FX artist Vincent Guastini makes directorial debut with The Dark Tapes

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

The Dark Tapes Cortney Palm Vincent Guastini

After more than thirty years of crafting special effects, creating spectacular and gory sights for films like SPOOKIES, TOXIC AVENGER III, CHILD'S PLAY 3, THINNER, and DOGMA (he calls himself the "Shit Demon's Daddy"), Vincent Guastini has made his directorial debut with the wrap-around segment of the found footage anthology THE DARK TAPES – for which he also did all of the effects.


a genre-defying mixture of horror, sci-fi, myth, mystery and thrills told as four interlocking tales in one intelligent anthology. Ghosts, spirits, creatures, demons and more from the paranormal world collide with rational curiosity.

The film was written by Michael McQuown, who also directed the segments sandwiched between Guastini's wrap-around, which is titled "To Catch a Demon".

Guastini had this to say about the directing experience: 

I did not have much time to direct (the wrap-around). I had originally 4 to 5 days to direct which was once planned as an episode unto itself. It later became the wrap-around due to some editing issues and me also being cut down to really doing my job to 3 days after losing days on set to unforeseen interruptions. I had to make up the time and also keep the story and script somewhat cohesive so that in editing even if I was not editing it I was hoping people would not be confused and the footage is still there to cut together. I also had some complicated practical effects, stunts, and action.  Michael McQuown was the one who came up with the idea on set to make it a wrap-around. I also contributed to the Twilight Zone ending of my segment to wrap up the ending of the film."

Guastini found directing the segment, which features a seven foot tall demon (created by Guastini's company) stalking genre star Cortney Palm, to be complicated, as found footage wasn't exactly a style he wanted to work with.

I love doing movies that are cinematic. So I found it a challenge doing a movie this way and wanted to see if I could do it in a way that hopefully is a different experience, watching Ridley Scott’s Alien over and over again helped me a lot. Also working for and doing the effects for the kings of found footage movies lately,  namely Adam Robitel on “The Taking of Deborah Logan” and “Insidious 4”, and doing “VHS Viral” with Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson, and Todd Lincoln was a big help experience-wise doing mine."

Now that he has gotten into directing, Guastini intends to continue on down that career path, and is currently in development on DEADLY SKIES, a "visually ambitious" project that is described as being like "CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND meets TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE". While he plans on branching out into other genres eventually, right now he wants to continue working in horror so he can "scare the shit out of people". That's a great goal for a filmmaker to have.

I'm not generally a fan of the found footage style, I often try to avoid found footage movies, but THE DARK TAPES sounds like one I'm going to have to make an exception for and give a chance. 

An Epic Pictures release, the film is now available for viewing on all platforms.

The Dark Tapes Cortney Palm Vincent Guastini

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of JoBlo.com, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.