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An Interview with Gregory Blair, Director of Garden Party Massacre

by Mike Haberfelner

April 2017

Films directed by Gregory Blair on (re)Search my Trash


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We have talked about this before [click here], but do bring us up to speed: Your new movie Garden Party Massacre, what's it about, actually?


Garden Party Massacre tells the tale of a friendly backyard gathering that goes hilarious awry when an uninvited guest shows up... with a pickaxe... and an attitude! Throwing a party is stressful enough, but a serial killer makes it a scream! Some people are the death of the party!


When we last spoke, Garden Party Massacre was still in pre-production - so what were the main challenges bringing it to the screen, and how (if at all) has the project changed in the process?


Well, you have the controllable and the uncontrollable. Iím a pre-production stickler, so I had detailed shot lists and schedules pretty well ironed out. Those things you can control. But other things, you have to just roll with: we had to replace an actress, deal with unforeseen construction noises and even had a cast memberís mother go into the hospital, likely to die. So we had our fair share of obstacles to deal with. But despite everything, the script and shot list changed very little: I got 95% of what I wanted.


Garden Party Massacre enjoys playing with slasher movie mainstays - is that a genre at all dear to you, and some of your genre favourites?


Iím a big fan of the original Halloween, Psycho, and Hatchet for the Honeymoon. But, otherwise, except for the few slashers that offer really original concepts or surprises, I find them a little tiresome. I prefer supernatural or psychological scares to slasher scares. Give me Carrie, The Sixth Sense, or The Exorcist any day.


Do talk about your directorial approach to your story at hand!


The goal should always be to serve the story. My psychological thriller Deadly Revisions is very moody with dark colors, shadowy lighting and creeping camera work. But Garden Party Massacre is more of a spoof, with the comedy element above the horror element, so I wanted a light, bright atmosphere throughout. I also wanted to use tripods and fluid camera shots at first and then, when things get crazy, story wise, I wanted the camerawork to get crazy, too--so itís all hand-held and whip pans and whatnot after that. Iím a big believer in form and content reflecting each other and, in this case, I think it adds to the fun.


You also play one of the leads in Garden Party Massacre - so have you written Link with yourself in mind from the get-go, and what did you draw upon to bring him to life?


I didnít know who I was going to play at first. I liked all the characters. But as I began thinking of actors and who fit what roles, things moved around a bit. I ended up picking guys who might not normally be cast in the roles I cast them in, but who I knew would make them hilariously their own. I love that Andy Gates is our would-be-hero, but heís the shortest one of all; I love that David Leeper isnít the least bit the stereotypical wispy, lispy gay guy; and so it fit that I could play dumb blond Link instead of the obvious choice of a giant, lumbering hunk. I think creative casting is in short supply, nowadays, and itís so refreshing when it happens. 

As for what I drew on to play such a clueless dolt? I live in LA; Iím surrounded by clueless people! ;)


What can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?


I knew from day one that I wanted Nichole Bagby to play Addison. I had worked with her on On the Rocks and knew she was hilarious and would make feisty Addison a treat. I also knew I wanted to have Dawna Lee Heising [Dawna Lee Heising interview - click here] play Melanie. Dawna is extremely dedicated and has such a unique quality I knew would make Melanie pop on screen. When my original actress for Reena had to bow out, I immediately thought of Lise Hart. She played Bill Oberst jrís [Bill Oberst jr interview - click here] embittered wife in Deadly Revisions, but I had seen her do comedy and knew sheíd be a hoot in the role. I guess the lesson is: Be excellent, professional and kind and people will think of you again when they need to cast or get asked for a recommendation. I recommend actors to other directors all the time. But only those with all three attributes.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


Every shoot is a roller-coaster ride of gleeful joy, frustrating obstacles and racing against the clock. Because of the work I did in pre-production, there was far more joy than anything else. Also because of the cast and crew. My co-producer Roxy Shih [Roxy Shih interview - click here] helped me get a crew that was efficient, professional, calm and focused. We got through the dayís shot list early several times; when we didnít, everyone kept plowing ahead till we finished. The more organized you are, the smoother the shoot goes and the more relaxed the set is. And when people are relaxed, it allows for creativity, clarity and attention, confidence in the production, and a better general mood all around. And we are here to have fun. Yeah, we hope to make a buck, but really, we do this for love and joy.


The $64-question of course, when and where will your movie be released onto the general public?


Weíve already started submitting it to festivals, so it will begin having some public screening as a result later this year. Distribution will come after the bulk of the festival circuit. Festivals want to sell tickets and they canít do that as effectively if people can stream your movie at home for less. But rest assured: If you miss it in theatres, Garden Party Massacre will be out on DVD, Blu-ray, VOD and all that jazz as soon as the time is right.


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Garden Party Massacre yet?


Weíve only just begun releasing it to festivals, so thereís been almost no chance for anyone to see it. Though we did get our very first review, recently, and it was a rave. The (re)Search my Trash regulars will have already seen it Iím sure, but hereís the link:


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Iím acting all over the place! Alex Kavutskiy and Ariel Gardnerís On the Rocks is out on VOD now. Films coming out later this year include Aaron Mentoís Ugly Sweater Party and Hunter Johnsonís Serena Waits. Iíll also be on episode 5 of season 2 of Escape the Night. Filming this year are Blake Fitzpatrickís Abaddon, Michael Rodriguezís The Deadly Kind [Michael S. Rodriguez interview - click here], Adam Steigertís Fang [Adam R. Steigert interview - click here] and Kim Queenís Look Back. I play everything from a womanizing dance teacher to a hilariously disturbed religious nutbag.

Iím also excited about Heretiks, starring Michael Ironside (Scanners) and Claire Higgins (Hellraiser). Itís based on my original screenplay, adapted and directed by Paul Hyett. Itís a really creepy film that takes place in the 17th century about a young woman who is saved from execution and led to a priory to repent her sins but discovers a greater evil lies within. That should be coming out later this year.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


Garden Party Massacre sites:



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Anything else you're dying to mention and I've merely forgotten to ask?


Weíve opened up an opportunity on our website for people to tell us what festivals in what cities theyíd like to see the film screen. On the site is a place to make a donation and tell us which festival you want the funds to go to. Weíll use your donation directly for the submission fee. We canít promise weíll get accepted, but weíll give you a shout out, regardless.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Tršume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natŁrlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


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