Follow me on Twitter: @You_Total_Cult.
In the short term, the YTC podcast can currently be found at http://www.chrisandphilpresent.co.uk/blogs/youtotalcult/
The blog below was under an older name of Hollyweird. I have kept the numbering the same so that I could keep track of my posts, but this is where it all begin back in the heyday of 2012…
Hello. To those of you paying attention at the back, you will know that I have used up all of the Star Wars puns that I could for the titles. Given the giant back catalogue, I did consider starting 007-related titles (starting with ‘The Man With The Golden Pun’, naturally), but then I remembered that I’d sworn never to think of Die Another Day again. So instead I’ve opted for something unfounded and shocking. I’ve decided that from now on I’ll be… wait for it… be relating the title to each specific blog. Outlandish I know, but that’s how I roll.
So let me now invite you all to a Murder Party….
Of course you would be best not accepting the invite. It is exactly what that character of Chris does in this film, and things go from bad to worse pretty darn quickly for him.
Chris is one lonely dude. He is a bored office worker. He lives alone and it is Halloween. Chris’ plans amount to sitting in his flat with his cat and putting on a werewolf film. Frankly, if I had a cat I’d be worried someone had been secretly filming my life.
Before he settles in for a lupine-evening, Chris has the (mis)fortune on finding an invitation in the street- an invitation to a murder party. He figures what the hell, bakes some cookies, makes a cardboard outfit and heads on down. But he Murder Party is in fact a gathering of murderous art students. They are all seeking the patronage of rich weirdo who wants to pick the most ‘creative’ way to kill a stranger. Luckily for the students none of them think anyone from the public would be stupid enough to turn up to an event called a ‘murder party’ from invites spread out in the breeze…. Well, here enters Chris….
I’m not going to say any more about what happens. This is incredibly low budget so the majority of the action takes place with a small cast in a confined space. But the events get madder and madder as drugs, jealousies and infighting emerge. It is horror comedy so I am sure you can all guess that black-comedy tinged murders occur.
Let me be clear; This is not an amazing film, per se. Some of the acting is a bit off, particularly a diet coke version of Ryan Reynolds whom plays the Wealthy Art Patron. The sets are limited (at least until the last 10 minutes) which can make it seem a bit ‘samey’ at times. There is a limited soundtrack when at times it is really needed. BUT what this film does have an abundance of is heart. And let me explain why that is worth celebrating, because it is actually the core of this weeks blog.
Ladies, Gents and Miscellaneous, let me take you all back. There was once a dark time. A less coherent time. An age the likes of which the modern teen could never imagine. An age of no internet. Depending on your age, imagine/remember that!
Watching films was a different experience back in the day. And by the day, I mean my day. And by my day, I mean something approximating 1989- 1999. Upcoming trailers were something to get excited about. There was no way to view them other than in the cinema, or if you were very lucky via programmes like Barry Norman’s TV show (the older crowd will remember his show. It’s now one Claudia Winkleman desecrates with every panda-faced mumble). In today’s world of course trailers can be found and watched easily online. Convenient for sure, but arguably less satisfying as a big build up. Proof of this to me is that I’m now bored rigid by the amount of Prometheus trailers all around me. Whereas once I would have had to have scoured all around to watch them.
Beyond film trailers though, the biggest difference of film watching ‘now vs then’ I believe came down to the focus on Terrestrial TV.
There was no downloading of films to watch later. No tracking down obscure things via looking a cast member up on IMDB. No way to order find beloved films on Amazon. Nope, in fact unless you had Cable, in the days before Freeview the options were- for the most part- whatever was on TV that night or whatever you could find in your local Video Shop.
For me, and I assume others like me, this was actually a golden time for finding really unknown films by chance on late at night, and if one really held your interest you just HAD to stay up and watch it… or maybe record it onto a VHS, but you get the gist. In short; you had no idea if you’d ever find the thing again!
The amount of great, lost films I saw I couldn’t even begin to name. These were usually low budget films that just shone for one reason or another. Some I have no idea what they even were- but others are seriously burned into my brain. Films like Suture, Tremors, Underneath (1995 version), Heaven (1998 version), Delusion (1991 version) and El Mariachi just to name just a few.
Given the modern age of digital media and varied outlets, I figured that the days of stumbling onto random movies late at night were somewhat over.
At least I thought that until I got 1month of free X-box Gold Membership and 1month of free Netflix access. I watched all kinds of things. And then, just as my freebies were due to end the next day, I put on something called Murder Party. BAM! This was once again a film I just had to watch all the way through then and there.
Now, as I mentioned earlier- Murder Party is not an ‘excellent’ film in a critical sense. But I just love the heart of it.
It is a micro-budget film where all the cast and crew swapped roles. They literally scraped the whole thing together. To me this is where it shines- there is a clear chemistry between all of the cast. The film certainly has a brilliantly average (and thus believable) protagonist, played to cowardly perfection. The true psycho of the piece (who I won’t name here) has an incredibly clichéd role but actually is quite menacing once they flip out. Oh, and it also features probably the most accurate portrayal of a cat that I’ve ever seen.
If you’re at all interested on more of the background for Murder Party then check out this link.
All in all, this a zippy 79min film that I’m incredibly glad I took a chance on one bored evening at 1am. So here’s to a film that came out of the blue and just made me smile. I thought those days were gone, but I’m glad to be wrong.
In a truly ironic twist, I then tracked the film down on Amazon the next day and bought it. Hooray for the modern world! (Uh, when it suits me).
And speaking of the modern world, the 2nd podcast from myself and Mr Ennis is now available here.
Next time- “My initials are MJS B.A. and I am…. Wild! Stalyin!” (Singular)
Thanks for reading.