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An Interview with Charles Chudabala, Star and Producer of Ugly Sweater Party

by Mike Haberfelner

December 2018

Films starring Charles Chudabala on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Ugly Sweater Party - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?


Ugly Sweater Party is about 2 characters (Cliff and Jody) who find a sweater along the way to an ugly sweater party. Except, the sweater happens to be possessed by a serial killer. All hell breaks loose on Christmas eve.

I play Cliff, the high strung, anal and anxious counterpart to Jody. He develops an “attachment” the evil sweater.


What did you draw upoon to bring your character to life, and how much Charles Chudabala can we actually find in Cliff?


One of my first acting roles was on the stage show Odd Couple. I drew a lot of my inspiration from Felix Unger (the neat freak), and Mark Linn Baker’s character from the 80s sitcom Perfect Strangers. Surprisingly, there is a lot of myself in the Cliff character. I love when things go right, and become a bit anxious when I my plans don’t unfold exactly the way I want them to. On the other hand, I have learned to go with the flow in life and I am way less repressed than Cliff. I don’t really care what people think of me as much. When we first meet Cliff, you can tell that public persona means everything to him.


Do talk about Ugly Sweater Party's brand of comedy, and to what extent does it correspond with your own sense of humour?


I would describe it as bathroom humor and raunchy at times. It is also playful and quite tongue in cheek. I loved the opportunity to be able play in this world and say or do things that I wouldn’t normally do in my personal life. Ugly Sweater Party was a cathartic experience (chuckle).


How did you become involved with the project, and how did you end up on the production side of things as well?


Director Aaron Mento [Aaron Mento interview - click here] cast me for a small part in his series called Choose Their Kill and asked me if I would be interested in meeting about his new project. Once he told me about it, I was sold. I offered my connections and resources within the indie horror world and we organically decided that I should be a producer from conception.


What were the challenges of making Ugly Sweater Party from a producer's side of view?


Filming in the mountains (Idylwild, CA) at high altitudes where the roads are rocky and there’s exposure to extreme temperatures was a challenge that none of us could completely prepare for. It was extremely cold and also difficult to get vehicles to the location. Cell phone service was spotty. I will never forget the final day of filming. The temperature warmed up so fast that the mosquitoes and bees hatched and came after us. Lots of stories, but the most fun ever.


What can you tell us about your director Aaron Mento [Aaron Mento interview - click here], and what was your collaboration with him like?


Aaron Mento is an excellent director. He knows exactly what he wants and he’s very organized. This also leads to having time for collaboration. There were days where we actually wrapped early because he had prepared us so well.


A few words about the shoot and on-set atmosphere?


We got to make a movie and go to summer camp at the same time. What else is there?


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Yes! Next you can see me in 2 horror films The Crossing (directed by Thomas Haley) and Lilith (directed by Alex T. Hwang) which will both playing at the Culver City Film Festival on December 8th, 2018.

Lilith, a horror anthology which also stars Felissa Rose [Felissa Rose interview - click here] will be released on Christmas Day direct to Amazon Prime and other VOD platforms.

I'm also directing my first horror short called Nightshade which stars Jennifer Nangle (Lilith, Malvolia: The Queen of Screams, Ugly Sweater Party) [Jennifer Nangle interview - click here].

2019, will also see the release of a few other horror features I star in: Serena Waits, Irrational Fear, BEARRY and For Jennifer.

Aaron Mento [Aaron Mento interview - click here] has cast me in his next project. It's gonna blow people’s minds. That’s pretty much all I can say for now.


What got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I took drama in high school and loved theatre and film acting ever since. My dream was to be an actor who does horror movies. I’m living my dream.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Ugly Sweater Party?


It was my first year jumping into the industry full time. I played a lot of roles in slashers but also some diverse experimental screenplays. I was still learning to navigate auditioning, saying yes to every single opportunity, and learning who I was as an actor. Ugly Sweater Party gave me the opportunity to have dimensions and a story arc.


How would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?


I had a career in psychology prior to making the leap. Observing human behavior and responding accordingly to “outside stimulus” is like second nature to me. This gave me an entire bag of tools to use in my craft. My current focus is character breakdowns and diagramming the character's life, motives, desires and triggers. Increasing reactions before the “reactions” I’m no longer afraid to let go, and move towards a deeper place.


Actors (and indeed actresses) who inspire you?


Lucille Ball, James Dean, The entire cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Your favourite movies?


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The House of the Devil, Misery, Suspiria, Black Christmas, Kingsman, Pans’s Labrynth, Rosemary’s Baby, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Return To Oz.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


There’s something to be said about films I originally dislike… I end up appreciating them in some way (chuckle). With that said… The Witch has really grown on me.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


Instagram: Charles Chudabala

Facebook: Charles Chudabala

Twitter: @CChudabala

Facebook: @UglySweaterPartyMovie

Twitter: @UglySweaterPartyFilm


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD