Jim Mahoney on His New Horror Comedy, Gatlopp

In Gatlopp, the new horror comedy from director Alberto Belli, writer/star Jim Mahoney found himself trying to figure out how to create a believable relationship among four friends who had supposedly known each other for years. In the film, four best friends from college come together after nine years apart, with Paul (Mahoney) reeling from being left by his wife. With the pandemic beginning shortly before production launched on Gatlopp, Mahoney told ComicBook that the early stages of pandemic filming, in which the cast and crew had to stick to a strict social bubble, may have actually given the cast a leg up on developing that level of intimacy with one another.

In the film, the quartet find a boardgame called Gatlopp -- Swedish for "Gauntlet" -- and decide to play it together. Turns out the game comes from Hell, and if someone in the group doesn't win before sunrise, they will all be stuck playing it for eternity.

"At the beginning of this movie, we didn't know each other. We didn't get to meet before we actually started shooting. We had to meet over Zoom, because it was early in the pandemic," Mahoney explained. "And in the beginning, there was a getting-to-know-you period, where we immediately had a lot of things in common. We had lot of conversations over Zoom before, so we kind of found a shared language, but it started with this nice we're not quite sure who everybody is just yet. And it sort of found a natural place, knowing the characters each had a secret with each other, but yet we still enjoyed hanging out. So this natural kind of design kind of presented itself as we were just filming this in general. It just sort of became our relationship in a really good way. It really helped inform those kind of secrets each character was holding, if that makes sense."

In the real world, Mahoney walked into the movie knowing what he wanted, and that Alberto Belli was the director for it. He told us that when he talked about the film, the two bonded over the nostalgic movies they wanted to evoke with Gatlopp's tone, which rattles back and forth between scary, action-oriented, and comedic.

"When I first pitched [Alberto] the film that I wanted to write and I wanted him to direct, I wanted to touch on those nostalgic stories that we grew up with," Mahoney explained. "And so he was like, absolutely, because he says his favorite movie ever is Jurassic Park, and we love Jumanji, and we love stuff in the '80s and '90s, and he very much came to it with that nostalgic. He wanted to have that nostalgic feel throughout, and so it sort of just fit naturally. I think when he first pitched it, the studio was like, sure, probably not. And then when they looked at it, they were like, oh no, this works really well. And I think it sets the movie apart in a way I think as well, which is really cool."

You can get Gatlopp now on digital streaming services like Vudu, Prime Video, and iTunes.