Gores Truly is femme-driven but certainly not man-hating. Occasionally, we want to give our readers a chance to contribute to the horror-fest that we all adore - including those wielding the Y-Chromosome. The following article has been Murder-Her approved. Watch out! It’s an Invasion of the Y-Chromosome!
“Re-Animator The Musical Brings Cult Classic to Bloody Life on Stage”
My condolences go out to the clean-up crew for Re-Animator The Musical now showing at the Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles. A seemingly endless supply of stage blood sprays onto the faces and laps of those brave enough to sit in the designated “Splash Zone.” During the show last Friday night, my white briefs became blood red but I did not mind. Die-hard fans of the cult-classic film (like me) will not be disappointed as Re-Animator adjusts from screen to stage seamlessly. I was fortunate enough to pick the brain of the Master of Horror Stuart Gordon, who directed both the film and staged versions of Re-Animator.
As a student at the University of Wisconsin, Gordon was involved in a post-apocalyptic production of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus in which the audience looked down upon a pit of grunting cave people. Years later, he is still challenging the line between actor and audience with Re-Animator The Musical. “One of the things I love about theatre is that there doesn’t have to be an imaginary forth wall,” Gordon says. “We’re all in this room together; so why not make use of that?” Brains are passed and intestines splashed in this musical theatre massacre!
With hardly ten minutes of spoken dialogue, Re-Animator The Musical functions more as an operetta than the traditional scene-song musical. This most recent adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s 1922 short story is the result of a three-year collaboration between Gordon and Mark Nutter, who wrote the music and lyrics. According to Gordon, there are over thirty songs throughout the show. Peter Adams’ arrangement and musical direction pay glorious tribute to the film’s original score. The musical mayhem reaches its campy peak when a mutilated mob mimics the moves of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Graham Skipper leads the satirically self-aware cast as Herbert West, Re-Animator. Skipper is an actor of great gumption tackling the role made iconic by Jeffrey Combs in the 1985 film. Harry S. Murphy’s transformation from Dean Halsey to a drooling, lobotomized ragdoll is nuanced with humor. The vocal standout among the group is Jesse Merlin, who maintains a steady vibrato while physically contorting himself to become the headless antagonist, Dr. Hill. And in true horror fashion, Chris L. McKenna and Rachel Avery show some skin as sweethearts Dan Cain and Megan Halsey. The remaining members of the cast carry the camp by playing a variety of over-the-top characters including the victims of: medical malpractice, a shotgun blast to the face, a bear mauling, and a fatal fire.
The audience first tickles its taste for gore when Dr. Hill peels back the scalp of a toe-tagged corpse just like an orange. Returning members from the film’s special effects team combine 1980s glam gore with the theatrics of the Grand Guignol. “The thing about the movie was that most of the effects were stage effects done practically on a set,” Gordon explains. “That’s one of the reasons why I thought this could be a live musical.” The crowd became mad with delight when West ripped an electric saw through the chest of a re-animated cadaver (Mark Beltzman). I sat front row center and was drenched by the first gory geyser. By and by, the bloodbath becomes bloodier and you will love every drop.
“The best horror films are the ones willing to go beyond the boundaries of good taste,” says Gordon whose credits include Castle Freak (1995), Dolls (1987), and From Beyond (1986). Re-Animator The Musical does just that. It romps past the boundaries of good taste to create a full spectacle of the senses.
The Los Angeles-based production has been so well received that the run has been extended through MAY 29th and will now include midnight performances on Fridays. For more information on Re-Animator The Musical and to purchase TICKETS visit www.reanimatorthemusical.com or click on the image below.
About the Author: ZomBen has recently risen from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery to write as a guest contributer for Gores Truly. He is a founding member of the Rotting Soil Collective – a ghoulish troupe dedicated to bringing the bizarre to the new media audience and beyond. Check out rottingsoil.com and dig into the collective’s first project, a web miniseries called Gary’s Garden.
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