatrical run from October 5th. A UK release is scheduled for early next year.
Read our V/H/S interview HERE.