Todd Lincoln on his surprise ‘V/H/S: Viral’ segment and how the ‘powers-that-be’ ruined ‘The Apparition’

02.24.15 3 years ago

Magnet Releasing

Think you've seen “V/H/S: Viral”? Not all of it, as it turns out.

Though the theatrical and VOD release of the third chapter in Magnet's horror anthology series featured segments by directors Nacho Vigalondo, Marcel Sarmiento, Gregg Bishop, Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead, fans who buy the DVD or Blu-ray will be treated to a surprise sixth segment directed by Todd Lincoln (“The Apparition”).

Titled “Gorgeous Vortex,” the visually-dazzling short was inspired by “avante-garde video artists, fashion photography, old Italian Horror movies, George Lucas”s early experimental films, and the writings of J.G. Ballard and Jean Baudrillard” — quite a mashup of influences! Lincoln spoke with HitFix recently about the film, which journeys into a cryptic, sensual world of murder, the occult and, yes, fashion models. Curious? Here's a teaser:

In addition to an in-depth discussion of the short, Lincoln also provided more insight into his 2012 feature film “The Apparition,” which he claims was “compromised and watered down every step of the way.”

After reading the interview, check out the official “Gorgeous Vortex” poster further down the page.

VHS Viral segment Gorgeous Vortex

HitFix: “Gorgeous Vortex.” What a title! Can you explain what that means?

Todd Lincoln: Thanks. That title just came to me one day and I quickly wrote it down on the back of a  Del Taco napkin floating around in my car. I liked the sound of “Gorgeous Vortex” and thought it was a fitting title for this film. I”d rather not explain what it means. It can mean anything you want it to.

HF: There was a story going around that “Gorgeous Vortex” was deleted from the final film because it didn't fit with the other segments, though now I'm hearing that's not actually the case. Was having your short debut on the Blu-ray the plan from day one?

TL: I finished my segment on time, on budget and delivered it at the same time as the other “V/H/S: Viral” filmmakers. “Gorgeous Vortex” was the exact length and exact cut that you see today. The producers gave all of us total creative freedom. It was decided to make my film the secret surprise final segment of “V/H/S: Viral” to expand the mythology and point to a new direction for the franchise.

VHS Viral segment Gorgeous Vortex

I”m a big fan of the “V/H/S” films, but I thought it was time to change things up both tonally and stylistically for this entry. My film “Gorgeous Vortex” is not found-footage…. so it”s completely different than all past and current “V/H/S” segments. I wanted to push things farther with my segment and challenge audiences expectations and perceptions. I set out to create a film that would feel like an ominous transmission from the future.

HF: Jayden Robinson has to be one of the most stunningly beautiful women I've ever seen, which I hear is a requirement for Victoria's Secret models. How did her involvement come about? Did she have to audition?

TL: She definitely is. There were some amazing name actresses / models that approached us, wanting to play the lead in “Gorgeous Vortex”. But I was looking for a fresh face. My casting director, Matthew Lessall and I looked through all the submissions and dug deep at the talent agencies. I came across Jayden Robison who had a really striking look. Once I spoke with her and we discussed the character, I knew she was the right person for the role. There was no real audition….  just a conversation. I could see that she had a strength and fierceness, but also a vulnerability. She went all out and was able to take the role in directions I couldn”t have anticipated.

VHS Viral segment Gorgeous Vortex

HF: We're fascinated as a culture by the collision of beauty and death, which “Gorgeous Vortex” certainly reflects. Can you describe your artistic intentions behind the story here?

TL: That”s an interesting way to put it. I wasn”t consciously trying to say too much. With some distance now from the film… I have to say that “Gorgeous Vortex” does seem strangely personal… in ways that maybe I didn”t fully understand while I was writing or shooting it. There is great sadness and evil in it. It”s a darker film than people know. It is purposely cursed and coded.

Joseph Bishara (“The Conjuring,” “Insidious 1 & 2”), my composer, elevated and enhanced “Gorgeous Vortex” with his haunting original score. He recently released the soundtrack album on vinyl and digital download.

Morgan Susser, my Director Of Photography, did beautiful next-level work on this. And Jeremy Lamberton, my 2nd Unit Director Of Photography, and I worked together capturing more abstract moments and details.

I”m very instinctual when making a film. It”s a lot about finding locations with the right mood and weight. “Gorgeous Vortex” is set primarily in non-places and abandoned places. These are locations with either not much history or not much future. Places that most people would never notice or never aim their cameras at.

VHS Viral segment Gorgeous Vortex

HF: Besides the “V/H/S” films, what's your favorite horror anthology movie of all time?

Probably “Twilight Zone: The Movie.”

HF: Your feature film debut “The Apparition” came out in 2012. How was your experience making that film, and do you have any other features in the works?

Unfortunately, “The Apparition” was compromised and watered down every step of the way by the powers that be. It”s a damn shame because we had a unique concept, an excellent crew and a great cast. But it only takes a few by-the-numbers nano-managers to spoil the process. They even cut the Apparition out of “The Apparition”. It was important to me that my next film be much truer to my vision.

Right now I”m taking meetings, reading scripts and in research / development mode. I”m writing a new feature script that I can”t talk about yet, but it”s kind of a Psychosexual Sci-Fi Thriller. I”m also exploring new forms of storytelling and world-building in other mediums such as real- time mobile augmented reality.

“V/H/S: Viral” is available on DVD and Blu-ray right now. The film's official website will host “side-story micro-films” that tie in with “Gorgeous Vortex” in the coming weeks, so keep checking there for more.

VHS Viral segment Gorgeous Vortex poster

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