June 5, 2023
'V/H/S/99': Maggie Levin and Verona Blue engage in true riot nostalgia in horror anthology

‘V/H/S/99’: Maggie Levin and Verona Blue engage in true riot nostalgia in horror anthology

In Spirit of the Spooky Season, the Horror Anthology Series V/H/S takes you back to year 2000 nostalgia with V/H/S/99 on Shudder, and the best of the “found footage” comes from filmmaker Maggie Levin’s “Shredding” segment, featuring Canadian actor Verona Blue.

“Shredding” stands out as a highlight from the rest of the segments in V/H/S/99taking you back to the riot grrrls of the 90s when a punk band known for Donkey-esque antics decide to record a music video at a haunted location and are terrorized by the spirits of the all-female band “Bitch Cats”, who were trampled to death by their fans three years earlier.

“Shredding” segment of V/H/S/99 by filmmaker Maggie Levin – (Shudder)

Unlike some segments of V/H/S/99, “Shredding” isn’t the type of horror that makes you want to walk away from the story.

“There’s something about Maggie, as a woman, having a very different perspective on horror and what horror is, compared to a lot of other filmmakers who lean into making the really uncomfortable or unsettled people, or having power over them,” Blue says Yahoo Canada at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). “Maggie’s segment really invites you to it.”

“Even though there’s a real punk-rock, kind of a loose, free spirit to the segment, everything was, down to the last pixel, very carefully crafted,” Levin explained. “I’ve thought about every moment of this movie hundreds of times.”

“I started thinking about my childhood experiences and what that time means to me as an adult now, so both the best and the worst of what 1999 meant to me, and I really wanted merge that stuff see CKY skate video which all the boys I had a crush on were doing at the time. I also really wanted to dig into what was wrong with the kind of ‘just any American town mentality’ that was flowing from above, and there’s a lot of late 90s, MTV [inspiration] in there.

Also, when it came to crafting this “Shredding” story, the riot grrrls aspect was particularly appealing to Levin.

“I also wanted to do a ghost rock band for a long time,” the director said. “Plus, the late ’90s and early ’00s misogyny meeting, versus the rock feminism of the riot grrrls, I wanted these things to go one-on-one and then I play favorites, so the riot grrrls win.”

TORONTO, ONTARIO - SEPTEMBER 15: (LR) Verona Blue and Maggie Levin attend the

TORONTO, ONTARIO – SEPTEMBER 15: (L-R) Verona Blue and Maggie Levin attend the ‘V/H/S/99’ Premiere during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival at Royal Alexandra Theater on September 15, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Dominik Magdziak/Getty Images,)

“This version of this character, in almost every other show, is a sex kitten”

Toronto native Verona Blue leads the Bitch Cats as Deidre, a band singer like you’ve never seen before, widely credited with Maggie Levin’s commitment to not over-sexualizing or covering up the character.

“Maggie gave me so much freedom to make Deidre exactly the character I sometimes get asked to play on other shows, but she’s really veiled by TV standards,” Blue said. “This version of this character, in almost every other show, is a sex kitten, like the fishnets are torn in a very inviting way, her makeup is black lipstick but it’s sultry, and Deidre is like, ‘hey, go f-ck yourself, stay away, I’m going to hit you.

“There’s not a lot of portrayal of authentic, alternative people on TV or in movies. It’s always this genre interpretation, they’re working on a hot topic, they hate their parents, they’re a walking suit, they don’t have any depth to them… Just being able to be like, ‘Hey, can I do him scary? Not pretty, not cute, not a hot rocker, but tough, really tough, “…it was really amazing.”

Maggie Levin - Director of Shredding in V/H/S/99

Maggie Levin – Director of Shredding in V/H/S/99

“A remarkable free space for the empowerment of women”

When V/H/S/99 premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), there was such excitement in the crowd, possibly the loudest audience at the festival. This doesn’t just speak to the community aspect of watching horror content, but the impact the genre has on its fans, especially women.

“Horror is such a remarkable free space for female empowerment and always has been, I think in a devious way,” Maggie Levin said. “The concept of a Scream Queen goes back a long way and I think it lends itself beautifully to exploring the things in our world that I think deserve catharsis.”

“There’s a reason women are particularly drawn to true crime and really bloody, gory stuff. There’s something about going through the worst of the worst and coming out the other side more alive than ever. That’s really what I love about horror and also, you can do weird and wacky stuff.

“I think there’s not a lot of opportunity to play a hero and a villain at the same time, or to have a change in an interesting way, unless you’re like a big movie star. in a thriller,” added Verona Blue. . “Horror, you meet a lot more creators and writers and directors, because the budget tends to be slightly lower, and so it’s messier, you have more people whose scripts aren’t micromanaged unless an inch of his life.”

“They can come in there and be like, here’s my idea, people rework it a bit to make sure it fits the budget and the schedule and whatever, and then you can just run with it. As an actor, it’s a very free space.

V/H/S/99 is available on quiveralso available via Prime Video from Amazon in Canada.

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