Project X vs. Real Life
On March 14 a Houston teenager was killed at a massive party when several attendees began shooting at each other as police tried to quell the masses. Consisting of 500 – 1000 people, the party was an attempt to recreate the events from the movie Project X. While the partygoers certainly achieved their goal, they also accomplished two things that didn’t happen in the movie: 1) people were arrested; 2) people died.
Project X is a movie about three nerdy high schoolers who, in an attempt to raise their status among their peers, throw the biggest, wildest party of all time. Similar to popular college movies like Animal House and Old School, Project X is filled with lots of gross-out gags and plenty of “that could never happen” moments that are intended to cater to teenagers. Whereas in Project X everything worked out fine, in real life these imitations of the film have turned deadly.
The real-life party took place at a vacant Houston mansion and was advertised through Facebook, Twitter, and various flyers, though it is unclear as to whom specifically organized the party. Around midnight, police arrived on scene in response to a noise complaint and were successful in shutting down the party.
“Kids took to the streets, but the parking lot was over packed so you couldn’t get out,” stated 22-year-old college student Daniel Menjivara. “It was just people in the actual street. They got into arguments and started shooting each other.”
Willie Armstrong, who attended the party, spoke with ABC affiliate KTRK of what he witnessed.”[The gunman] was just walking, and he pulled out a gun and started shooting, like for no reason,” Armstrong said. “He shot the boy in the back of the head and fell on the ground. He started shooting at the crowds, but then he ran through the field.”
Officers attempted to pursue the gunman, but were unsuccessful in apprehending him. The unidentified victim was taken to Ben Taub General Hospital for multiple gunshot wounds, but died early in the morning.
This was not the first copycat party to take place in Houston. A group of 13 teenagers was arrested after destroying another Houston home with an estimated value of around $500,000.
In Miramar, Fl., 18-year-old Christopher Dade is believed to have caused $19,000 in damages to a foreclosed home, the site of another copycat party, before the party had even begun. After posting a YouTube video of the damage, the teen was arrested on charges of burglary and vandalism, but not before nearly 2,000 people showed up on scene for the party. All who arrived were quickly turned away by police.
Prior to these incidents, Project X writer Michael Bacall had spoken multiple times with journalists regarding the strong reactions to the film, stating “I don’t want to speak whether it is irresponsible or promoting certain things; it shouldn’t. It’s an R-rated movie. It all depends on the individual whether you take inspiration from it.”