The Bearded Lady's Mystic Museum bills its Evil Dead Exhibit as an "immersive experience," and that's true enough: with settings and photo-ops that put you inside the world of The Evil Dead, the display rooms could pass for a section of the I Like Scary Movies experience. However, the exhibit is every bit as much an art gallery, offering for sale several wonderful paintings inspired by the cult horror movie franchise. Fans should take the opportunity to visit before the event closes later this week.
Evil Dead Exhibit Review: Venue
Located near the corner of Magnolia Boulevard and Ontario Street in Burbank, the Bearded Lady's Mystic Museum & Gift Shop and the Bearded Lady's Vintage Oddities occupy two contiguous retail units, each with its own signage and entrance, which form a single store front. Eye-catching window displays and decor on the sidewalk make it clear that this is the sort of place where Little Miss Scare-All from Type-O Negative's "Black No. 1" would do her fashion shopping.
Evil Dead Exhibit Review: Bearded Lady's Vintage Oddities
The entrance on the left leads into the Bearded Lady's Vintage Oddities section of the store, which lives up to its name. Along with crystals and books on witchcraft, there creepier items, such as skulls, taxidermied birds, and a mummified "mermaid." The decor has the faint aura of a faded sideshow, with displays of old-school health care products, such as "Scott's Emulsion" (which is actually still around today, though with orange flavor to cover up the active ingredient, cod liver oil).
Evil Dead Exhibit Review: Bearded Lady's Gift Shop
Accessible via a door on the right, the Bearded Lady's slightly less creepy Gift Shop offers more conventional products (masks, mugs, candles, toys, and games), including store-brand and licensed merchandise. There is also a fine selection of Gothic clothing and accessories, including purses, pillows, and wallets.
Although it would be a mistake to draw too big a distinction between the two sections, the Gift Shop has a more stylish vibe - the sort of place where Halloween fans can do a little year-round shopping.
Evil Dead Exhibit Review: Bearded Lady's Mystic Museum
The entrance to the Mystic Museum's Evil Dead exhibit is through a door at the back of the Vintage Oddities section of the store. At first, the ornate candelabra, tables, and display cases show little signs of The Evil Dead except for a cartoonishly eye-catching painting ("Join Us" by Small Paul) resting on an organ and a loop of from the film playing on a monitor behind the lovely wooden bar.
However, a further glance reveals some amazing sights...
Evil Dead Exhibit Review: The Cabin
The Mystic Museum recreates two big chunks of the cabin from The Evil Dead: the floor with the trap door where one of the titular characters is contained and the study area with the audio tape playing the incantation that resurrects the demonic forces in the woods (the audio is on a loop, though not emanating from the actual tape recorder on view).
The recreations are wonderfully detailed photo-ops that fully justify the exhibit's claim to being an "immersive experience." You feel almost as if you stepped into the movie, and you're welcome to sit down at the work table, grab a shotgun, and do your best Bruce Campbell imitation.
Evil Dead Exhibit Review: Reading Room
Tucked into a corner of the "cabin," artwork inspired by The Evil Dead rests on some shelves above a small display case house Ash's metal-gloved fist from Army of Darkness. This resides next to the entrance to the Reading Room, a small room set aside not for periodicals or novels but for tarot cards, palmistry, ouija boards, and other occult endeavors. Fans of The Twilight Zone will be amused to see the Mystic Seer from the "Nick of Time" episode starring William Shatner - though its presence bodes ill for any feats of precognition on the premises.
Evil Dead Exhibit Review: Artwork
Like the Vintage Oddities and Gift Shop, the Mystic Museum is divided into two rooms. The second room, which is accessed by passing through a door with a display featuring a goat beneath a sign that reads "Live Deliciously," is more densely packed with Evil Dead-related paraphernalia, including numerous original artworks.
The price range is fairly large, depending on the exact nature of the work: photography and digital prints run in the $250-300 area; "Wrong Book" by Mark Tavares (oil on masonite in custom frame) lists for $2,500.
Two genuinely stunning works are "Resurrection" by Luc Suter (oil on canvas, $1,000) and "You're All Going to Die Tonight" by Brett Herman (acrylic, $666). We are also rather partial to James Pendland's "Ash #2" ($900), an oil on panel work depicting Ash in his demonic visage from Evil Dead 2.
The artwork is available for purchase through beardedladysmysticmuseum.square.site.
Evil Dead Exhibit Review: Ash
Even if you're not an art connoisseur, there is still plenty to see. A mannequin figure of Ash from Evil Dead II strikes a heroic pose, boomstick in one hand, chainsaw in place of the other hand.
Evil Dead Exhibit Review: Army of Darkness
There is also a nice photo op with a recreation of the alter from Army of Darkness. Get your picture taken and try to get the incantation right - basically.
Evil Dead Exhibit Review: Farewell to Arms
There are numerous posters and props from the movies on display (many clearly identified as "screen used," not duplicates made later). A photo op allows you to recreate the original one-sheet poster with yourself in the grip of the hand protruding from the ground. And the unsubtle - but hilarious "Farewell to Arms" pun makes an appearance, next to Ash's severed hand.
Evil Dead Exhibit Review: Under Glass
Props include prosthetic heads from Evil Dead II. Of course Linda's is in a vice, so you can practice jabbing your finger in her fact and hissing, "You're going down!"
Evil Dead Exhibit Review: Necronomicon
Several iterations of the Necronomicon are on view.
Evil Dead Exhibit Review: Chainsaws & Boomstick
Where would Ash be without his chainsaw and boomstick?
Evil Dead Exhibit Review: Conclusion
The Bearded Lady's Gift Shop is worth visiting anytime, just to browse the charmingly sinister artifacts and merchandise. The current Evil Dead exhibit inside the Mystic Museum is a must-see for fans of the franchise. The scope is modest: the nicely detailed immersive elements are limited to a few photo ops, and an indifferent browser could pass through the relatively small gallery in a few minutes; however, the exhibit features so many fascinating props, posters, and paintings that a dedicated Deadite-Hunter will never want to leave.
Evil Dead Exhibit Rating
Though billed as an immersive experience, The Evil Dead Exhibit is even more an art gallery with stunning original work for sale, hence the five-star rating in that category. The settings are nicely detailed, but the immersive elements are limited to a few photo ops – good enough for a four-star rating. We recommend the merchandise in the Bearded Lady’s Gift Shop, but we’re a little less enamored of Vintage Oddities, so we’re assigning ratings of four and three stars, respectively. Overall, highly recommended.
The Evil Dead Exhibit continues hrough December 7th during regular business hours at the Bearded Lady’s Mystic Musuem: 11am to 7pm on Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays. The address is 3204 W Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank, 91505. Get more information here.