Hosting a “Party”: An Interview with Writer/Director Chris Von Hoffmann

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In 2016, World Film Geek had the pleasure of talking with indie horror filmmaker Chris Von Hoffmann, who helmed the underrated post-apocalyptic thriller Drifter. Well, it is exciting to see him return as he unleashes his new horror film Monster Party, coming to theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on November 2 from RLJE Films.

World Film Geek had the chance to talk to Von Hoffmann about his latest feature film.

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Chris, it is great to talk to you again. I have to tell you, I saw Monster Party and I have to say you definitely outdid yourself. I already loved Drifter, but this one truly is a step up.
Thank you! I appreciate that! That was the goal!

What inspired you to come up with the idea for this film?
From the beginning, I wanted to do a film about the world that we live in today. I wanted to do a genre film but bring this subtext of what society is all about today. I hope anyone who sees it will connect with what’s going on today.

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(L-R): Kian Lawley, Julian McMahon, Lance Reddick, and Robin Tunney in Monster Party (RLJE Films)

With Drifter, you had a cast of virtual newcomers. With Monster Party, you upped the ante and got quite a cast of both veterans and relative newcomers from Julian McMahon and Lance Reddick to Sam Strike, who surprised me in the recent Leatherface, and Kian Lawley, who just showcased his versatility playing the unhinged Elliot. What was it working with this more established cast?
It was great! I mean yeah as you said with Drifter, I used newcomers, but this was a big movie for me. Perhaps my first major film and so to work with these actors, I mean it was such an honor. What’s great is they knew what I wanted and they went head on. We didn’t much time to shoot so they knew what to expect and they just went in and I think they did a fantastic job on the film.

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Virginia Gardner, Erin Moriarty, and Sam Strike in Monster Party (RLJE Films)

I noticed something with this and Drifter and that is you have the sympathetic female character, who should be an antagonist based on association, but they have a soft spot. Here, it is Alexis, Erin Moriarty’s character. It reminds me of the character of Ruby from The Hills Have Eyes. Is the classic Wes Craven film one of your favorite horror films?
The original? Actually it was the remake [made in 2006 by Alexandre Aja] that I enjoyed. Not that I didn’t like the Wes Craven original. I mean that is by all means a classic, but it was a little too tame for me. The remake was what did it for me. I like films like My Bloody Valentine, those slasher films that have that glossy feel with the use of blood and gore. That’s what I prefer.

What I like about horror films is the use of practical effects as opposed to shoddy CGI, which tends to ruin a movie rather than make it well worth a watch. Monster Party clearly relied more on the practical side of things, even with a bit over the top gore. Did you rely on any form of CGI in the film in terms of the special effects or was it all practical?
We used all practical for the most part. We only used CGI for maybe one or two blood shots, but I also like using as much practical effects as possible. I’ve always been an old school type of person when it comes to these films. It’s cheaper than spending money on digital effects and does make the movie look more believable when they are used. So yeah, it was just about all practical effects used on the film.

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Sam Strike in Monster Party (RLJE Films)

Were there any difficulties that you had to face during production?
Aside from the 17-day shoot, I was used to have a 12-13 person crew on films and here it is, a bigger scale production. So we’re talking having a 45-person crew. But thankfully, there weren’t really any problems. We just had to make sure we were accurate in what we were shooting. We didn’t have as much time doing single scene and rehearse. We just had to shoot everything, but these guys were great and we were able to get it all done. It just became organic to bring it all to life and we were able to get the film complete in time.

Finally, do you have new projects in the works or any more “dream projects” that you plan to develop?
I do have a couple of projects in the works and I’m always coming with new ideas to bring to life. I have so many ideas that I would like to get made someday, but we’ll see how things go.

Monster Party comes to theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on November 2. This is one dinner party that you will find intriguing and yet scary at the same time. This is truly one indie horror film worth checking out, just proving that indie horror is reigning supreme this year. Chris, thank you again for talking about the film and hope to see more of your work soon!
Thank you so much and I hope everyone gets to see the film!

A special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR and Chris Von Hoffmann for making this interview possible. For more on Chris, you can follow him on Twitter

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