A seemingly innocent meme harbors malicious intentions at a college campus in the new horror movie Halloween Party. With the autumnal movie now on VOD and in select theaters from Red Hound Films, we caught up with writer/director Jay Dahl in a new Q&A feature to discuss his latest film's eclectic influences, which range from Scream to Gilmore Girls.

Thanks for taking the time to catch up with us, Jay, and congratulations on your new movie Halloween Party! How and when did you first come up with the idea for this film?

Jay Dahl: Thanks for having me—love Daily Dead! The film before this was a weird, dark, apocalyptic horror (There Are Monsters), and so I really wanted to switch gears and do something more fun, something reminiscent of those great, scary, dumb date movies of the 1990s. Halloween Party is that: a loose homage to those classic ’80s/’90s college horrors—Ring, Scream, Trick ’r Treat—that kind of thing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the screenplay, and how many drafts did you go through before it was time to film?

Jay Dahl: Pretty quick for me, I think—probably six months or so, full-time? And maybe a million drafts? Maybe a million and a half? Lots. It’s talky.

Were you influenced or inspired by any other movies set during the Halloween season while making Halloween Party?

Jay Dahl: This is definitely an homage film—pretty much every horror I saw in junior high and high school is in this movie somewhere, including some really obvious ones. There’s a little bit of Trick ’r Treat in here, maybe Jack-O, I saw Ring in Asia around Halloween and thought it was amazing; there’s a little Scream and Scary Movie I guess as well.  The holiday of Halloween is just stupid, fuck-off FUN, and so it’s all about trying to capture that.

Also—weirdly—I wanted to do something really talky—really Aaron Sorkin-y. Or like, a scary Gilmore Girls. I just hadn’t seen that before.

Looking back at your time on set, is there a favorite or memorable moment that stands out?

Jay Dahl: All of it! I mean, making movies with your friends—what more can any of us want!? Hashtag blessed. Yeah, I said it.

What has it been like to partner with Red Hound Films to release Halloween Party?

Jay Dahl: Hands down the best partners I’ve had on a movie release so far—very nice people—smart, honest, hard-working. Thanks, Red Hound—a big recommend from me.

With Halloween Party now in select theaters and on VOD, what other projects do you have coming up that you’re excited about, and where can our readers follow your work online?

Jay Dahl: Pretty much all I did this summer was try to stay alive, so nothing in stone yet. There’s some stupid exciting things brewing I guess, but I never like to jinx them. Best place for info is probably Instagram @thejaydahl.

  • Derek Anderson
    About the Author - Derek Anderson

    Raised on a steady diet of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Derek has been fascinated with fear since he first saw ForeverWare being used on an episode of Eerie, Indiana.

    When he’s not writing about horror as the Senior News Reporter for Daily Dead, Derek can be found daydreaming about the Santa Carla Boardwalk from The Lost Boys or reading Stephen King and Brian Keene novels.