Don’t you hate it when your bus to Burning Man breaks down in the middle of a murderous satanic cult ritual, and suddenly you’re fighting for your life? That’s the hilariously terrifying premise behind the upcoming horror flick Party Bus to Hell, which stars Sharknado’s Tara Reid. It recently wrapped filming in Las Vegas and the Valley of Fire.
With a few exceptions—such as Reid and LA-based writer/director Rolfe Kanefsky—the movie is a product of Nevada. It’s produced by the dynamic and enthusiastic brothers Sonny and Michael Mahal, who ping-pong off each other in conversation. “There so many brothers in the film industry,” Michael says. “It’s not just one person going through the struggle, there’s two. We’re on the same page. We’ve known each other our entire lives.”
Nearly five years ago, they left a life making television commercials in LA to be filmmakers in Las Vegas. Sure, it usually works the other way around, but the brothers found it easier to follow their dreams in Nevada. “House prices were so cheap,” Michael says. “For what we’re paying, you can’t even get a coffin in LA.” Plus, they were drawn in by Nevada’s business-friendly laws and now-scuttled film tax credits (which the Mahals hope will be reinstated).
Party Bus is something of a breakthrough for the brothers. The project raised more money than expected, allowing for a bigger budget and more star power. The film is in post-production and set to premiere later this year. In the meantime, you can catch their previous film, Last Day of School—a raunchy, micro-budget comedy filmed locally—on Amazon Prime. Party Bus, will blow it out of the water, the brothers say.
“This movie exceeded our expectations. There’s a lot of Vegas talent and it will elevate a lot of careers out here,” Michael says. “Our whole mission is to bring production back to Vegas and make huge studio films, and we’re going to do that.”