Mike's Hidden Horror Gems: Murder Party (2007)

Murder Party 2007
by Michael Pickle, MoreHorror.com

As MoreHorror stretches its tentacles to touch more and more people; I decided to start a column to call attention to the little Horror oddities that many of you may not have heard of. With this column I hope to provide a service both to the horror fans who are hungry for something new and different that they may not have heard of as well as to the passionate and creative filmmakers whose brilliant work goes criminally unnoticed.

This column will come sporadically and I'll try to go easy on the detail and praise. It's extremely easy to fill an entire article with praises of these films, but it's best to watch them with a fresh perspective and let you judge for yourself. So, horror junkies. Lend me your eyes as I attempt to turn you on to one of my favorite little gems. The indie horror comedy MURDER PARTY.

After a creepy little Halloween-tinged opening sequence, "MURDER PARTY" focuses on the lonely but lovable loser Christopher Hawley (Chris Sharp). We get a glimpse of Christopher's doleful existence as he fights with his cat for a seat in front of the T.V. so he can sit alone and watch cheesy VHS horror films on Halloween. Luckily (or unluckily) Chris finds a party invitation blowing down the sidewalk outside his apartment. It's an invitation to a Murder Party. In an unexpected change of plans, Chris makes a homemade Knight costume with cardboard and duct tape and heads out walking to what he's sure will be the perfect answer to another Halloween alone.

Little does Chris know that the invitation to the Murder Party was all too literal. The party turns out to be a group of deranged and pretentious art students waiting in a warehouse who plan to make art by killing the person dumb enough to show up at the party. The artists, each with their own brand of wackiness and cool costume, tie Chris up to a chair as they decide how to kill him. They decide to wait for the slightly older art school graduate Alexander (Alex Barnett) who has been promising a hefty sum of grant money to the artist that impresses him the most.

Alexander finally shows up with his Russian drug dealer and a supply of Sodium Pentothal (truth-serum). What ensues is a clever and hilarious glimpse into what makes each divergent and absorbing character tick as well as a copious amount of drugs, sex, and bumbling madness as Chris tries to take advantage of the group's own dysfunction and hilariously bad decisions as a means of escape.

Murder Party has everything I love about indie horror. Hilarious and interesting characters, wonderful and natural acting, great gore and make-up effects (despite having no budget) and an original story that plays out with wild abandon. The film is written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier and is a labor of love from a group of filmmakers who call themselves The Lab of Madness. Many of whom double as actor and crew. Paul Goldblatt, for example, not only plays the passionately confused, but intelligent Paul, he also does the amazing and spot on make-up work as you will see by the brilliant and riveting behind the scenes featurette on the DVD.

Every actor is quite good in their own right, but Macon Blair will have you rolling with his portrayal of the wild-eyed, loose cannon drunk, Macon. Also not to be missed is Bill (William Lacey) who brings a hefty chunk of the horror as an eerily quiet, brooding artist and ticking time bomb. I'm not promising that you will absolutely love MURDER PARTY as much as I did, but if the story interests you then you are likely to get a kick out of this charming and thrilling little horror ride.

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