It's My Party And I'll Die If I Want To is a low budget horror flick looking for a distributor, though you can still buy the film directly from the producers at Scotchworthy Productions. This $15,000 flick is so far below the radar right now it doesn't have an entry on IMDB, and for some reason an IMDB search for the title yields a completely unrelated porn movie which is both hilarious and not safe for work. Director Tony Wash met his crew while attending Tom Savini's Special FX School, though the film did not shoot until after he had graduated, so Wash insists this is not a student film. Indeed it isn't, because despite the rough-around-the-edges look (the body double in the shower scene, for example, has freckles that don't match up with our leading lady) that would be impossible to avoid on such a miniscule budget, this is one of the most ambitious and downright fun gorefests I've seen in awhile. If this one doesn't find a distributor soon it will be a travesty.
Sara is one bummed out teenager. It's her birthday and none of her friends have remembered, or so she thinks. After going to great lengths to pretend they've forgotten (kind of mean if you ask me), Sara's friends are planning an elaborate costume party, since the date coincides with Halloween. Travis, the jokester of the bunch, has arranged to have the party at Burkitt Manor (presumably named for Burkittsville from The Blair Witch Project). His Dad is the realtor handling the property, and Travis arranges for his Uncle (actor, director and FX artist Tom Savini in a fun cameo) to turn on the power. Burkitt Manor was the site of a grisly murder in the early 20th century, when the house's original owner slaughtered and mutilated his own family.
The presence of the young folk in the house apparently reactivates Burkitt's evil, and when Travis cuts himself on a magically appearing nail he becomes infected with the original owners spirit. Since Travis is so prone to practical jokes no one takes his sudden turn to the dark side seriously at first, despite the fact that the evil influence gives him a serious case of the uglies.
Sara's mother has let her in on the secret plans for the party, and our young heroine arrives dressed as Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (and I have to wonder if this use of a trademarked character might have something to do with the film having trouble finding a distributor). Fortunately, Sara is an experienced martial artist, and even more fortunately one of her birthday presents is a samurai sword which she puts to good use. The blood really flies in this one, and there's one particular example of arterial spray that is downright breathtaking. I don't want to give too much more away, but there were genuinely scary scenes here, and coming from a jaded horror junkie like me that's saying something. Storywise, there's nothing groundbreaking here. The film openly embraces influences from the likes of The Evil Dead, Demons, and Creepshow -- the latter film being represented by comic book style credits and inter-titles -- but it does so with skill and never resorts to swiping.
Wash also sent a review copy of a Choose Your Own Adventure version of the film. As the film unspools the viewer is given the opportunity to decide where the story goes, and it takes the characters in directions completely different from the feature. The number of divergent paths seems a bit limited, but it's a neat idea that might make an interesting extra feature when they finally get DVD distribution.