2014 Halloween Haunt Award Nominees: Best Short Play or Vignette

Vampire Hunter John T. Cogan confronts blood-sucker Angie-Hobin. Photo-by-Daniel-Kitayama.
Vampire Hunter John T. Cogan confronts blood-sucker Angie-Hobin in "Dracula's Guest" at Wicked Lit. Photo-by-Daniel-Kitayama.

There are several Halloween events in Los Angeles that offer short plays or other sorts of live dramatic presentations. In addition to the Wicked Lit Halloween Theatre Festival and Drama After Dark, both of which provide anthologies of short dramas, museums stage re-enactments of funerals and seances, and historical societies present living history tours in which the ghosts of the dead relate their stories to the living.

Besides honoring these attractions for their overall merit, we wanted to single out individual short works deserving of attention.

Note: Hollywood Gothique did not attend this year’s Heritage Square Halloween and Mourning Tours or the Ghost Tour at Strathearn Park, both of which would have qualified in this category.

And the nominees are…

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Barbara La Marr
Barbara La Marr

Barbara La Mar from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery Walking Tour

For the last segment of the Art Deco Society of Los Angele’s annual tour, Sherri Snyder embodied silent-screen-star Barbara La Marr. La Marr was an actress but also a writer whose stories served as the basis for some early films – a rare achievement for a woman in the silent movie era. Snyder gave a spirited performance as the sassy star, her vivaciousness a marked contrast to the mausoleum surroundings.

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Night of the Living Zoo The Cask of Amontillado crop The Cask of Amontillado from Drama After Dark at Night of the Living Zoo

Drama After Dark presented eight short plays at this Halloween’s Night of the Living Zoo, but this one stood out for its felicitous combination of Poe’s story, performance, and setting. The children’s zoo cave at the Los Angeles Zoo stood in nicely for the catacombs into which Montressor lures Fortunato, and the performances by A. Jeffrey Shoenberg and Michael Cabler brought Poe’s characters to life with chilling effectiveness.

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Angie-Hobin in Dracula's Guest. Photo-by-Daniel-Kitayama.

Dracula’s Guest from Wicked Lit

A vampire story set in a real cemetery – what could be better? Not much, it turns out. This riff on Bram Stoker’s tale (an early chapter from an abandoned draft of Dracula) improved on the source text, creating a theatrical experience that not only suspenseful and scary but also dramatically satisfying.

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Long Beach Historcal Cemetery Tour - Fighting Injustice with Tacos

Fighting Injustice with Tacos from the Long Beach Historical Cemetery Tour

Ramona Linares (Rae Andrade) recalls her success as a mother whose restaurant ran afoul of local businessmen – they didn’t want a Mexican eatery moving into their white business district. Fortunately, Ramona ran a tight ship and served good food, so she passed any obstacle the businessmen put in her way.

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Wicked Lit 2014: Wendy Worthington as the strict nun in The Monk

The Monk from Wicked Lit

A chilling condensation of Matthew Lewis’s Gothic novel, this adaptation is one of the most viscerally horrifying ever presented by Wicked Lit, filled with enough seduction, sex, and violence to suit an exploitation shocker, but dished out with perfect dramatic effectiveness that builds to a jolting climax.

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Long Beach Historcal Cemetery Tour - A Tme of Pride Not Pity

A Time of Pride Not Pity from the Long Beach Historical Cemetery Tour

Shortly after the start of World War I, Donald Erickson enlisted in the marines and went on to lose his life in a decisive battle. Recounting the events, local Long Beach papers described proclaimed “A Time of Pride Not Pity.” Actor Steven Dean Lauria brought tears to the eyes of audiences in Long Beach’s Sunnyside Cemetery.