Brought to you by The Lab of Madness, “Murder Party” finds art students luring a pathetic loner to a Halloween party only to capture him and plot his grisly demise as part of some grand art piece that will gain them grant money. While this Halloween party sucks for the pathetic loner, film festival audiences everywhere have been having a blast with this dark comedy that delivers the gory goods.
We spoke with filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier to find out what’s going on at this “Murder Party.”
“Art Students” sure are wacky. Is “Murder Party” based on any sort of true story? Maybe just a little? ^ But of course! “MURDER PARTY” lampoons the scenesters of an artist’s enclave in New York (Williamsburg, Brooklyn). But as much as we’d like to distance ourselves from the self-obsessed douchebags in the film, the truth of the matter is we ARE those douchebags. After years of artistic collaboration and attempts to break into the biz, the built up frustration and internal squabbling ended up providing us with all the material we needed for our first film!
Did you come up with all of the costumes seen in the movie, or was that more of a collaborative effort? ^ Macon Blair, Chris Sharp and I went to a bar and came up with the costumes in a single sitting. It was a Halloween film and I wanted a proper delegation of characters and costumes representing: classic horror (Werewolf, Vampire), 80’s cult favorites (nods to “BLADERUNNER” and “THE WARRIORS”), some sort of zombie (undead Cheerleader) and so forth. Macon Blair put together some costume sketches, handed them off to our costume designer, Erin Dougherty, and she took it from there. Chris Sharp (our protagonist) fashioned his own cardboard suit of armor for the film, which was based on a costume he actually sported at my ’99 Halloween bash.
So, this is a film by The Lab of Madness. What’s the Lab of Madness? ^ The Lab of Madness is a bunch of friends from Alexandria, VA that have been making movies together since the sixth grade. We’ve re-converged in Brooklyn, NY to continue our assault on various industries- mostly film, comic books and commercials.
How did you assemble your cast? ^ Almost every role in “MURDER PARTY” was written for the actor who played the part. The cast essentially inspired the film, not the other way around. I’ve been surrounded by these talented performers my whole life, so it was my absolute pleasure to finally give them their introduction. And I didn’t have to pay them s**t.
What were some major obstacles you faced while making “Murder Party”? ^ We’re very happy for our success with the film, but it’s been an uphill battle the whole way through. The day jobs, the locations, vying for- wait. No. I’ve been bitching and moaning about the whole process for so long, I can’t bear to continue. I’m a lucky man.
“Murder Party” has been on the festival circuit for a little while now. How have crowd reactions been? Anything off the wall happen? ^ The crowds have been great. The film plays best in front of drunken audiences. We’ve gotten them drunk enough to walk away with two Audience Awards!
Are horror movies a true passion for you or will you next direct a romantic comedy about unicorns? ^ Horror films are a true passion, but I’d love to genre-hop a few times before I’m pigeonholed. Up next will be something with a “REPO MAN” / “RIVERS EDGE” vibe, currently entitled “MOUSTACHE”. It’s another Lab of Madness collaboration and we’re in the process of working out a deal to get it done.
Where can people see “Murder Party” in the near future? ^ Our theatrical premiere will be at the Sunshine in NYC October 12th and 13th. We’re doing a limited theatrical release in other cities including Seattle, Boston and a few others. The DVD will be released on October 16th and will be available anywhere quality sleazeball horror comedies are sold and rented- Amazon, Netflix, Best Buy, Walmart- you name it!