2007 was an interesting year in film. Besides the trilogy trifecta of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Spider-Man 3 and Shrek the Third we had numerous other blockbuster titles that are still enjoyed today.
Among those, however, we had a strange little release in the Grindhouse movies: homages to the exploitation movies of the 70's, they were gruesome, choatic and much-beloved by those who wanted to turn their brains off and just watch film.
The idea of the double-feature came from the minds of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez; their idea was to each shoot a film and then screen them back-to-back, including fake trailers for audience enjoyment. Ironically, two of these trailers became actual movies: last year's Machete and this year's Hobo With a Shotgun.
The latter film is taking that irony a step further by including its own fake trailers for films that haven't actually been developed. They're doing it via a contest, which you can view here. The winners, determined by a fan vote and judging process, will appear on the Hobo With a Shotgun DVD, which is a trophy in itself.
It just so happens that I have a personal connection to the contest; my good friend Keith Hodder's entry, Van Gore, is currently in the front of the pack. I had a chance to sit down with Keith and talk about his creation earlier this week:
"We're still doing pretty well. We're at 39% and we've still got, I think, like 3-something over the next person," he says via phone. His production company, River Rogue Productions, sprung to action when the director of HWaS put out an open call for entries. As a student filmmaker, a win in this contest would be quite the feather in his cap.
In the trailer, Van Gore paints the picture of an artist with a seriously sinister motive.
"We kind of did a story about an artist who captures young, beatnik-hipster people and drains them of their blood, then uses their organs and whatnot to paint and make art with," explains Hodder, not missing a beat. Keith is enrolled in Radio and Television Arts at Ryerson University in Toronto.
"Most of the things I shoot are like, dramatic thrillers, so everything has to be serious; it's one of those things where if someone laughs, I'm going to be frustrated - especially if it's not at a funny part.
[Van Gore] was just a lot of fun to write these really campy lines and get these really talented actors that do really well at acting poorly, if that makes sense."
The production schedule of Van Gore was extremely tight due to the short time deadline for the contest (3 weeks). The concept was thought up with a day, and another night to write the script.
"Production was two days, and then we probably edited for another four or five days, and that includes calling the composer in the UK and getting him to compose while we listened."
I've known Keith since the time we've spent together in residence, and it's not that big of a stretch to say he's an extremely talented individual; while Van Gore might not be to my taste (my dislike for Tarantino could fill another column,) I can appreciate the work and passion that's gone into the production.
At the time of posting, Van Gore is outstripping the second-place contestant by a good 1,000 votes. While I'm not going to yell at you to vote for Keith, dear readers, I urge you to at least visit the contest page, watch the trailers and vote. Like Hobo With a Shotgun before it, this contest could be what these hopefuls need to kickstart their hopes and dreams.