“V/H/S/94” Filmmakers talk inspiration for segments, creating the VHS aesthetic, and rat monsters

Noah Levine

“V/H/S/94” is the newest entry in the long-running horror anthology series of eerie found-footage shorts from a variety of talented writers and directors. The latest installment follows a police squadron as they infiltrate the base of a horrifying cult, stumbling upon their twisted collection of VHS tapes in the process. The Daily Texan spoke with several of the contributing filmmakers and producer Josh Goldbloom about working on the terrifying film. 

The Daily Texan: How did you achieve the 1990s VHS aesthetic to all of the footage? 

Simon Barrett: Man, are we glad you asked that question. That’s the rest of the interview. You’re not going to get a second question because we are about to go off … It’s tricky because with the previous films, you want all the segments to look stylistically uniform but they also all have to have a unique look otherwise your eye just gets exhausted. The short answer is everybody did something different. We all shot at 29.97 drop to get that video-y look.

Chloe Okuno: (My segment was) shot on a digital camera and then we did a tape transfer. We used a few different formats for different parts of the segment. We also had people run the tape through a few times so we had a heavily damaged beta-max that just had like a bunch of staticky fuzzy shit that looked awesome. 

DT: The creatures looked scarier because of the VHS aesthetic. Especially the rat! 

Josh Goldbloom: When we received (the creature animatronic), it was during (the) pandemic so it was really difficult to find good effects artists in Toronto because a lot of projects were going on at the same time. You have shows like “The Boys” that took up a ton of really good effects artists. This guy Patrick McGee, who we knew, put this together in like two weeks, put it in a crate, and shipped it to us and hired technicians locally. 

DT: Were there any specific horror influences for each of your stories?

SB: I had always wanted to do a film that kind of paid homage to the Russian-Ukrainian film “Viy.” That’s a film made in the late ‘60s that I’ve always really loved. Just the idea of having to stay in the room with a corpse had always been in the back of my mind. Recently, a friend of the VHS family Roxanne Benjamin, had made a film called “Body at Brighton Rock.” She used a specific bit of legal trivia which is: if you are a government official and you find a dead body, you cannot leave it. 

Ryan Prows: I sort of asked myself what terrifies me, and it’s rampant militia violence. And then I just started watching a lot of HBO docs about skinheads or militia stuff. They provided a lot of one reference and also a different type of horror that I really responded to and drew from. It felt like a fun sort of thing to bring to the world of VHS. 

CO: “REC” was a big influence. Single camera, found footage following a news story. But also there’s this documentary called “Dark Days” which I (watched). It’s about this guy who profiles the lives of these people who live in the abandoned tunnels in the New York subway system. It’s an incredible documentary. 

JR: I was influenced by David Cronenberg’s “Videodrome” and that kind of sense of cult behavior around underground video production. But also, (I) rewatched multiple iterations of the “Heaven’s Gate” cult docs which were not only about cults, but the leader used video-feedback (in propaganda videos).