Matt - How did you get involved with "The April Fool"?
John Beal - Through my agents. I had been pretty involved with TV series (“Eight is Enough,” “Vega$,” “Chicago Story,” etc) and movie trailers for a while and welcomed the opportunity to do another long form project.
Matt - Did you get to interact any with the cast? If so, what do you remember about them?
John Beal - No, unfortunately not. They all seemed like great people and did a great job in their roles.
Matt - What was it like working with William Fruett?
John Beal - I would have loved to have worked with him, but for some reason – probably because he was very busy directing TV series at the time – I worked primarily with producer Michael Lepiner.
Matt - When you composed the scores for the film, did you get an early copy of the film, before it was so brutally cut by MGM? If so, do you remember anything diffrent about the first cut of the film?
John Beal - Well, we always get a copy of the current working edit and, hopefully, get word of the changes as they occur. I know this film had a lot of editing after we completed the score.
Matt - I really enjoyed the music from the movie. The synth sounds really drew out the atmosphere, while in serious parts, some of the cues seemed to fit just perfectly. How long did it take for you to create these scores for the film?
John Beal - Thank you! This was during the era when synthesizer work was really dominating the film score scene. I’m not positive, but I think we completed this score in just a few weeks.
Matt - Have you seen the newly remastered widescreen print that Warner Archives just put out last month? It looks really great!
John Beal - I just recently viewed this. It does look very good.
Matt - Was there ever a soundtrack released for the film with the music you composed? Is there any way for us fans to purchase it?
John Beal - Several soundtrack collector groups have pushed for this, and one label has told me they are going to schedule it – hopefully soon. Places like BuySoundtrax.com and Screenarchives.com are a good place to request and start looking.
Matt - Looking back on the movie now, are you happy with the way the film turned out, or do you wish something diffrent was tried? I really enjoy this movie. The actors and actresses that I have spoken with really seemed to genuinly love each other and got along really well. I do believe that the movie benefited much from the music also. Watching a horror movie with no music is just not scary. You added that touch of class that the film required to just catch the mood, and blow it out of the water.
John Beal - Thank you for the compliments. I must confess that it was a difficult project in that the producer, Michael Lepiner had very strong ideas about keeping the music soft or to not play at all. I felt the film style called for a more dramatic approach and more music supporting the dialog and action. For example, I had scored the entire last act, where all the chase action really cranks along, and was a little startled by how many places the music was completely removed, even where it seemed to me the picture called out for reinforcement. But my job was only to provide the music and the final decisions were Michael’s. This would be a reason I’d like to have the complete soundtrack on CD.
Matt - The movie has a lot of fans that I have personally encountered. What I hope for one day is to get this film out there again, so we can have a special edition DVD and Blu Ray. This movie is one of the most asked about films I have ever seen. People are so curious to know what went on behind the scenes. If one day, a special edition, hopefully uncut version is ever released, do you think you would like to be a part of it?
John Beal - I would love that!
Matt - I want to thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions on Killer Party. What have you been up to recently? Is there anything you would like to say to the fans of the film?
John Beal - As you may know, the majority of my career was spent composing original scores for motion picture trailers and television advertising. It became such a dominant part of my life that I didn’t have time to do any more TV series or full length theatrical work. After 2,000 movie trailers, I’ve finally semi-retired and am enjoying some time without the round-the-clock pressure of the past decades.