TROY ESCAMILLA Interview, Party Night

Gavin Schmitt Interviews Director Troy Escamilla

More often than not, I am talking to actors and directors after their movies have been made and they are on a promotional tour. On February 29, 2016, something a little bit different happened: I spoke with Fright Meter Awards creator Troy Escamilla about a movie in pre-production, as he is looking to get the word out about his Kickstarter campaign. His proposed project is “Party Night”, (affiliate link) a throwback to 1980s slasher films.

Is this Kickstarter project right for you? See what Troy has to say and decide for yourself.

GS: Can you talk about your association with rising star Kevin Sommerfield and Slasher Studios?

TE: I first came in contact with Kevin through social media, specifically Facebook. He contacted me about three years ago with an interest in serving on the Fright Meter Awards committee. But we didn’t actually meet in person until last year at Texas Frightmare Weekend. We had corresponded back and forth many, many times while he was promoting “Don’t Go To The Reunion” and “Dismembering Christmas”. Lately I’ve been relying on his expertise in trying to get “Party Night” up and running. He has provided feedback and suggestions, which have been helpful because he has worked within the same budget I’m looking at. He was more than willing to hop on board after he read the script, and it’s been great to have him around to bounce ideas off of.

GS: The first thing people will notice is the promo poster art. Who designed that red solo cup image?

TE: Believe it or not, and I don’t mind saying this at all, when I had the idea of “Party Night” in mind, I knew I would need an eye-catching image to get people interested. So I went to a site called Fiverr, where people will do pretty much anything for $5. I was reading through the pages of different graphic designers and found a guy who had done a few images for different genre movies. I gave him the details of what I was looking for, and within a day he came back with that image. I really love that image. I never would have thought of that at all.

GS: Why did you decide to make an 80s slasher? Why not a late-90s slasher?

TE: I grew up in the 80s. One of my first horror experiences involved my parents taking me and my brother to see “Poltergeist” in the movie theater. I was 4 or 5 years old, but the film was PG so I don’t think they knew what they were exposing me to. And the 80s were the VHS era. I’d go to the video store with my mom and dad, and see the sinister horror movie boxes stare back at me. I think because their own parents had allowed them to grow up with horror films in the 50s and 60s, they never really censored what I was allowed to watch. I could pick a movie out, go home and watch it, and had a blast with the slasher films. They have a certain charm about them. They’re very formulaic, but something charming just the same about seeing how each director adds their own little twist to the formula.

I think the thing that makes “Party Night” (affiliate link) different from the other slashers that have come out since “Scream” is that ours does not have the self-referential, comedic undertone. “Scream” made a lot of fun of the slasher convention and they knew the “rules” like no drinking, no sex, and no saying “I’ll be right back”. That’s not to say “Scream” doesn’t have its scary parts, but it still had that comedic undertone. And because of its success, I think the films since then have followed that comedic tone. With “Party Night”, I wanted to go back to the basics: teens in an isolated location getting picked off one by one. Something dark, sinister and not at all funny. We’re not making a self-aware film.

GS: Can you talk a bit about the killer’s costume or mask?

TE: That is something that we’re working on in terms of the exact look. We’ve discussed some ideas, and I definitely want him to be a masked killer as part of that 80s theme. We haven’t settled on one idea, but we’ve been bouncing some ideas about the mask. There’s nothing definite yet.

GS: You’re from Iowa originally and now live in Texas… where does that put the shooting location?

TE: You’re right. I’m from Iowa, but now I live in Houston. We have the location all picked out, ready to go, just outside of Houston. It’s an isolated, huge area… ten acres of land with the main house and structures we need.

GS: So, with so many projects out there, why should we support your Kickstarter?

TE: There are some really great projects on Kickstarter right now. But what I hope people will do is visit our Kickstarter page, read about me and the other people involved, and see that we have a huge passion for the horror genre. I’ve personally been involved with it my entire life, and am the creator of the Fright Meter Awards. That’s an award I came up with to honor the genre because I love and respect it so much. I know there are other horror fans out there, but I feel like I know the genre and know what people want to see. We have a great cast. Come read about us and see our passion for the genre and know that we’re going to do all that we can to deliver a quality product – the best possible product we can deliver. Something that’s bloody but still fun.

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