Q&A: Aaron Mento, Charles Chudabala, And Hunter Johnson Talk 'Ugly Sweater Party'

It's that time of year! The holidays are coming around, the egg nog is pouring, and with that we get some great seasonal horror. Ugly Sweater Party is starting to make the rounds and we were lucky enough to ask a few questions to Writer/Director Aaron Mento, Star/Producer Charles Chudabala, and Producer Hunter Johnson regarding their efforts, vision, and what they would put on their own ugly sweaters.

This was a well done movie for a smaller budget film, but if you could choose one aspect of the film to have an unlimited budget for, what you have moved it towards?

Aaron Mento: I actually like the movie the way it is, but I wish we could make a three hour version to explore all of the subplots in crazy obsessive detail. It would be like our own cracked out version of Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia.” There are so many crazy ideas that I still want to explore with these characters, but I’m planning to use them for a sequel…

Charles Chudabala: Locations, locations, locations. Everything from medieval castles, to intergalactic space stations. Ugly Sweater Party is the kind of epic endeavor that could exist in a wide universe with no limitations!

Hunter Johnson: If we had an unlimited budget, we probably would have used it to offer my role to Elijah Wood! Honestly, I love low budget horror movies so I wouldn’t change a thing with Ugly Sweater Party. This is an indie flick that tells a pretty epic story, and our team did an incredible job making this flick look a helluva lot bigger than it actually was.

This movie had several unexpected turns in the storyline. Do you have a favorite one that pushed it to the plot you were wanting? Were there any aspects that you think really made the film?

Aaron Mento: The whole movie was patterned after an ugly sweater, with all of these clashing elements forced together. I love how the plot stops, does a U-turn, and then introduces a groundskeeper haunted by a demonic metal band. This is a rich universe filled with characters and plots interesting enough for their own movies, but we’re forcing all of them to coexist together. It’s like every character is battling it out for screen time, trying to claim the narrative as their own, but that tension is what makes the movie so exciting to me.

Charles Chudabala: From the moment Cliff puts on the ugly sweater, we know that there is going to be an evolution to the end. I was satisfied to see some huge aspects of the “sweater lore” come to a crescendo by the third act of the film. There is definitely more story and mythology to explore there.

Hunter Johnson: I remember early on reading the original script and just thinking that it was the most insane thing ever. The story just kept twisting and turning and getting bigger and bigger. I think my favorite twist is when an old camper returns to the party with sinister intentions. That or when the sweater takes it’s final form…

There is a mixture of computer and practical effects. Which one was your favorite?

Aaron Mento: I love the mixture of both, it’s all part of the ugly sweater tapestry.

Charles Chudabala: Hands down, the laser ray.. It brought the movie to another level. The story takes a turn when this gets put into play and it energizes the film in unspeakable ways.

Hunter Johnson: Our FX team did such a great job on this film, I think they really knocked it out of the park. I’m a fan of both practical and computer FX and I feel like Ugly Sweater Party blends the two really well. There’s definitely some fun gags and some cool visuals you may not expect in a flick like this.

With so many different aspects to the storyline, were there any inspirations that shined through?

Aaron Mento: I was definitely inspired by Canadian slashers, the ones that defy all formula expectations to focus on character and weird subplots. The amazing “Killer Party” was one of those influences.

Charles Chudabala: In high school, I was cast in Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple.” Ugly Sweater Party has many themes, at its core, it’s about the friendship between Cliff and Jody. I definitely channeled my inner Felix Unger, in my portrayal of Cliff.

Hunter Johnson: While filming the movie, we had two weeks in the woods with only a DVD player and a ton of old horror movies that Aaron Mento brought, so throughout the shoot we would be watching these totally far out metal horror movies that really inspired the mood. I think we watched “Killer Workout” about 20 times as a group.

The ugly sweater party has become a growing trend. What would you put on your sweater?

Aaron Mento: Probably a sweater covered with chihuahuas. I love chihuahuas.

Charles Chudabala: I am kind of obsessed with the hero sweater of the film. Glowing pentagram all the way! And tons of puffy paint.

Hunter Johnson: An ugly man sweating.

CryptTeaze would like to thank Aaron, Charles and Hunter for taking the time to answer some questions! Ugly Sweater Party (read our review) is now available on Amazon Instant Video.


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