Movies From the Black Lagoon: Murder Party

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Murder Party - 2007, Unrated
By Tom Doty
Weekly Contributing Writer

A lonely doofus winds up as the guest of honor at the titular affair in this spirited low budgeter that deserves to be your annual Halloween movie.
The film begins with an effective montage that examines the decorations, mood, and citizenry of a Brooklyn neighborhood as Halloween descends. The camera eventually settles on Chris. He lives alone and is all set to enjoy a night of horror on VHS with his cat (who hogs the comfy chair). Chris impulsively decides to attend a party though he found the invitation on the street. He puts together a quick costume using cardboard to fashion Knight's Armor. He also takes time to bake a loaf of Pumpkin Bread and is soon charging into the subway for a date with a down bound train.
The party appears to take place in the warehouse district by the East River. They manage to make this location look very remote for a city that has 8 Million Stories. When he arrives at the proper warehouse he stumbles upon a quintet of costumed folks who appear quite surprised to see him. They get over their shock and soon welcome him with open arms as well as a very large ax. He awakens to find himself in for a very long night.
Turns out these folks are artists. They are also self-involved toadies who trip over each other while sucking up to an arrogant snot merchant named Alexander. He is apparently in charge of $300,000 in grant money and these folks are desperate for that cash. They are so enamored of this guy's wallet that they plan to sacrifice their guest at midnight so they can capture the moment using their various, and somewhat dubious, talents.
First though they let Alex's dope pusher buddy shoot them up with truth serum for the ultimate party game. Pretty soon they are all confessing to their innermost fears but they are so stoned from the drug that no one is bothering to catalogue their insecurities. It is a signature moment that sets up each character for what fate has in store for them and it isn't pretty.
Jealousy and anxiety make for a bad cocktail with the sodium pentothal and they are soon wiping each other out in grisly fashion. The resulting carnage allows Chris an opportunity for escape but the self absorbed Greenwich Village artist in the community pay him no mind as he stumbles along telling his tail and asking passersby to call 911. Pretty soon he finds himself crouching for cover in a live exhibit while the last two party members seek him out with chainsaws and axes.
This gets off to a quirky start but the gore soaked finale should win over horror fans. The middle of the film turns out to be a spot on send up of the artistic community in the Big Apple. Sure the area has produced some enormous talent but that doesn't mean that your average waiter or waitress is the next Andy Warhol.
This is that rare film that has extras worth watching. When you check them out you are treated to the history of the folks who made this and its very entertaining. Turns out these guys have been making gore epics since high school. They may have started out as special effects geeks but their talents matured and they craft a professional film that gets by on character driven humor and oodles of the red stuff. It is a tight mix of comedy and horror. My favorite moment involved a stoner setting fire to his face when he lights up a reefer before removing his werewolf mask. I guess that's why they call it dope.
Best Line: "I did not sign up for "second degree assault party."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: dotyfox@myactv.net.