To the spirit of the spooky season, the horror anthology series V/H/S takes you back to Y2K nostalgia with V/H/S/99 on Shudder, and the best of the “found footage” comes from filmmaker Maggie Levin’s “Shredding” segment, starring Canadian actor Verona Blue.
“Shredding” stands out as a highlight from the rest of the segments in V/H/S/99, taking you back to ‘90s riot grrrls when a punk band known for Jackass-esque antics decides to record a music video in a haunted venue and are terrorized by the spirits of the all-woman band “Bitch Cats,” who were trampled to death by their fans three years earlier.
Unlike some of the segments in V/H/S/99, “Shredding” isn’t the type of horror that makes you want to push yourself away from the story.
“There’s something about the fact that Maggie, as a woman, has a very different perspective on horror and what horror is like, compared to a lot of other filmmakers who lean into making people really uncomfortable or unsettled, or having power over them,” Blue told Yahoo Canada during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). “Maggie’s segment really invites you into it.”
“Even though there’s a real punk-rock, kind of loosey-goosey, free spirit to the segment, everything was, down to the last pixel, very carefully designed,” Levin explained. “I thought about every single moment in that film hundreds of times.”
“I started to think about my childhood experiences and what that time represents to me as an adult now, so both the best and the worst of what 1999 meant to me, and I really wanted to fuse those kind of see CKY skate video things that all of the boys that I had crushes on were making at the time. I also really wanted to dig into what was wrong with the sort of ‘any town USA mentality,’ which trickled down from above, and there’s a lot of late ‘90s, MTV [inspiration] in there.”
Additionally, when it came to crafting this “Shredding” story, the riot grrrls aspect was particularly appealing to Levin.
“I also have long wanted to do a ghost rock band,” the director said. “Also, the meeting of late-‘90s, early-aughts misogyny core, against riot grrrls rock feminism, I wanted those things to go head-to-head and then, I’m playing favourites, so riot grrrls win.”
‘This version of this character, on almost any other show, is a sex kitten’
Verona Blue, originally from Toronto, leads the Bitch Cats as Deidre, a band front-woman like you’re never seen before, largely attributed to Maggie Levin’s commitment to not over-sexualizing or glossing up the character.
“Maggie gave me so much freedom to make Deidre exactly the character that I sometimes sort of get invited to play on other shows, but she’s really glossed up by television standards,” Blue said. “This version of this character, on almost any other show, is a sex kitten, like the fishnets are torn in a very like inviting way, her makeup is black lipstick but it’s sultry, and Deidre’s like, ‘hey, go f-ck yourself, do not get any closer, I will hit you.”
“There’s not a real lot of representation of authentic, alternative people on television or in film. It’s always this interpretation of like, they work at a Hot Topic, they hate their parents, they’re a walking costume, they don’t have any depth to them… Being able to just be like, ‘Hey, can I make her scary? Not pretty, not cute, not a sexy rocker, but tough, really tough,’…that was really amazing.”
‘A remarkable free space for female empowerment’
When V/H/S/99 premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), there was such excitement in the crowd, likely the most vocal audience of the festival. It speaks to not just the communal aspect of watching horror content, but the impact that the genre has on its fans, particularly women.
“Horror is such a remarkable free space for female empowerment and kind of always has been, I think in a sneaky way,” Maggie Levin said. “The concept of a Scream Queen goes way back and I think it lends itself beautifully to exploring the things in our world that I think deserve some catharsis.”
“There’s a reason why women are particularly attracted to true crime and to really gritty, gory stuff. There’s something about getting to go through the worst of the worst and then come out the other side of it, more alive than ever. So that’s really what I adore about horror and also, you just get to do some weird, wacky stuff.”
“I think there’s not a lot of opportunity to get to play a hero and a villain at the same time, or to have a switch in an interesting way, unless you’re like a huge movie star in a thriller, ” Verona Blue added. “In horror, you get to meet a lot more variety of creatives, from writers and directors, because it tends to be slightly lower budget, and so it’s more scrappy, you have more people whose scripts are not being micromanaged within an inch of its life.”
“They get to come in there and be like, here’s my idea, people rework it a little bit to make sure it fits the budget and the timeline and whatever, and then you just get to run with it. As an actor, it’s a very free space.”
Take the compliment! Casting directors are (almost) always on your side. Word gets around. You’re allowed to be disappointed. Don’t believe them when they say you can hold the paper in the audition — arrive off-book! Just memorize it. Trust me.
Asa part of our series about creating a successful career in TV and Film, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Verona Blue.
Verona Blue is a classically trained actor from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Fully immersed in Goth culture as a teen, Verona spent countless nights running downtown alleys with a group of like-minded misfits and has been channeling the spirits of innumerable interesting characters ever since. Her commitment to her counter-culture roots and authentic ownership of her unique look makes her a standout on screen.
After receiving her MFA from the renowned Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Verona performed several new works in London, and Edinburgh before relocating to sunny Los Angeles. Her on-camera work includes three seasons on Amazon’s gritty, hit show BOSCH as coy bartender Shaz, as well as roles on Shameless, Mom, Married, and Wisdom of the Crowd.
Verona’s theatre pedigree has lent itself well to voiceover and performance capture for film and video games. Star Wars fans know her as the first female Stormtrooper in the series, as well as guest appearances as a variety of creatures, imperial offices, and PA systems. Even the voice of the antenna in Rogue One that beamed the Death Star plans to the Rebellion (and safely away from Darth Vader’s hands). Her extensive VO and motion capture resume also includes work for Borderlands, Marvel, and Disney.
Verona is Vice President of Dogs Without Borders, a non-profit dog rescue, and enjoys the full-time company of several chihuahuas.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Hi, thank you for speaking with me today! I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I attended fairly rigorous academic schools, where I did “ok” and learned to speak French, but I probably would have been better suited at a performing arts school.
When I was a teenager, I discovered the “goth” subculture, and it turns out it was not a phase. I made many lifelong friends by staying out late, in dark basements, dancing to spooky music, and wearing unconventional outfits. This continues to be a great way for me to make new friends.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Just outside of Toronto, there is an area called Stratford, named after the town in England where William Shakespeare was born. Stratford, Ontario, stages modern and Shakespearean plays every year during its summer festival. When I was a child, we visited regularly, and one year I saw a staging of Amadeus with an actor called Brian Bedford as Salieri. I had never seen an actor so completely transformed. His performance was life-altering. I had always been interested in acting, and truly obsessed with watching TV, but Brian’s performance really solidified for me what was possible with the right combination of talent and training.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
The most interesting? I guess the first time I had a stunt double was pretty wild! I had a unique hairstyle that was hard to replicate and made me stand out in any crowd… and yet there I was, looking at myself walking on the other side of the street. It was very surreal to see what I look like to other people. It is not like seeing a photo or even seeing yourself on TV. It’s a totally different experience. It feels a bit like you’re hallucinating.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
This is such a great question. I have learned the hard way that if you put together a very striking outfit for an audition, particularly a commercial audition, you will likely be asked to bring and wear that outfit for the shoot. This means — do not wear outfits that look great and feel terrible! If you are uncomfortable wearing that “costume” for 13 hours, do not let them see it! They will definitely ask you to wear it! This is how I ended up in a tight-laced corset on set for way too long! Choose comfort over style!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am so thrilled to have been cast in V/H/S/99 “Shredding”. It was a scream to work on, and I am really enjoying talking to people who have seen it so far at festivals or through screeners. It’s my first time working on a horror project, and the community is so cool. I have been trying to slow down a bit and take more pleasure in the release of work instead of pushing too fast onto the next thing… Also, the next big thing is under a very scary NDA, so I can’t even talk about it.
V/H/S/99 is available on Shudder on October 20th.
You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
My number one piece of advice for any actor is “take a class!”. Actor training is vital. Being attractive, young, and outgoing can open doors but will only take you so far if you can’t create an engaging performance on the day. Practice your craft, and model your choices after successful actors you admire. Learning how they got where they are can help you follow a joyful and fulfilling path while also helping you set realistic expectations of how long it can take before getting a breakthrough. Success is always possible, but it looks different to everyone, so if you love to act, invest in that love with your time and hard work.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Everyone deserves an escape. Everyone deserves entertainment that speaks to them and meets them where they are. It’s why we have different genres of entertainment in the first place! We all have our favorites. Those things are often our favorites because we can relate to the characters or the situation. Without accurate representation, so many people are left out of the joy of storytelling and imagination — and for what? What does any individual gain by excluding their neighbors from our popular myths?
We live in a colorful and exciting world. The cultures, people, food, ceremonies, jokes, and fears of everyone make it what it is. Allowing different types of people to be on screen ensures that they are commonplace amongst the masses, even if they are in the minority in a specific area. It helps remove the idea of “otherness” and allows children to see themselves as welcome. It connects the viewer to the experience of someone unlike them, hopefully sparking their curiosity about different perspectives and opening their minds to how big our world is.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
This is such a tough question. You sometimes cannot be told, and you just have to learn it the hard way! Wisdom is earned — sadly for me, but there are definitely a few lessons that I learned that seem so obvious now.
Take the compliment! Just say “thank you” and don’t deflect. It’s not cute to act totally self-deprecating when someone has gone out of their way to congratulate you on your work. Accept the little praise we all get with an open heart.
Casting directors are (almost) always on your side, and by knocking it out of the park for them, they also have job security and gain confidence. It can feel scary to walk into an audition with a new casting director. It feels like everyone is judging you rather than excited to see you perform. I have had the privilege of taking my time to chat and work with some really caring casting directors, including Laura Schiff, who cast me as bartender Shaz in the Amazon series Bosch. She really took an interest in me as a person and helped me succeed in getting that role. She knew I was right for it and fought for me.
Word gets around. I was on set once and the makeup artist said, “so I hear you love a lot of contour.” I laughed and said yes. She told me she had just finished working on another project and was working with an actor with a unique look and pulled up my photo. The other makeup artist, who had worked with me before, gave her the inside scoop on how to best do my makeup! If makeup artists are talking about me, who else is? I’m always on my best behavior at all times, everywhere.
You’re allowed to be disappointed. I found that agents, managers, and even friends always tried to brush off any bad news about a booking or audition with “onto the next” or “we’ll get ’em next time.” Which is all well and good, but it feels so transactional for someone who puts so much thought, heart and energy into pursuing a role. I would have benefitted from someone telling me that I’m allowed to take a day to be sad about it before moving “onto the next.”
Don’t believe them when they say you can hold the paper in the audition — arrive off-book! Just memorize it. Trust me.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Oh yeah, being a professional actor can be both stressful and exhilarating, but like all art forms, making something you love into your job inevitably leads to a certain level of burnout, whether it’s from too much work or too much rejection. I personally find engaging in regular volunteer work to be a solid way to stop focusing on myself and my career and participate in something bigger.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
What a flattering thing to say — I have been an activist my whole life, but my two particular areas of interest at the moment are animal welfare and the education of women and girls. I encourage people to sponsor a girl in underprivileged communities to go to school. I personally sponsor two girls in Cambodia, which not only ensures they get an education and will be able to support themselves as they grow and prevent them from being sold into trafficking. I sponsor them through CambodiaSchools.org “Girls be Ambitious” program.
I am also the vice president of a dog rescue here in Los Angeles called Dogs Without Borders. We see many dogs surrendered because owners do not do enough research into breed traits and become frustrated or overwhelmed by behaviors they do not know how to manage. I would love to see more people treat their companion animals as friends and build a strong relationship with them by learning about canine enrichment through training and games. Check out DoMoreWithYourDog.com
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am wildly grateful to Matthew Wood, head of Skywalker Sound, for inviting me to join the Lucasfilm loop group that allowed me to work on so many Star Wars films and video games. Without his friendship and dedication, I would not have been the first female Stormtrooper in the series, nor would I have been able to play amongst so many incredible voice actors that I am now thrilled to be able to call friends.
Matt and I met at a comic convention in Toronto when he was signing autographs for his role as General Grievous in Star Wars, Episode 3 — Revenge of the Sith. We kept in touch over the years, including getting together when I was in theatre school in England, which, I guess, let him know I was not only serious about Star Wars but also about acting.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
One of my favorite sayings is, “there’s nothing more pragmatic than idealism.” Although the two ideas seem diametrically opposed, I believe that focusing on doing what’s right using the tools available is the most effective way to create positive change for yourself and the world! Having this positive outlook has helped me find creative ways to address challenging auditions and pursue projects I am proud to be part of.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Oh boy, what an offer! I would love to have tea and cookies with Bob Barker to talk to him about his animal rights activism, his spay, and neuter message, what impact he feels he made over all these years, and how we can continue his legacy going forward.
How can our readers follow you online?
I can be found on Twitter and Instagram @bathori, on TikTok @VeronaBlue, and on my website VeronaBlue.com
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
About The Interviewer: Growing up in Canada, Edward Sylvan was an unlikely candidate to make a mark on the high-powered film industry based in Hollywood. But as CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc, (SEGI) Sylvan is among a select group of less than ten Black executives who have founded, own and control a publicly traded company. Now, deeply involved in the movie business, he is providing opportunities for people of color. In 2020, he was appointed president of the Monaco International Film Festival, and was encouraged to take the festival in a new digital direction. Raised in Toronto, he attended York University where he studied Economics and Political Science, then went to work in finance on Bay Street, (the city’s equivalent of Wall Street). After years of handling equities trading, film tax credits, options trading and mergers and acquisitions for the film, mining and technology industries, in 2008 he decided to reorient his career fully towards the entertainment business. With the aim of helping Los Angeles filmmakers of color who were struggling to understand how to raise capital, Sylvan wanted to provide them with ways to finance their creative endeavors.
We chatted with Verona Blue, whose new film V/H/S/99 screened at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival. She talked about her journey in the acting world, taking time out to train in theater and weapons before landing in LA to chase her acting dream.
Horror Geek Life: Can you talk about your journey from Toronto to London to LA and how you discovered acting?
Verona Blue: Yeah, I was born and grew up in Toronto and moved to England in 2007 to go to theater school. I moved to LA three years later. I think so many people become actors when they’re kids because they’re really gregarious and encouraged to sort of be a show-off. But for me, my parents are very into supporting the arts even though they didn’t work in the arts. I would go to the opera and Roy Thomson Hall all the time growing up, and we would go to all the Mirvish shows. I think I saw Phantom of the Opera a thousand times, so we were really into just participating in that.
I’ve always had an unhealthily obsession with television; I just love the medium because you have so much more time to get to know these characters than in a movie. So when I was a little kid, I wanted to be an actor, and my parents put me in children’s theater, and I went to the National Music Camp of Canada for musical theater. I was in a private school, but I was in a performing arts school, so it was more academics, unfortunately for me, which is definitely not my strongest area.
When I graduated from high school, I went to Ryerson for Film and New Media. I got into the filmmaking digital media type department and went into web development as a job. I was working in Toronto at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation doing their website and marketing, but I kept meeting actors, getting along with them, and being intensely jealous. I’d kind of given up on acting because I was never really encouraged to pursue it as a job, so after a couple of years of just being around these people, I decided to give it another shot. It was one of those things where I didn’t know if I actually still loved it or if I’m just obsessed with the idea of it.
I did a summer in England at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, focusing on a Shakespeare-intensive type of training. It’s a long day, 7 a.m to 7 p.m, that’s what theater school is really like, especially in England, and at the end of that, I was reminded how much I really did love it. I started applying to grad programs in the UK for theater school, and I got into the Bristol Old Vic Theater school, which is where Patrick Stewart, Daniel Day-Lewis, and a bunch of the cast of The Crown went, so they produced a lot of really great actors and it’s a tiny school. Being an actor was never considered the first option for me when I was sort of growing up, but I was encouraged to play in space, so I sort of abandoned everything to really go for it, and here we are!
Horror Geek Life: Along with classical training, how did you come to excel at weapons and combat?
Verona Blue: When you do classical theater school or conservatory training, you get these full-body classes, so when you do your voice class, you’re learning accents, learning to breathe, and not just sitting in a chair and earning to talk. One of the things you learn is combat because if you’re going into the classical theater, there’s so much fighting in it. You have to learn stage combat, learn sword handling, and then depending on your interests and whether you’re athletic, you can do other weapons.
I was athletic, especially at the time, and I was powerlifting, so I was really strong, and my cardio was great. Weapons are really fun, and the swordmaster of the school, Jonathan, he’s amazing, approachable, and encouraging. It can feel very intimidating, and he’s not like that. He loves it and teaches around the world. He really wanted everybody to just do their best.
Horror Geek Life: When you landed in LA, was there a plan for what you wanted to do, or did you jump into the business?
Verona Blue: That’s a great question. There was kind of a loose plan, you could say. I was married at this point. My husband worked for Google, so he transferred, and we were able to land a little bit more softly because he had a job waiting. We were very fortunate that we could find a house for rent while we were still living in London, we landed this very cool house in the Hollywood Hills, and he had a job. I did have a background in new media and web development, so my plan really was to hope for the best when it came to being a fresh face.
I was going to take my background in web development and try and find a day job or a contract that would keep us on our feet because LA is very expensive. I came in guns blazing, I was so excited for no more winters, and there are actors and opportunities here. I guess we did have a plan; it just wasn’t a very exciting one. It was a very pragmatic plan of where we wanted to make sure we had jobs and then go from there.
Horror Geek Life: You have jumped around in your acting career, doing shorts, TV, and film voice work. You mentioned your love for television, so would that be your preference, or do you like to go back and forth between mediums?
Verona Blue: My goal is to be a regular character on a TV show. That, to me, is the most exciting opportunity because you get to become part of this world, and hopefully, the character doesn’t die, and you get to grow their story. The thing that is so appealing about television is that from the day that you start playing a character, it can go anywhere.
I’d love to be in a show that is kind of an ensemble cast, so there are a lot of different kinds of personalities and potential conflicts and things that can happen. That is sort of how theater is. You get to have this rapport with the other actor, but in television, it’s always new, whereas, in theater, you have to find the newness in the exact same thing every single night.
Horror Geek Life: How was your experience playing Shaz on Bosch?
Verona Blue: Bosch is such an intense show, and the actors are unbelievable as well. It really takes a very talented and extremely dedicated actor to do that kind of drama because it takes a toll on you.
Shaz was so cool from the very beginning. When I auditioned for her, the breakdown said they wanted a real alternative type. They were not looking for a little beautiful angel to put in a costume. They were really hoping to find an actor who was actually covered in tattoos. They ended up making me take my piercings out, but they really wanted somebody who read as authentic, which is so rare.
She’s a very beautiful but very palatable version of a counter-culture person that doesn’t really exist for a variety of reasons. The fact that Bosch films everything on location, so you feel the authenticity of the world they create. It was such a great opportunity for me, and to be able to become established in this world was amazing. Shaz was only supposed to be in those first two episodes and never again, and I got to keep coming back, which was wonderful.
Horror Geek Life: Let’s talk about V/H/S/99. How did that role come about for you?
Verona Blue: This was one of the easiest roles I’ve ever gotten in my life. The writer/director Maggie Levin, I’ve worked with her before, and she wrote the character for me. This was a really unique experience because I was able to see so much behind the curtain and view the process.
As we had worked together before, and she trusted me, she sort of involved me a bit in the development of the character. I ended up doing my own makeup. I didn’t have to, they had a makeup artist, but my character, Deirdre, is a hardcore post-punk goth with a white face. I talked to Maggie, and the makeup artist came up with this very beautiful template of what her makeup could look like.
V/H/S/99 is essentially a short film in this bigger world event, this anthology film, but it was like the one time when I really felt like an actor. I was like, oh, this is what it must be like to be like a famous actor where you can make these decisions, and you get to collaborate with the director. It was great; I’m so happy I got to do this.
Horror Geek Life: The horror genre and V/H/S films have a dedicated fan base. Did that make you nervous about meeting their expectations or more relaxed, knowing you already had a built-in fan base?
Verona Blue: I hope this movie is going to be a big hit with horror fans and the horror genre overall. I love horror fans and the horror genre. I mean, they’re so loyal! I’m personally very excited about this film. Our segment is called “Shredding,” and it’s so authentic. Every person who’s seen it has commented on the authenticity of the era, the 1999-ness of it. It feels like it’s ripped out of time.
I feel like the horror community is so welcoming and also willing to try something new. They want to be scared in a new way. They want to see a new take on it, and if you consider found footage history, you have Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity. Every time you have a new found footage film, you need a new angle. You can’t just do the same thing over and over again.
I think Maggie, the DP Alex Choonoo, and the editor Andy Holton did some crazy stuff on this one. Maggie bought a bunch of VHS tapes to create the authenticity of the tape over tape over tape. We filmed not only on a contemporary camera but used a 16-millimeter camera and some old Sony Handycam to make it feel very real. I think that the horror community is going to appreciate it, and I think film nerds will notice it.
Horror Geek Life: Are you excited to be back in Toronto and part of TIFF?
Verona Blue: I don’t think I even realized it was a bucket list thing until they told me I was playing at TIFF. When I was younger, we used to go and pick up a couple of shows at the Carlton, and then when I was at Ryerson, we’d wander over to the bars and the parties and try to sneak in and see who was there. You see these celebrities just walking around, and it’s such a big deal. It’s commonplace to me now because I live in LA, and you just see people all the time, but back then, it was so exciting.
To be able to come back to the place where I grew up, to a city that I love, that I would probably still be in if it wasn’t so cold (laughs), and as part of a movie at TIFF, it’s amazing. While I’d like to be able to experience being part of a big prestige film at TIFF, being part of Midnight Madness is, I think, one of the best things about TIFF. I loved doing this film. What a great franchise to be a part of, and I hope the fans love it too!
Check out the Shudder release of V/H/S/99 on October 20, 2022.
On September 16, 2022, I met up with LA-based actress Verona Blue. I’ve known Verona for a long time since my later goth days in the clubs. Verona has been a local Toronto DJ, alternative model, animal rescuer, and always an up and coming actress.
I hadn’t seen her in a while, but she always champions her friends and has a way of bringing out the best in you. Verona doesn’t morph from punk to goth, she is all of it. Brutally honest and completely self-aware of who she is, she is tough as nails, and a person with a good heart.
As she came to meet me at Luma (my favourite restaurant/bar space inside TIFF Bell Lightbox), she came in a like a breath of fresh air. Blue-green hair, in black jeans, black lacy top under a sleek black sweater, she cut a svelte figure, and she’s gorgeous to boot. I was excited to talk to her about her work in Maggie Levin‘s piece “Shredding” in V/H/S 99 and about her life beyond our little coven here in Toronto.
Jacqueline Valencia: How was Midnight Madness?
Verona Blue: It was wild. I love a midnight screening, opening of something with the fandom. Whether that’s a Star Wars, whether that’s a Marvel, that first show, the people that are going to show up at 11:59pm, are there to have a good time. Nobody is showing up there saying, “This is going to be the worst time of my life.” Everybody is there because they want it to be great, which I think is really rare. Especially in a festival everyone wants to go to a movie with judgment goggles. Was this with my time? Does this deserve it?
JV: Especially horror fans.
VB: Right. The horror people who are going to go to a Midnight Madness, they want it to be the best movie they’ve ever seen. They want to have a good time. And it was. From the second the pre-roll started the people who’d been doing lots of movies, screaming at the screen. Speaking along with the trailers, saluting the volunteer reel…just wild. It was really fun.
JV: The best part of TIFF is saluting the volunteers!
JV: With V/H/S 99, I was trying to figure out, because it was so well done, Maggie’s piece, the make-up…I don’t want to give away too much. Was that CGI and make-up?
VB: No, it was just make-up. Practical effects is the name of the game in V/H/S. It was just a lot of disgusting make-up. The heads are masks. They did a full cast thing on our faces. The good part about that is you can kind of take it on and off, as opposed to it being glued to your face. But our hands, all our other skin, they put an adhesive, then they apply a cotton batting, and loop it on, with warm gelatin. It’s unflavoured. It smells disgusting. It emanates the smell of hooves or something. They paint it on and layer it. You get this really cool effect. Then they take this alcohol based paint and the make-up artists create the colours and mixtures in it.
What you see is all the make-up artists and effects team’s work. All the glitches and stuff are not CGI, but clever editing.
JV:One of the things about your part in “Shredding,” the band The Bitch Cats, what was the inspiration for that?
VB: I’m sure Maggie will have a better answer for this. But she was pitching ideas, one she’s always wanted to do a ghost band as a concept. And the other thing was, what are the things in the late 90s that people were really into? So you have skate videos, the CKY, the prank video culture, the Tom Greens, and this pseudo-misogyny-core that was up and coming. At the same time you have L7, Bikini Kill, riot grrls, Hole, all of these bands that were “inventing feminism” from their perspective, with the attitude, Bitch Cat represents that segment of society. A little Lollapalooza, a little Lilith Fair, and all of those bands that really made an impact. Even Alanis Morrisette with Jagged Little Pill made an impact, she wasn’t really a riot grrrl, but the attitude is there. “Shredding” is really rooted in, “What was the culture?”
JV: Who did you call up for your character, Deidre?
VB: The thing that was great about being able to work with Maggie on this is two-fold. She’s an amazing director to work with. As an actor she’s very welcoming. Maggie always lets everybody know, on set, a couple of things. “One. I want you to look good, so don’t worry about how you look. I’ll make sure you look good. Two. If there is something you didn’t get or feel like you want to do it again, or in a different way, just tell me. We’ll do as many takes as you need to do the thing that you want.”
She’s really collaborative with actors. For Deidre, specifically, I’m pulling from late 90s Queen St.. Catch-22, Sanctuary, all of those. It’s not any particular person, but it is the whole Toronto goth scene in the 90s and early 2000s, of really aggressive women. We had the largest goth scene in the whole world for a really long time, which is wild in this Canadian city. Something about goth culture here in Toronto, it was really big on female empowerment.
Yes, there are pretty women and a culture of beauty, also a very strong sense of unapproachability. Women did their make-up in a way that wasn’t appealing to men. Women dressing in ways that aren’t meant for the male gaze. That’s everything I wanted Deidre to be. I don’t think any of the band felt like sex kittens. I don’t think there’s anything about Bitch Cat as if they were created to appeal to men. Men would find something wrong with each of the members of Bitch Cat. Darcy’s hair is too short. Deidre has all the shit in her face and white makeup. Carissa is too manly to play the drums. There are all these things that aren’t traditionally appealing to men.
I did my own make-up because the make-up artist would make it look really good! The make-up artist wants you to feel good and wants you to feel beautiful. Deidre does not want to be beautiful. Her idea of beauty is not everyone else’s idea of beauty. The make-up artist would make the eyeliner wings perfect. It was intentionally really harsh. It was a little bit weird because I was doing it at home. I would get in my little car and drive on the freeway. From neck to hair it was all nightmare and I’m in my pajamas the rest of the way down. I’m going to dress comfortably until I get there.
I wasn’t pulling a specific person. I’m pulling from everything I know growing up in Toronto, especially as a goth in this scene surrounded by really strong women.
I don’t know her name. She’s not goth, but you might know who she is. A Black woman with a shaved head that used to ride a recumbent bike down Queen Street. She was super punk, lots of piercings, and really stunning. I’ve never met her, but I used to see her all the time. She gave me such Tank Girl fuck off vibes energy. I aspired to that. She was like a goddess and no one would fuck with her. That is the pinnacle of femininity for me. And that’s where I was coming from with Deidre and you have to do it in thirty seconds.
JV: Tell me about growing up in Toronto and how you got into acting.
VB: Oh boy. I mean, like all actors, “When I was a child…” I just really wanted to be an actor ever since I was little. My parents were very supportive of the arts, not really super interested in acting as a career. You know, I went to a really academic school, barely had a drama program. During summer I would do children’s theatre and National Music Camp of Canada, so I had arts. But school was academically rigorous. I still wanted to act all the way through. The last couple of years of high school I struggled with my general happiness being in an academic program instead of a performing arts program. By that time though, my parents were already getting to the point of thinking that maybe I could change schools. Well now it’s gonna look like I quit. I kind of made the decision to finish at the private school instead. Then after that I went to Ryerson to do film and new media and sort of avoided acting. I did other stuff.
In Toronto, I DJ’d, did events, did some modeling, and some performance stuff. Then I started hanging out with actors again. I met some people who had become really successful in a variety of mediums. I couldn’t get away from it. I grew seethingly jealous that they got to do the thing that I’d always loved. Sometimes you get a dream as a child and you have some idea of what it’s like. Then you grow up and it’s not necessarily what it’s like. I got to thinking that if I really wanted to do this thing, I had to figure out if I actually liked it. I started taking acting classes at an acting school here, just to see how I felt about it. I ended up liking it. Then I applied to a Shakespeare intensive in London for the summer at RADA to see if I hack a full day? It’s one thing to do an hour class once a week. But can I do a 7am to 7pm intensive…”
VB: That’s how long theatre school conservatory programs are like that. You usually show up at 7, have a warm-up, and have classes until 8:30. By 6 or 7 you’re doing the rehearsal for whatever your show is. It’s a long day. There’s a lot of emoting and shouting, breathing, and things that wear out your body really quickly.
I really thought about, is this the thing I really want to do? Or is the idea of being an actor, the idea of fame, the thing that attracts me to this. And I got there, and no it wasn’t. I really loved it. I love working with creatives and watching other people love the thing that they’re doing. So after doing that, I decided I wanted to do a grad program. I applied to a bunch of UK schools because I knew I wanted to do it in England. I think the best actors are UK trained. I got into Bristol Old Vic and did a one year Masters there. Then I lived in London for two years doing theatre, then I moved to LA. It’s been all from there.
JV: I’m thinking of the kind of culture shock, when it comes to acting, in those various environments. You’ve got Toronto, you’ve got London, and Los Angeles. Is there a difference?
VB: Yes. The biggest difference is two-fold. The general business side, LA is the Superbowl. The rules are very specific because the competition is so tough. Where in England it is definitely beginner since they’ve been filming the Harry Potters and the Game Of Thrones. Big shows that when I went to theatre school, they didn’t have these big shows. It wasn’t a centre like it is now. In England, if you wanted to meet a casting director you could just pop by, bring your headshot, have a cup of tea, have a nice chat…you didn’t have to call and make an appointment. In LA, if you show up to a casting director’s office uninvited will get you on a blacklist. Prior to the pandemic, sometimes you could kind of crash auditions, but mostly commercial stuff where they see a lot of people. You can’t do that now because a lot of it is online, you get the link and that’s how you get it. So the business part is a huge difference. The terms of how casting works, the relationships you create in all these different cities, LA is the most stringent, even though it has the most people.
In terms of acting, people in England go to acting school to be actors. Their schools are part of an arts commission. If you get into RADA, it’s not like Julliard where it’s twenty-five or whatever. It’s subsidized like a regular university if you’re a resident. It’s much more affordable. The classes are competitive. They take 12-15 people max every year, but it’s a full conservatory program. You’re learning classical texts and how to break them down. They teach you how to use your body as part of your acting tool box. There’s breathing and projecting because the ideas with a classical style is that you have to hit the back wall.
JV: Does that ever come into play?
VB: Yes, if you have that training, it’s always valuable. It just makes you a better actor. But in LA it’s a lot of beautiful people who are the most popular people in their high school. They got on a bus or an airplane when they were eighteen because someone told them, “You should go to Hollywood and be famous.” With no acting background, they’re just very good looking, very thin, and they show up and think, “I’m here now, you should make me famous.” That is a career choice, with reality TV you get that, if that’s what you’re after.
Acting isn’t easy. It’s a job. You wouldn’t hire a pop star to be a basketball player, but we hire pop stars to be actors all the time which I think is weird. But it’s a real job that requires real skill. There is a bar that is called The Good Enough bar, and as long as you meet that bar you can get cast. You might not go that far if you don’t go above that bar though.
Like I said, LA is like the Superbowl. Only the best get to play and not very often. You have to have other things you like to do. Your plan can not be, get there! Make it big! Get rich!
LA can exhaust you. It’s hard to get auditions if you’re not represented, if you do, it’s hard to get called back and if you get called back, it’s hard to get the job.
JV: You’ve been through a few transformations, in the end, you’re you. I love that if you approach a character, you will turn into that character, but at the core, it’s you, like a chameleon, a different version of you. How do you go from a character like Shaz in Bosch to Deidre in V/H/S, or even a voiceover of a Star Wars computer? How do you get into the space of a character?
VB: I think it’s all in the writing. That’s part of the training. It’s all in being able to look into the context of the writing and drop everything else. You have to drop every pretense about yourself and give into the world that was created. Hopefully you have enough advanced information because you have the script. You can look up the director and the writer and see their previous work. You can get a feeling of what that world is like.You have to percolate your personality through that lens to really be believable in that world. I think I’m not believable in a soap opera. My personality, let alone my look, does not exist in a soap opera. But like a Bosch, a real, rounded, gritty, where there’s real people, type of show. It works great.
JV: I’d like to see you solve crimes in a gritty detective show.
VB: Let’s do it.
JV: What sort of things are you looking for right now?
VB: My North Star has always been a series regular. I would love to be in an ensemble type of show where you have multiple lead characters, with interesting and intertwining storylines. Now that we’re in 2022 and being alternative is cool again, whether it’s trendy or relevant it doesn’t matter. All the Millenials, Gen Xers, older Gen Zers, really have an authentic alternative look and are in the workplace, as themselves. I would love a character who is a CEO at a tech company, somebody who exists in reality who isn’t just a costume. I get regulated a lot to wearing the goth outfit, and sometimes there’s not a lot behind that. That’s why Deidre was cool because I could root her in reality. Maybe an author, a lady Neil Gaiman type who is writing fantasy/science-fiction, whatever is happening in her world. More horror as well would be amazing.
JV: I feel like you’re writing and producing in your head a lot.
VB: In my head, yes. On paper, no.
JV: But you’ve accomplished stuff.
VB: Yeah. I mean, I get to see Maggie Levin’s draft because we’re friends. Her pitches. I get to read her scripts sometimes before they go out because she lets me. And she’s SO good. She’s so good at it. There’s a difference between really good writing when you see it. I can come up with bits, I can come up with ideas, and I can come up with little scenarios that could be evolved into something more interesting.
The thing that I would love to do, my agents do this sometimes, they set me up for characters that are the right vibe for me, but not necessarily described to look alternative. The characters are tough or whatever. They send me in as an option, to be like, “What if though?”
But I’ll do anything. I just love acting.
JV: How do you juggle all that? You’ve got your work with Dogs Without Borders, regular work, and then you have acting.
VB: I don’t have kids! That’s a good start for me. Carefully. My husband is very supportive and extremely helpful. We have a good system at home. We’re really respectful of each other’s time. Having someone on your team knowing what you’re trying to do, and also isn’t in the business, helps a lot. I spend most of my time doing my day job. The trajectory is slowly going up. I’m getting more opportunities and things are getting bigger, so that’s very cool. But every day is the day job, remote on a computer and it’s very flexible.
Dogs Without Borders, my dog rescue in Los Angeles, and I’m the vice-president. We have a staff that does the day to day. I help manage the volunteers and a lot of social media. Again, I’m on the computer and kind of on the phone. A lot of my day to day is contained in my laptop.
When it comes to auditions, I have a booth at home, especially for voice auditions, I can just pop into the booth. Now most of my auditions are done either over zoom or it’s a self tape and I’m recording it and bringing it in.
I have good people supporting my efforts to do this job. It is a lot and I don’t have a lot of down time.
JV: Any projects lined up that we should keep a look out for?
VB: I’m working on this video game of which I can say nothing. I think it comes out next year. That’s all I can say. It’s performance capture, so it’s my body, my face, and my movements originating in this character.
The dog rescue is good. We have a new Executive Director called Chloe and she’s working really hard. We’re rescuing a lot of dogs. It’s tough! We’re trying to keep up with the good work and stay involved in the community.
Outside as we were about to part to our separate ways, we ran into fellow Queen Street East pals. It’s one thing to see a friend become a star, it’s another to see pals stay true to their core.
By Emily Gagne
In “Shredding,” Maggie Levin and Verona Blue conjure the ghosts of MuchMusic, Britney Spears, and Ani DiFranco in the late ‘90s.
V/H/S/99 – Photo Credit: Shudder
V/H/S/99 kicks off with a bang as Maggie Levin’s segment (“Shredding”) introduces us to Bitch Cat, a fictional riot girl band who brutally bit the dust before they could tear apart the Billboard charts. With her previous credits including Into the Dark‘s My Valentine, it’s obvious that music-based horror movies are in Levin’s blood. With V/H/S/99, she gets another chance to splatter this passion all over the stage and screen.
After V/H/S/99‘s world premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, Levin and “Shredding” star Verona Blue sat down with Dread Central to talk about making this much-anticipated and era-specific sequel, including the real women in music who inspired (and wrote for) Bitch Cat, the scary movies/series (cue the Unsolved Mysteries theme) that terrified them as young horror fans, and the practical effects that turned Blue and her co-stars into the gnarliest ghoul band on the block.
Read our interview (which was edited and condensed for length) with Maggie Levin and Verona Blue below. And catch V/H/S/99 on Shudder starting October 20, 2022.
Dread Central: Maggie, why this was the story you wanted to tell for your segment of V/H/S/99? Based on your previous work, I know you’ve got music in your blood.
Maggie Levin: Well, when we started talking about what’s compelling in 1999 from a found footage perspective, I started thinking about what I did with a camera when I was very small and then, what my friends did with a camera. It was sort of theCKYdays and very, the seminal Jackass days and…
Verona Blue: The Tom Greens, if you will.
ML: Real shock comedy and pranking. And so, I wanted to kind of fuse what really my younger brother was up to, and what I was up to in ’99, along with the supernatural sensibility that I have. And I’ve long wanted to do a ghost rock band concept, so this was the perfect outlet for it.
Also, V/H/Sjust encourages taking something to the absolute maximum and I am personally a maximalist in every regard. So, this was a really great opportunity to express just the most of everything that we came up with.
VB: There are almost no boundaries for the V/H/S/99 filmmakers, as far as I can tell. So they could just be like, “What if though?” And the producers are like, “Great, let’s do it.”
DC: I really liked the parts in [“Shredding”] that looked like MuchMusic, or MTV shows. Was there a particular show that you were trying to mimic or capture with the writing and the style of those clips?
ML: Absolutely. Those, like, 120-minute, late-night MTV shows.
I think at one point we were trying to actually license some Korn interviews from MuchMusic and almost got a Britney Spears interview from MuchMusic. But it’s hard to get sign-offs from very major celebrities on these kinds of high shock values.
The original concept, and I think you can still feel it in the final movie, was that this segment was made on top of a video mixtape that Rachel was making. So, the idea was that she was taping her gang’s tape on top of music videos and snippets from MTV that she was recording off the TV. So that influence is really in there and I’m so glad that it came out to you. That means a lot.
DC: Verona, how fun was it to play that side of it, but then also the zombified ghost side?
VB: I mean, playing a rock star when you don’t have to have any talent, you don’t have to write any songs, and you don’t have to be able to sing? You get the best parts: you get the outfit, you get to rock out. I mean, when [we were] shooting it, we’re like lip-syncing to a track, except that it looks weird if you lip-sync. So, you just go for it. Thankfully, the mic was not on…
And then, the prosthetics are so gross. They’re like gelatin that they kind of goop on you and eventually it sort of solidifies and then they paint it? And it’s on the upper body and then on our fingers all the way down because you could see our hands a lot.
It was very fun to just be this creepy, disgusting person for a day and going up to the craft table and trying to find something that fits in the mask and all the crew’s side-eyeing you. It was really the most playful you get to be as an actor because there’s no wrong choice when you’re a disgusting zombie ghost.
ML: Verona’s a very accomplished creature actor as well and [motion capture] actor. And so, I wrote the script with her in mind for this part…
There’s a lot of icky sticky, gory, gross stuff in this whole movie. But when I was talking to [SFX artist] Patrick Magee, I was like, “Can we melt one of the ghost heads?” And I chose my girl for that job.
DC: What an honor.
VB: They make these masks, which is better than having prosthetics applied to your face. But for that part, it was like they had a second mask and it had these tubes in it and then, they did a very middle school volcano situation. But we were blowing into it as well?
I’m sort of on all fours, the cameras right here and there are all these prop people huddled with these tubes in their mouth and there’s like a 3, 2, 1 and they just start blowing. And I was like, “What’s in here? Is it going to hurt? Can I open my eyes? What should I do?” And he was like, “I would probably keep your eyes closed just in case it might splash.” And I was like, to Maggie, I was like, “Can I make noise?” And she was like, “Do whatever you want.” So they go, “Action!” and we start to do it. And then once it hit my skin and I was like, “It feels like nothing.” Then I just started making the weirdest grossest noises. Gurgling, screaming, shrieking noises that I was like, “If they use it, great. If they don’t use it doesn’t matter.”
ML: Originally, we were going to replace Bitch Cat’s ghost voices with some guitar noises and we had some soundscapes planned. But the noises, particularly the ones that Verona and Tybee [Diskin] made on set, were so delightful, that we just did sort some after-effects modulation on them. It just sounds like a Muppet dying. It’s fantastic.
DC: Were there any particular girl bands that you were trying to evoke with “Shredding”? I felt Hole vibes for sure.
ML: Getting to dive into the mid-nineties, riot girl stuff again, which I had a phase with at one point before this movie, was great.
VB: We watched a lot of L7 videos
ML: It was really L7 and Hole.
VB: Bikini Kill…
ML: Also, a lot of the Bitch Cat dialogue is directly inspired by a very strange combination of Ani DiFranco and the Spice Girls. Two promo videos and an interview of Ani and the Spice Girls.
ML: No. Several interviews that I remembered watching when I was small and I was like, “I’m going to go back and find those.” And what’s lovely about interviews with female artists in the ‘90s is it’s like the invention of feminism.
DC: It’s an interesting contrast with the part in [V/H/S/99] where the girls stomp on sex dolls filled with Jell-O. Because there was much misogyny in the ‘90s too… It’s such a slippery slope exploring the girl power movement of the ‘90s and also the exploitation of women in the ‘90s.
ML: That juxtaposition is absolutely intentional. Because, especially from 1999 into the very early ‘00s, this kind of misogyny core was actually very popular. The Man Showcame right after 1999. And just look at theWoodstock ’99 doc.
VB: We had a lot of conversations about potential Maxim covers. Like, The Top 12 Bitches You Should Fuck Before You Settle Down. And it’s like, no, that’s probably real.
ML: If you’re looking deeply at the film, you’re meant to look at those things slammed up against each other. And yes, there was an incredibly empowered movement of women going on, but against this massive wave of misogyny.
DC: Verona, what was it like working with Maggie and with this mainly female cast?
VB: This is not the first time I worked with Maggie, very luckily for me. So, this was one of those times when I could walk on set and just feel so secure that the day was going to go exactly to schedule. There would be no shouting. It would be a very even-tempered fun time and that was exactly what it is because all of her sets are normal. She prepares, she does the work in advance, and when you show up on the day, it’s so organized. Everybody knows what they’re doing.
And then, of course, Alex Choonoo, the DP that she works with, they have a shorthand that you can observe, so setups are really fast. And especially when you’re in full prosthetics, you don’t want to just be waiting around forever because it gets really uncomfortable and it’s hard to regulate your temperature. So, it was great to work with her.
ML: Thank you.
VB: I wish we were a real band.
DC: Me, too!
VB: Also, I met the younger cast and everybody seems like real friends…
Some of that footage [of Bitch Cat] that we have that was taken on film was literally us just sitting around and not breaking character, but also there’s no sound. So, we were just shooting the shit and hanging out and taking a break and they were filming it and it looks very real and it’s because it was.
ML: The chemistry was there instantaneous.
I think casting is a deeply important part of the process. And half this cast were actors that I worked with before and wrote roles with them in mind. And then, half came from a week-and-a-half long casting process. So, I think we just got lucky that the group chemistry was really wonderful.
I felt incredibly blessed that everyone showed up so excited to dive into this period of time and to get to do these outrageous things. And the early conversations that we had about it were really just that everyone’s job, while all of this craziness went on, was also to bring real authenticity to their performances. Because you have two seconds to get to know who these people are—it’s a short film, it’s in your face, and you want to have a real sense of the person behind the chaos. And I just got so lucky that everyone was just terrific and brought their A game and worked really hard to nail that aspect.
VB: The thing that I really enjoyed about being able to do this girl band with Maggie is that I think in a lot of other contexts there would’ve been a lot of pressure for all four of us to be sexy sex kittens and there was none of that. I got to make Deirdre unapproachable in a very realistic way, the way people actually are unapproachable because this is their armor.
VB: Everybody was comfortable in their costume, but nobody had to wear something that they really felt it didn’t make them feel their best, in terms of modesty or coverage or whatever. And then also, I did my own makeup because the makeup artist would make it really good.
DC: Too good.
VB: It would’ve been like Pinterest/TikTok, goth girl. And I was like, “No, it was done in the bathroom at the bar right before they got on stage like a pencil and white Manic Panic makeup.” I texted Maggie and I was like, “What about if I just do myself before I come?” She was like, “Do whatever you want.”
ML: Watching her get out of her Mini Cooper in full makeup every morning was a real joy.
VB: Driving on the freeway was weird. There were normal clothes and then this is just shock white, black, and orange.
ML: And Jennifer Newman, the costume designer, did a spectacular job. Walking into that wardrobe room was like stepping straight back in time. It was really special.
VB: It was very cool to be able to put on that character because in my television work, it’s always glossed over. It’s always the pretty, sexy, “loves cops” version and Deirdre is not that.
ML: The thing about the [V/H/S] series is, you do not have to do the made-for-TV version. You can do the real, hardcore version of everything.
DC: I was born in 1989, so I was 10 in 1999 and I have many memories of exploring horror movies for the first time at that time. What really shocked you when you were kids?
ML: That’s a great question. I had some, I think, very early trauma surrounding horror movies genuinely. I had the classic “watch the original Screamat a sleepover and not be able to sleep for the rest of the week” experience. And I woke my mom up all the time. I was just looking for Ghostface everywhere.
And there’s not a lot of slasher DNA in this film in particular. It’s mainly hidden, in a totally license-free way, in the collage on Rachel’s wall. All the movies that scared the absolute jitters out of me when I was 13 are there. Jennifer Love Hewitt is there in full glory.
I watch those things now and I’m like, “The fisherman with the hook? He’s fine.” But yeah, those things really can get in your young brain and really unnerve you in a sick way.
VB: I completely self-traumatized myself by watching Unsolved Mysteries. I hated it and I couldn’t stop watching it—it was a weird fear addiction. And then I would get upset all the time because my parents’ house where I grew up has this big backyard which led onto a ravine…
There were windows at the back of the house looking into the backyard. And I remember one time someone escaped from a prison, or whatever, and they were like, “He’s in Earl Bales Park, avoid the ravines.” And I remember I had to go get something from downstairs and my parents’ house is not creepy—it’s like a mid-century modern. But going down these stairs and it’s all windows and I’m like, “They’re going to see me.” I just fully self-traumatized on a thing that had no answers?
The thing about Unsolved Mysteries is in the title: we don’t know what it is! Anything similar, like Fire in the Sky, fucked me up for life. I’m fine with it now because as a filmmaker I’m like, that’s cool how they did that. But as a smaller human… the original ANightmare on Elm Streetand then the original Hellraiser. All of that stuff I was like, “This is definitely bad.”
ML: I’m very excited about David Bruckner’s new Hellraiser. It’s going to be the first Hellraiser that I will watch all the way through. I’ve never been able to handle Hellraiser.
VB: When I got older, I watched the original. At this point, I’m solidly goth and I was like, “This is cool, right?” I had a little puzzle box like on my shelf in my apartment and everything.
But, yeah, there was a period where it was just like, “Hey, what about all the things that could haunt you for the rest of your life? Let’s consume them all now and see what happens.”
DC: You just test yourself. TheUnsolved Mysteries theme song still scares me to shit!
VB: Scares the shit out of me.
DC: It’s haunting, man! Speaking of music though, will we hear the Bitch Cat songs anywhere outside of the film?
ML: I really hope so. Dresage, who wrote all of the songs for the film and composed a very subtle score threaded throughout, is just an incredible artist who I’ve collaborated with before and plan to collaborate with for the rest of my life. If not for me and the audience’s enjoyment, I think that Dresage definitely deserves to have those songs out there.
“We Hate the Same Things,” which is the lost Blink-182 song in the beginning is hers. Then “Diamonds Turned Black” is the name of the Bitch Cat’s hit single that would’ve taken the world by storm had they not been trampled to death by their own fans.
DC: A true tragedy.
VB: Fingers crossed for a Spotify or something?
ML: I really hope we can do a little album. And also, Flying Lotus did the music for his [segment, “Ozzy’s Dungeon”]. So we should have that V/H/S/99playlist soundtrack score out there.
DC: Honestly, all of V/H/S/99 made me want to go and listen to music that I loved when I was 10 years old.