5 Things I Learned About Dinner Parties From Monster Party
Monster Party, A Shudder Exclusive dropping Thursday is a stylish dinner party for a bunch of homicidal dickheads.
Courtesy of Automatik, Dark Web Productions, Defiant Studios
The dark comedy/horror movie from Chris von Hoffman is a surprisingly stylish good time with enough blood, guts(literally), and gore to satisfy even the most hardcore fan while still maintaining an almost slap-stick sensibility. It’s funny, scary, absurd, and gross. It is also fantastically shot and acted.
Three young people down on their luck in need of serious money fast, take a job catering a dinner party in a mansion. Casper(Sam Strike), Iris(Virginia Gardner), and Dodge(Brandon Micheal Hall) all need cash in a hurry. Iris and Dodge have a baby on the way, and poor Casper is desperate to save his father from a bookie with a sadistic idea of what “pound of flesh means”.
The plan is to serve the guests while casing the joint to steal anything not nailed down. The trailer spells most things out so it is not a spoiler to say the party goes to hell and the three thieves must fight for their very lives.
The movie works for a plethora of reasons. The first being pitch-perfect performances by the entire cast. In particular, Lance Reddick(Fringe) who plays Milo slinks through every scene shifting effortlessly between the wise voice of reason for this cult of depravity and fevered nutjob barely holding on to his followers. Julian McMahon(Nip/Tuck) oozes slime and snark as naturally as he breathes. Every line is laden with menace and a smile. He knows his Patrick Dawson is eccentric to the extreme and he loves every minute of it. It is clear McMahon is more than in on the joke.
As over the top as he is, Robin Tunney(The Craft) is understated simplicity which just enhances the manic behavior of those around her. Gardner(Halloween 2018) and Hall(God Friended Me) are likable, and Strike(Nightflyers) is sympathetic. You know full well they are there to rob the place, but they are smart and really need the money, so you want them to survive and get away preferably with a giant bag of money. The remaining guests are all elitist with terrible manners and a heaping dose of psychopathy, save one young woman who obviously wants to be anywhere but at the party.
The director and writer Chris von Hoffman shot the film with interesting color choices including blue saturation and rotating or eschew angles that contribute to the zany feel of the film. There is a fairly serious amount of inventive murdering that occurs, but most of it is off-camera allowing for more squeamish watchers to still enjoy the fun. What Monster Party does best is fully lean into the silliness without losing any of the fear. There is something monstrous about the trio of Elliot Dawson(Kian Lawley), Cameron(Chester Rushing), and Ollie(Diego Boneta). For all the bluster and fervor of Patrick and Milo, these three are really the terrifying ones. Von Hoffman does a good job of playing up their toxic privilege to maximum effect.
This is a great movie with a predictable premise that still manages to deliver a few surprises. To ensure you have a successful party of your own I’ve included some tips and tricks for creating just the right atmosphere for your next dinner party. There are quite a few things that Monster Party can teach us about how to be a good host or hostess. Many a party faux pas can be avoided by employing these tactics to ensure your party guests bring favors and not weapons.
1. Invite the right guests.
Avoid inviting known killers to dinner. You wouldn’t invite alcoholics to a wine tasting, so it’s probably not a great idea to ask monsters to a twelve steps to murder sobriety party. We all have that one person we wish we didn’t invite in the group. I’m not talking about that guy or gal who is a little odd, but the person who insists they know everything, all the time. That guy should not be invited to game night. Gamblers shouldn’t hang together at the casino and killers shouldn’t meet up for a not so civilized supper club.
2. Get the proper help.
Insist that all party guests bring a briefcase of cash that gets forfeited if they break the house rules and then hire every Kung Fu Master security guard in town to keep everyone in line. Big burly dudes in tight black t-shirts and cargo pants are not going to get it done with this crowd. You need peacekeepers who are trained in more than just surveillance and bar bouncing. Martial artists, weapons experts, snipers, hell even a poison aficionado is probably not such a bad idea with this group.
3. Get the right party favors.
If you insist on a dinner party for maniacs, make sure your wait staff is heavily armed and just as deadly to keep things fair. I realize that might make the interview process awkward or that the CareerBuilder questionnaire will raise some red flags, but there is always the Dark Web. I might suggest asking for a Curriculum Vitae that includes both experience and references although it might be tough to find someone to vouch for them.
4. There is always room for booze.
If someone suggests you go alcohol-free politely decline their advice. A little wine goes a long way to controlling an amped-up crowd. In addition, you can hide poison or sedatives in the wine without detection which might come in handy. Just don’t ask me how I know that.
5. Make sure you have plenty of food.
Serve a full turkey dinner. It is really tough to get too mad or chase people through the house when you are stuffed full of dressing, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans. The tryptophan in turkey will induce a nice after dinner nap, and the high carb intake will loosen pant buttons. It might seem a little weird to serve a Thanksgiving style meal in the middle of summer, but at least no one will try to kill each other.
Follow these rules and watch Monster Party Thursday for a heck of a good time that turns deadly on the screen only. Monster Party premiers on Shudder Thursday. Grab up this hot deal for Signal Horizon readers only that gives you a full month for FREE!
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.