This week on the B movie docket is Murder Party.
B movies are the glue stuck in between all the other genres, oftentimes refusing to conform to any particular genre presets. Some but not all of the hallmarks of a B movie include scripts that read like they were written by a room full of eighth-graders, poor visual effects, cringe-inducing dialogue, low budget production design, and zany plot contrivances. You’re aware of the hallmarks, right? B-movies often reek of amateur flair. Thought you were about to watch a great white shark hunted in dramatic fashion like only Steven Spielberg can deliver? Nope, this is Sharknado.
Why do we love B movies? I think B movies are comforting. You know what you’re about to watch is bad. If you’re fortunate it may be so bad that it’s good. You’ll often scratch your head trying to work out the plot. Out of the many good films you’ve seen, I bet you can talk with more vigor about the worst ones you’ve seen. They’re unforgettable. There’s something comforting about that I think. Besides they’ve been around just as long as the movie industry.
Believe it or not, chances are there’s a B movie for you. So I compiled a list of 50 B movies you must see before you die. No decade is off-limits. No rating is too taboo. For the next 49 weeks, I will introduce and recommend a B movie for your viewing pleasure. Yes, these are exciting times indeed my fanatical friends.
WEEK 10 – Murder Party
Congratulations, you have made it to week 10. If you have been keeping up, we’ve covered a few B movies thus far. This week I am introducing you to Murder Party. Just like my favorite most effective B movies, this film does a spectacular job divulging what it is about in the title alone. The cast is comprised of unknown actors I have never personally seen before. Amazingly that adds to this film’s surprises. As I had no idea what to expect from any of the on-screen characters. Murder Party takes a straightforward premise and packs it full of surprises. Would you accept an anonymous Halloween invitation? What if you were a lonely parking meter attendant desperate for companionship?
One Halloween night, our intrepid hero dons his homemade Larfin costume and embarks on a quest to attend a Halloween party. Things start out uneventful enough. There is only a moment where a freestyle rapper drops some lyrical wordplay about a funeral to our hero to even hint at things being amiss. Once he arrives at the party. Now that’s when things really get interesting. Our naive hero readily accepted an invitation to a murder party. Just like the title indicates our hero is in for a Murder Party. He just did not expect it to be his own. Here’s the official synopsis:
“A man gets a random invitation to a Halloween party, and when he arrives, he finds he’s the guest of honor at his very own gut-wrenching murder.”
For Art’s Sake
Now here’s where things get remarkably interesting. At least for me. Because where movies would follow this setup with some disturbed plot put on by some demented doll on a bicycle. Murder Party does not. Our big revelation is that these inept art-punk wannabes didn’t even fathom that some poor fool would actually accept an anonymous invitation to a Murder Party on Halloween.
But now that the fates have delivered, they have no alternative other than following through with their plans to commit a murder in the name of art. That is right. They want art grants and the prestige that comes from pulling off some twisted Mariana Abramovich level of performance art on camera. Thankfully their inept Three Stooges-like routine that they put the viewer through truly delivers on the film’s amazing title.
There is a moment in this film when that line is shouted, and I reached a crescendo of geek movie jubilation. The filmmakers have crafted a well-done movie. In fact, there is a point, when I was sure the movie was over, and that the hero had escaped this warehouse of murder. Nope, the murders keep coming. Amazingly it is all for the sake of art. Saying too much would be giving away the best parts of the movie.
When you see the wolfman howl as he revs up Ol’ Painless, you’ll know these filmmakers are true movie fans. Who else would throw a Predator reference in the middle of a climactic murder scene in a B movie? There is a pooch named Hellhound that has a penchant for cocaine and chewing through people’s faces too.
Location, Location, Location
I really dug Murder Party. The filmmakers knew what they had to work with production-wise and maximized on the outcome. I’d say at least 89% of Murder Party takes place in one location. The way filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier manages to make an endlessly inventive movie about loneliness, poor decisions, and our quest for acceptance is quite amazing. There are lots of B movies out there. Murder Party happens to be one where the filmmaker is sort of showboating his mastery of the craft. But that is a good thing, in this case. Because the climactic scenes in this one feel organic, off the cuff, and entertaining but dread inspiring at the same time. You need to see Murder Party before you die.
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