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Seventy years ago, Jacob Burkitt murdered and dismembered his entire family and cast a dark shadow over the small town of Monessen, Pennsylvania. Now Sara's friends have decided to make her 18th birthday a night to remember by throwing her a surprise party in the reputedly haunted Burkitt Manor. As her friends set up the party, the evil within the house awakens and begins killing off her friends one by one. Does Sara have what it takes to save her friends from almost certain death or will she too become victim to the horrors of Burkitt Manor? Written by
Very Enjoyable and Talent-Laden Film For The Budget
It's Sara's 18th birthday and she thinks that everyone has forgotten about her. But they haven't -- they've been busy planning a surprise party at the city's local haunted house, the Burkitt Manor. But there may not be much celebrating from the horror-loving, karate-chopping Sara (Adrienne Fischer) when she shows up to find her friends being slaughtered by some hideously deformed creature.
Let's establish what "It's My Party" is and what it isn't. It's certainly a unique endeavor, with a feature that allows the viewer a choose-your-own-adventure option (although you may also watch the film in a standard way). There's a blend of comic book style narrative and independent film, and there's probably the best visual and makeup effects you'll ever see in an independent film.
A smashed face, torn out throat, slime-covered beast, blood spraying anywhere and everywhere. Credit must be given to the three effects masters behind the gore: Christopher Patrick, Todd Malnar and Steve Winsett II. Without their efforts this film would probably have fallen into the pile of "old hat" and "cliche" films. With all due respect to director Tony Wash (who is a gentleman and scholar), as good as the directing and writing in this film is -- and despite the shallow plot they are -- it's the effects that sell it. Having Tom Savini, an effects god to say the least, to cameo as an electrician ("Uncle Tom") is very appropriate, since the creations here rival some of his work -- the shotgun scene from "Maniac" comes to mind. (The Scotchworthy crew, at least some of them, attended Tom Savini's Special FX School in Monessen, Pennsylvania.)
"Party" also showcases some decent acting. While few of the girls stand out, particularly since the characters have little depth, the actor playing Travis (Oliver Lucach) is very likable and the man in the creature suit has a very natural ability at making his body movement unnatural. The girls seem to be here for appearance more than anything else, and while there is some nudity -- including an extremely gratuitous shower scene -- sadly the hottest chick in this film will not be baring her flesh. At least not in that way.
I'm torn on the video quality. The picture is fuzzy and the colors are a bit off. And while this makes it clear this isn't a big budget project, there's something about this approach I don't mind. It obscures the way a video camera makes the real seem fake (the "home movie" feel), and in many ways this conjures up the era of VHS, when grainy picture was part of the charm. Like it or hate it, you'll have to give credit to the sound people. Very nice eery surround sound effects, and the original music fits well. Oh, and of course the nice use of Beethoven's fifth symphony... classic and classy!
Beyond being a good film and a great how-to in makeup, "Party" is also a spectacular display of advertising. I've run into Tony Wash or his posse three times in 2008, and he makes a good sell. First, I came across the Scotchworthy girls in Indianapolis... and, as a man who loves Scotch, I know for a fact these girls were worthy. Then in Milwaukee I conversed with Wash himself. And finally in Chicago I met Wash again, giving a makeup treatment to a young lady, and I had to buy the film. It was a wise purchase, and I'm glad the film's exposure was so carefully saturated.
I look forward to any future projects from Tony or his special effect gurus. I have a high respect for classic makeup and effects techniques and shun computer effects for the most part, so these do-it-yourself methods really catch my attention. Christopher Patrick did all FX design/creation on the current Fearmakers Studios' film "Dismal", and as of this writing (early September 2008) you can vote for Scotchworthy's newest short film, "Hopscotch" at Chiller TV's website for their Dare to Direct 2 contest. Tony, when I run into you again, I will commend you in person and treat you to a Scotch, sir.
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