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An Interview with Paul Dale, Director of Murdaritaville

by Mike Haberfelner

February 2024

Films directed by Paul Dale on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Murdaritaville - in a few words, what is it about?


Itís about a small orphan boy who learns the true meaning of Christmas. No, in all seriousness itís about a group of friends that start getting killed by a half-man, half parrot.


Murdaritaville has a certain Jimmy Buffet-theme to it - so to the uninitiated like me, could you explain Jimmy Buffett as such, your fascination with the man and his music, and what inspired you to have of all things a horror movie revolving around him and his work?


Jimmy BuffettÖ the man, the myth, the pop of trop rock. He was a singer who really created his own genre of music, a sort of country/rock/tropical hybrid that took on a life of its own. He was a tremendous businessman in addition to being a singer/songwriter. Thereís Margaritaville branded booze, cruise lines, a casino on the Vegas strip, even old folks homes and trailer parks. This sort of ďbeach-lifeĒ lifestyle cropped up around him and his music. The reason I made the film was primarily because Iím a fan and I wanted to combine my two great loves, bad movies and cheesy beach music.


With Murdaritaville being a slasher movie, is this at all a genre dear to you, and some of your genre favourites?


When I was around 10 my dad brought the first Friday the 13th movie home from the local video store and it scared the shit out of me. Between Kevin Bacon getting the throat jab to baby Jason jumping out of the water, it was the most terrified Iíve ever been, before or since. After that I was hooked and I had a steady diet of 80s/90s horror and Mel Brooks/Monty Python, all of which has led me to being the very well adjusted person I am today.


Other sources of inspiration when writing Murdaritaville?


The two things that come to mind are: You Canít Kill Stephen King which is a very similar kind of movie, admittedly that one makes much more sense being a horror film, but itís this weird homage comedy that I think is very underrated. The other one is this American Express ad with Martin Scorsese that I re-watch before I make anything. It's basically him critiquing family photos he took at his nephewís birthday party and it hits much harder than it should -


You've written Murdaritaville together with one of your leads, Dylan McGovern - so what was your collaboration like when writing your movie?


Dylan actually wasnít supposed to act in the film at all, the original actor had to drop out at the very last minute because of a death in the family and so we plugged Dylan in there at the last minute, which explains why heís so badÖ Every film is different, for this one, I wrote a great script that I loved, but it was only 30 pages long, so I reached out to Dylan about punching it up, so he put some meat into it and then we went back and forth till we had a draft that we both didnít hate.


What can you tell us about Murdaritaville's approach to both horror and comedy?


From the comedy side, Iím a big believer in the idea that the best joke wins. There are scripted bits, but usually on set an actor will say a line and then Iíll throw out an alternate joke, or weíll let them improv, Iím very un-precious about it, I just want the funniest thing to win. Having said that, sometimes I will keep jokes that are painfully unfunny because that also makes me laugh. In terms of the horror, I have a thing about birds, they freak me out. For a more douchey answer, comedy and horror function in a similar way in that itís tension rising and then releasing. So the longer you can hold the tension, the greater the release isÖ that sounded much more sexual than I meant it to, letís move on.


A few words about your directorial approach to your story at hand?


Direct drunk, edit sober. I find that it keeps the horrors of the universe at bay.


Do talk about Murdaritaville's key cast, and why exactly these people?


Jenna-Francis Duvic [Jenna-Francis Duvic interview - click here] - met her through a director friend who had worked with her, she was just beautiful, charming and talented.

Heather Campos - Iíve known her for years, she and I did a commercial together and had a great time. Iíve wanted to work with her again, but never had a part that really worked for her, and when this one came up I was able to finally get her into one of these movies.

Austin Naulty - is a very sexual man.

Dylan McGovern - has information on me that I canít have come out as it would ruin my career, so Iím forced to work with him as he blackmails me weekly.

Carter Simoneaux - cost me $6,000 in Key West one time and now works for free in all my films in an effort to pay off that debt.


What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


We shot at a family friendís fishing camp in Southern Mississippi, so youíre out there in this gorgeous location blasting Jimmy Buffett music, drinking beer and making a movie about a birdman. In short, it was hell. The main downside was that we were shooting in July/August, so every day was 38 degrees Celsius or more, which sucksÖ


The $64-question of course, where can Murdaritaville be seen?


You can get Murdaritaville on our website on digital and physical media versions. Itís available right now for pre-order and itíll go onto Amazon on March 1. But if youíre going to get it, just go direct, Jeff Bezos doesnít need another rocket.


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Murdaritaville?


Well my mother hated it, which is always a good sign. The overwhelming majority of people who have actually watched the damned thing seem to like it. Weíve gotten some very upset articles of folks who think the thing is in bad taste given that Jimmy Buffett died so recently. Two things about that: 

1. We were in post on the film when he died. 

2. If you feel that way, go F#@K yourself. In all honesty, I think itís a nice send off to a singer who I loved so much.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I have a movie that I really want to make called When Igor Met Sally: A romantic-horror-comedy, sing-along, drinking-game film. That Iím hoping to make this year. Itís the best thing Iíve ever written, but thatís got a lot of moving pieces.


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


I pissed in the family camcorder when I was 3 and after that my psycho-sexual Fruedian obsession with cinema began. On the weekends as a kid my brother and I would make movies and that never really stopped. Technically, I studied film in college, and in hind-sight I shouldíve been a plumber. Film school is not a place to go if you want to make movies. But it was a great place to hook up with weird artsy chicks, so I got that goin' for me, which is nice.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Murdaritaville?


I made my first feature, while still in college, I figured they werenít going to teach me how to make a film, so Iíd better make one myself. I took my savings and made a movie. Itís a bad film with great actors and some great moments, but I learned a lot. After that, I decided I needed to make films faster, so I made Silent But Deadly, a killer mime horror/comedy. It was less polished, but a lot more fun. From there I tried to branch out and do something different, I made a picture called Fast Food and Cigarettes Again. It was an interesting picture that didnít really work, in spite of some really great people being involved. Then I made Sewer Gators, on which I really figured out how to make a film at this level. Then Killer Kites, the less said about that one the better and then this. Jesus, that was a long answer, Iím sorry Iíll try to go back to being funny again.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


Handsome, well-hung and charming, but your mileage may vary.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


Martin Scorsese is the GOAT. But I think anyone who works outside the Hollywood system and is able to push that Sysyphian boulder up the hill is an inspiration. I donít care how shit the film is, I think a crap movie that exists is more impressive than the greatest movie ever thatís stuck in someoneís head.


Your favourite movies?


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Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

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Your shop for all things Thai

Too many to count, it changes day to day. Iíll just go in terms of horror and comedy. Hereditary, Bride of Frankenstein, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. Comedy: Blazing Saddles, Naked Gun, Life of Brian.


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


I canít stand Terrence Mallick movies. They look beautiful, but I can only handle so much of actors whispering nonsense at curtains.


Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else? or @bythehornstv on Instagram and Twitter, or whatever the hell itís called now.


Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


I once ran from a pack of rabid dogs in Cuba, but thatís a story for another day.


Thanks for the interview!


Thank you!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.


There's No Such Thing as Zombies
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry


directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke


now streaming at


Amazon UK





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