Your new movie Ugly
Sweater Party - in a few words, what is it about?
Itís about these two friends who go to an ugly sweater party, but one of
them is wearing an ugly sweater possessed by the ghost of a serial killer.
Things get bloody...
What were your inspirations for writing Ugly
Sweater Party - and was any of the movie based on real life camp
experiences (not the murders I hope)?
So many things
influenced the story and style of Ugly
Sweater Party. John Waters, John
Landis, Canadian slashers, and The Prisoner TV show are just a few! Not
based on any camp experiences, but I did try to capture the feeling of
being stuck at a weird party and not liking the vibe, just non-stop
awkward exchanges. Until the shit hits the fan.
Do talk about Ugly
Sweater Party brand of humour for a bit!
I have a
very dark sense of humor, so that is definitely infused into Ugly
Sweater Party. Some of my favorite comedies are Vampireís
Kiss, Serial Mom, and Coldblooded. Sudden explosions of
graphic violence or unexpected discomfort are my catnip.
Sweater Party has its fair share of gory bits - so what can you
tell us about those, and how were they achieved?
the gore was achieved through practical FX by Richard Calderon, and he had
so many amazing tricks up his sleeve. I donít want to spoil the
illusion, so I wonít go into too much detail, but we used CG to erase
about your movie's approach to horror!
The horror in Ugly
Sweater Party is very tongue-in-cheek. However,
this isnít a spoof or anything, very brutal things happen to the
characters. If you have a sick sense of humor, youíll be laughing, if
not, then youíll be disturbed...
Sweater Party being mostly an outdoors movie, do talk about your
locations, how did you find them, and what was it like filming there?
had a connection to a standing camp location in Idyllwild, CA, so I wrote
the entire script specifically for that location. It was a beautiful place
with real cabins, but it was at 6,000 feet elevation, so you got winded
easily. I lost a lot of weight on this shoot!
can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at
I wrote the movie, so I was very open to allowing inspiration
to strike, and I could experiment and change things on the fly. At the
same time, the shoot was very precisely organized, and we only had actors
for a short window of time. The movie looks really loose and spontaneous,
but everything was orchestrated by a very dedicated crew. I wanted to give
the cast time to try things, to take risks, and with a lot of preparation
we could make that happen.
Do talk about Ugly
Sweater Party's key cast, and why exactly these people?
My approach to writing Ugly
Sweater Party was very unorthodox. I would meet actors on
the indie horror circuit, and then I would write the script with only them in
mind. So they agreed to the role before the script was even written, and I
would shape the story as new characters were added to the ďpartyĒ. These
actors all inspired me, thatís why they are all in the movie!
A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
The atmosphere was super friendly, because most of the actors knew each other
and were friends in real life!
Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Ugly
The reception has been very
enthusiastic, and Iím so glad that people are having fun watching the
movie! People are getting it and sharing it with friends, family, and
other horror fans. Iím especially happy that the performances are
getting great notices, because the cast did an amazing job.
Any future projects you'd like to
Felissa Rose [Felissa Rose
interview - click here] and I are collaborating on my new feature Survival
an 80s inspired slasher, and she is playing the evil teacher villain!
Felissa puts captured students through a curriculum of death and
What got you into filmmaking in the first place,
and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
first movie I remember watching is A
Nightmare on Elm Street, so I want to thank my parents for
introducing me to horror at a young age. Itís my favorite movie and it
inspired me to be a horror filmmaker. For training, I have an MFA in film
production from Loyola Marymount University.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Ugly
My first feature was Standards of
Living, a dark sci-fi comedy that is the first feature shot entirely on an
iPad 2. Next, I directed and co-created Choose Their Kill, a choose your
own adventure slasher series, for Eli Roth and CryptTV. Dark comedy flowed
through each project.
How would you describe yourself
as a director?
I like to write my own material, so I can
change it with the actor, and we can fully collaborate to find the best
performance. Iím most interested in full moments, nothing wasted, and
being intuitive so we can work without a net. I prepare for everything,
but Iím never too precious.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Lynch, John Waters, John Landis, Sam Raimi, Paul Verhoeven, etc.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
A Nightmare on
Elm Street, Purple Rain, Eyes Wide Shut, Lost
Highway, Total Recall, Joe Vs The Volcano, Double
... and of course, films you really
I try to find something to like in everything I
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @aaronmento
Sweater Party is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/UglySweaterPartyMovie/
You can rent/buy Ugly
Sweater Party streaming at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B07JMPHFVV
Thanks for the interview!