How To Throw A Great Movie Murder Mystery Party

May 20, 2011

LA Confidential posterby Maggie Kruger

It’s no secret that I love a good party.  Any excuse to have friends over, cook extravagant amounts of food and pop the cork on a couple of bottles of fizz and I’m happy.  But even better than having your mates round for plain old nibbles and drinks is having your mates round for a theme party.  And what better theme for a party than the movies?

Now, I’m not talking about your bog standard everyone-come-in-fancy-dress-and-stand-around-eating-canapes movie theme party, that’s so dull it’s the party equivalent of Kirsten Dunst.  With a little effort and imagination, and you can have yourself an awesome Movie Murder Mystery Party! Here’s how…

First of all, think about the scale you want your party to be on.  Do you want an epic, Orson Welles-esque affair with whistles and bells?  Or a low-budget indie smash that would have Quentin Tarantino weeping into his Royale with Cheese?  A small, intimate affair can be as much fun as inviting everyone you know, so decide how big you want it and take it from there.

For a party so big it needs its own zip code, think about investing in a murder mystery game online: type in ‘Movie Murder Mystery Party’ into your search engine of choice and the world’s your oyster.  They can be on the pricy side, but virtually all the hard work is done for you, leaving you more time to plan your costume.

The Big Easy (1987)

The Big Easy (1987)

The first one I looked at when researching this even gives you a timetable of the evening and a list of games – but you need everyone get into character and join in with the fun, and about 16 people to get your money’s worth. Trawl the search engines, and you’re bound to find something that suits your budget. Some of them even offer menu suggestions – I’m sure if you look hard enough there’s one out that that’ll actually host the party and cook all the food for you!!

Now, the other end of the scale is a lot smaller, a lot more disorganised, but just as much fun.  You will need:

-5 Friends


-Some gumshoe movies

-Many, many doughnuts

-Other, less diabetes-inducing foodstuffs (burgers/pizzas/hotdogs… 😉 )

-Music: the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack, some Gerschwin, I’d avoid the Grease soundtrack though.

The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)

The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)

-Drinks of choice – thematically nothing less than coffee or whisky will do, although those of a nervous disposition should probably avoid both.


Tell your friends to dress up as their favourite movie detective, and encourage them to bring with them their favourite murder mystery movie – my own particular favourites are The Big Easy, The Eyes of Laura Mars and I’ve got a major soft spot for LA Confidential.

When they arrive, set up the game and assign everyone their characters (this is why you have the Reservoir Dogs OST… all the colours!).  Play the game. Heck, play several games if you want, consuming doughnuts as you go (doughnuts are of course, a well known aid to solving crimes).

When you’re all Cluedo-ed out, whoever’s won the most games gets to choose a crime movie for you all to watch.  Grab the popcorn and the pizza, turn the lights out and enjoy!

NB: to get you in the mood, you could even start by watching Clue – here’s the trailer


Maggie Kruger fell asleep on her dad’s lap on her first cinema trip to watch Return of the Jedi in 1983, and has loved the movies ever since, even going so far as to study them at college, where she worked on a number of short films. She lives and works in London, UK, and will tell you that her favourite film is Dr Strangelove, although when pressed will also admit a certain weakness for 1980’s brat pack movies and most of Adam Sandler’s early work. Follow her on Twitter: @emmizzykay .



Retro Movie Geek © 2015