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?
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!
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.
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.
talk about your directorial approach to your story at hand!
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.
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?
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.
what I drew on to play such a clueless dolt? I live in LA;
Iím surrounded by clueless people! ;)
can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
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.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
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.
$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,
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: www.searchmytrash.com/movies/gardenpartymassacre(2017).shtml
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
Your/your movie's website, Facebook,
Garden Party Massacre sites:
Gregory Blair sites:
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!