With his slow-burning revenge noir Blue Ruin, Jeremy Saulnier debuted as a startlingly original and bold young director, someone to be watched. Premiering at last year’s Cannes film festival, his difficult second album is the highly impressive grunge horror of Green Room, telling the tale of a punk band trapped backstage at a murderous Neo-Nazi nightclub. CineVue’s John Bleasdale caught up with the director to discuss.
It was very important to me that the effects seemed effortless and real and live. I’m a huge fan of the art form and so this was designed to have a gore score like Fangoria magazine. The gore has to be there, I do like it and I grew up in the Eighties when Dick Smith and Rob Bottin and Rick Baker, these amazing artists and a lot of them are no longer in the industry or they’re no longer appreciated because of all the CG, but nowadays it’s my responsibility to couple every act of violence or whatever is with an emotional component. The more gratuitous shots in the movie are of the non-fatal variety and they show some nasty meat. But when there’s a life lost I try and show a little more reverence and don’t celebrate that. Either way, I want a brutal and really emotional impact, so it’s more of a gut punch and less of a high five.
I felt a deep connection to the scene. And we’d go to Washington DC. So the Mexican restaurant scene is a show I played, a lame, under attended show. I used these real life experiences in the movie. I never had a siege situation with Nazis, but in the 80s there was a heavy Nazi skinhead scene so that at every show there would be some Nazis and it was very odd for me that this absurd ideology was carrying on. There’d be fights and stuff that would spill out into the street. And at times it would be very violent to be at these shows because there was very hardcore band crossover. The singer would brutalize people in the pit. It was very scary. So I modelled the evil Nazi band in Green Room after a band that struck fear into my heart when I was a kid. The scary thing is the skinhead white power is coming back and popping up.
John Bleasdale | @drjonty