Interview: Writer/Director Chris Von Hoffmann for MONSTER PARTY

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I spoke with Chris Von Hoffmann about his new film MONSTER PARTY and found that he is an intense and dedicated director who cares about giving his audience their money’s worth. His first film Drifter is the story of cannibals in a post apocalyptic desert that was shot in 17 days on a microbudget. MONSTER PARTY is a different animal, shot mostly indoors, but as always creating a film is always a challenge. MONSTER PARTY is a film you’ll want to see and Hoffmann is a director whose career you will want to keep an eye on.

Nightmarish Conjurings: Hi Chris, I just wanted to say that I was very impressed while watching MONSTER PARTY and I really like what you were doing.

Chris Von Hoffmann: Thank you.

Nightmarish Conjurings: I read about Drifter, your first film, and I read that it was a difficult shoot. Was this film easier for you?

CVH: Actually, it wasn’t. In a way it was, but then it also was not. Drifter was difficult because of the heat and the fact that I was doing almost everything while trying to shoot a feature film in 17 days. On MONSTER PARTY, all I did was write the screenplay and direct, so in that way it was easier, but there were other things that weren’t as easy.

Nightmarish Conjurings: Drifter and MONSTER PARTY are two films that you’ve directed within the horror genre. Do you have a love of the genre? Is that how you ended up making these films?

CVH: I definitely love horror films and I remember watching them when I was 16. I love the 80s and 90s eras the best - movies like Scream, slasher movies, and the franchises. But I just don’t want to make only horror films. I want to expand and make dark comedies and thrillers and action pictures, so I don’t want to just make horror films but I do love the genre.

(L-R) Virginia Gardner as Iris, Erin Moriarty as Alexis, and Sam Strike as Casper in the horror/thriller film MONSTER PARTY, an RLJE Films release | Photo courtesy of RLJE Films

(L-R) Virginia Gardner as Iris, Erin Moriarty as Alexis, and Sam Strike as Casper in the horror/thriller film MONSTER PARTY, an RLJE Films release | Photo courtesy of RLJE Films

Nightmarish Conjurings: I noticed from the very beginning that the characters in the film seemed very grounded and real with the actors performances. That both sides seemed sympathetic, well as sympathetic as they can be, and that they were more like real people.

CVH: Yes, it’s important to me that the characters were believable people in this situation. I like to work with actors that can do that. That’s why I cast actors like Julian McMahon who are not really known for doing horror. I like casting actors who are not genre actors, not that there is anything wrong with genre actors, they are great, but I like working with actors who bring a more dramatic bend to the table. I started out studying acting for six years before so it’s something that was always part of what I do. I like working with actors. Of course, you have to deal with the technical aspects of the movie, but the acting is so important.

Nightmarish Conjurings: Your intent shows in the performances. Obviously, the film is very well shot, not that I am that technical, but it looks great and the performances really do ground the film. What were you trying to achieve with the film?

CVH: I was aiming for a film that had elements of films like Waxwork, The Goonies, films similar to Wes Craven, not that I’m comparing myself to him, but films that have resonance. You know films that have more to them. I can watch and enjoy movies where it’s just a bunch of people I don’t like walking around and I can hardly wait for them to start getting killed off, but I wanted something more.

Nightmarish Conjurings: Our time is almost up but I wanted to ask what you want to achieve as a director. I know it’s a big question but if you could try and sum it up what would it be?

CVH: I want to make films that aren’t just what you expect. I think that audiences are used to seeing movies that aren’t good and that when a good movie comes out they go crazy. I want to make films that do that for the audience. I want to make films give them their money’s worth. I don’t want to make avant garde movies, but I think of directors like Wes Craven and John Carpenter when I make films. I want to make out-of-the-box movies like Deadly Blessing. I want to expand and make big budget films. I don’t want to keep doing the same thing.

Nightmarish Conjurings: So you want to challenge the audience and challenge yourself?

CVH: Yeah.

Nightmarish Conjurings: Well, thank you very much for speaking with me. It was a pleasure!

CVH: Thank you!

MONSTER PARTY, starring Julian McMahon, Robin Tunney, Lance Reddick, Sam Strike, Virginia Gardener, and Brandon Michael Hall will be in theaters on November 2.