Vincent D’Onofrio may be best known for his acting, from his early work in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket to his role in Tarsem’s The Cell through his extended run on “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” but a few years ago, he decided to direct a movie and so was born Don’t Go In the Woods, a self-described “slasher musical” which puts a spin on the typical “kids go into the woods and are knocked off one by one” horror movie we’ve seen so many times over the last thirty odd years.
While D’Onofrio’s horror debut is just as graphic and gory as you’d expect from any slasher film, what sets it apart is the fact so much of the story is based around music in the form of songs written by D’Onofrio’s musical friend Sam Bisbee. The logic is that the unwitting victims in this case are a band on a sabbatical to spend time in the woods to work on some new songs, joined by a group of women. Shortly after they arrive, they start disappearing and being systematically slaughtered and there are a bunch of songs in between the kills. (There’s actually a precedent for this sort of thing with B-horror movies of the ’60s and ’70s in which young people would sit around a fire singing songs or dance to some hip rock band, so maybe it’s not such a weird concept.)
Shock Till You Drop sat down with D’Onofrio earlier this week for the following video interview which started simply enough with us discussing his decision to direct and why he chose a “slasher musical” as his first movie, we then transition into the casting of non-actors and music, the influence of films like High Tension, and eventually we get into a fairly lengthy conversation about the quality of acting in horror films as well as briefly touch upon his work in Scott Derickson’s found footage movie Sinister, which D’Onofrio almost literally phoned in (via Skype).