Interview with ‘Alien Party Crashers’ Writer/Director Peter Stray

Available on VOD and DVD this month, High Octane Pictures’ ‘Alien Party Crashers’ is the frighteningly fun story of a group of friends at a New Year’s Eve bash in the Welsh Valley, who must fight against an invasion force of time travelling aliens.

We spoke to writer-director Peter Stray about the film.

-PH: How did the film come about, sir?

-Peter: I knew a few years ago if a piano dropped on my head a few years later I wanted to have written and directed a feature film. This is what my crazy brain came up with if I only had one movie in me!

-PH: Tell us about the script – was it inspired by any of today’s events, for example?

-Peter: It was written during the Obama White House years, although many solutions to the special relationship seem to ring even true it now. The film is supposed to be entertainment first and foremost and there are comments about feminism politics and other issues hidden beneath the genre should you choose to look for them… 

-PH: The movie has been likened to both Critters and Hot Fuzz. How accurate is the comparison?

-Peter: I love those comparisons! Both would definitely be in the right ballpark. Early tonal influences include the lost boys, attack the Block, and cabin in the woods as well…

-PH: How did you maintain that frights to funnies ratio?

-Peter: I think in writing the script and then developing it with the cost I was always looking for somewhere else to fit a scam or a joke. The final stage was working with a tremendous editor, Anthony Arkin went we refine that even more, not to mention working with Maren cast on the school which was also crucial. That enhance the skies more than the last. The best laughs are usually when there is no music playing unless the music is the joke such as a ridiculous ringtone which I have in the film.

-PH: And with the scares, do they happen on the day – or are they all written into the script?

-Peter: I think scary moments need to be preplanned often because they involve special-effects and some fight moves-  those would be far too dangerous to create off the cuff. Funny stuff is different, that’s usually verbal improv and was great to develop with the cast.

-PH: How tough is it for not only you as a filmmaker, but for your cast, to shoot death scenes?

-Peter: I can’t speak for the actors but it was a lot of fun! Memorable deaths are some of my favorite scenes in film. The only down side was fielding emails from actors I’d “killed” saying “it’s sci fi so i can come back for the sequel right?… right?” 

-PH: Do you have a favorite death in the movie?

-Peter: I can’t tell you without spoiling it for people! I’d say like the first “Alien” we have a sudden-shock gory death, a creep n stalk death and some fun redshirt deaths too! 

-PH: And the look of the film suggests a colour palette and even similar tone to ‘70s horror classics. Was that intentional?

-Peter: Indeed it was! Our DP Alex Nevill and myself planned this John Carpenter look helped by some old 70s lenses he managed to get. For US scenes, we gravitated more to a Tony Scott / Paul Greengrass look to visually distinguish the worlds. 

-PH: When did you watch your first cut?

-Peter: It seems like a lifetime ago! I watched it and realized it needed more, so we went back a year later to shoot extra cutaways and some new scenes with Game Of Thrones’ Robert Pugh. 

-PH: When did you have your first showing? Did it play in festivals?

-Peter: The premiere was at the  Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square at a great festival called Fright Fest. Because the film is cross-genre, we’ve had a great festival run of both horror and sci-fi film festivals 

-PH: In terms of distribution, how did you end up with High Octane Pictures?

-Peter: They were introduced to us through our sales agents Devilworks. We’re delighted they have taken on the film and seem to get it.

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