Richard Griffin’s Murder University Hits the Big Screen
Friday, August 24, 2012
Murder University pays homage to the slasher genre of the 1980s; can you site any specific films that have influenced your film?
A lot of American slasher films such as The Prowler, Graduation Day, Friday the 13th, Final Exam, He Knows Your Alone, but the visual style in many ways owes a mighty debt to the more European horror films of the 70s and 80s like Inferno, Twitch of the Death Nerve, Pieces, Stage Fright and Tenebrae.
Murder University seems to be a great departure from your last film Exhumed, do you make a conscious effort to mix it up?
Exhumed was such an incredibly emotional film, that when I was done shooting and editing it, I felt like I didn't want to revisit such a dark place for awhile. To make matters worse, I actually edited the film in the house we shot the movie at... so I never could escape it!
So, I started talking with Rhode Island playwright Lenny Schwartz about writing a horror film for me. We both found out we loved early 80s slasher films, so he started crafting the script for Murder University. And I must say, I as rather surprised when he delivered the script to me. I was expecting a rather straight-forward horror film, but what Lenny wrote was not only really gruesome and frightening, but it was also filled with great characters and a truly wondering sense of humor.
Based on the trailer, Murder University looks pretty gruesome, have you ratcheted up the violence compared to your past films?
Well, I wouldn't actually consider Murder University to be a very violent film. Bloody, yes. But I think a movie can be bloody without being overtly violent. It's more of an amusement park thrill-ride of a movie. Now, is it more graphic than Exhumed? Most definitely, but I think in a manner that'll make the awesome gasp in horror, and then have a good laugh afterwards.
Although it pays homage to the ‘80s, how have you updated the traditional slasher genre?
I didn't. I didn't make it ironic like the Scream movies, or comment on the genre in a snobbish manner like Cabin in the Woods did. I wanted the film to feel much like you were watching this in a theater in 1983, but yet... still bring a quality of characterization and humor that might not have been present in those films. I will also say, I think the acting.... especially from the three leads Jamie Dufault, Michael Thurber and Samantha Acampora, is head-and-shoulders above the typical slasher film.
You've covered Hitchcockian themes with Exhumed, the sci-fi genre with Atomic Brain Invasion, and the exploitation genre in Disco Exorcist; what genres and/or film styles are left for you to tackle that you haven't already?
Well, I try to to think about what's left to tackle that way. If I get a script, or if I come up with an idea that excites me enough to spend six months or more of my life making it... then it really doesn't matter what the genre or style is. A good story is a good story.
That being said, I would love to do a horror/sci-fi movie in the future. Something really wonderful like those Roger Corman Alien rip-offs from the early 80s like Galaxy of Terror. I have a treatment for one called Death Planet, but it's all a matter of raising the funds... and sci-fi movies tend to run a bit more expensive than horror.
Lastly, what films are you currently working on?
We have five movies in the hopper right now. The next to shoot is another Lenny Schwartz screenplay titled Normal, and that's a very dark drama. The script is beautiful, and I cannot wait to start work on that one. After that, we have the sequel to The Disco Exorcist titled The Brother of the Disco Exorcist, as well as Frankenstein in a Woman's Prison and two other screenplays that are both currently untitled but are in the supernatural horror genre.
Do you like what you hear? Then check out Murder University on Sunday August 26th at 7 p.m. at Cinemaworld theater in Lincoln, RI. For more details about the movie visit Murder University on Facebook or Scorpio Film Releasing. Tickets are available for purchase online or at the door for $10.
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