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Photographs: Deadly Nightshade art show

Deadly Nightshade exhibition celebrates the work of Tim Burton, including Nightmare Before Christmas

SugarMynt’s annual Halloween exhibition, Haunted Haddonfield, is well known to fans of macabre art, but the gallery also decks the halls during the Christmas season. The winter collection is perhaps less famous because the theme is not so clearly branded as the Haddonfield show, which focuses on the film franchise launched by John Carpenter’s 1978 Slasher pic, Halloween. The gallery’s winter shows feature on Christmas themes, but the titles and emphasis change. Past events have included Dysfunctional Christmas (Krampus) and Strange and Unusual (Tim Burton). This year’s Deadly Nightshade exhibition once again delves into the films of Tim Burton, with artwork inspired by everything from Beetlejuice to Batman Returns – along with The Nightmare Before Christmas, of course.

The holiday vibe is everywhere apparent, thanks to window stencils, decorative lights, and a Christmas tree. Even two of the obligatory life-sized Michael Myers figures wear Santa caps. Though not all of the films depicted are specific to Christmas, several include wintery scenes (Batman Returns, Sleepy Hollow), and despite the exhibition’s title, the choice of subject matter trends away from death and toward the romantic longing of female characters such as Sally and the Corpse Bride; that is, you will see a portrait of the lovely Katrina Van Tassel but not of the Headless Horseman. And of course Sugar Mynt’s usual favorites, Halloween and Hocus Pocus, are tucked in around the edges.

Deadly Nightshade: Front Room

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Upon entering the gallery, the front room is the only area of the exhibition that is free to visitors. Its presentation of paintings and collectibles acts as a teaser, inviting guest to purchase the $10-ticket to see what lies behind the curtain.

In addition to paintings based on Frankenweenie, The Corpse Bride, and Edward Scissorhands, there are some nice decorations, including a pumpkin containing a miniature of the house from Halloween (1978), which lights up with musical accompaniment.

Deadly Nightshade: Main Gallery

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The main gallery features the majority of artwork from the Deadly Nightshade exhibition, including art inspired by Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Mars Attacks, and Dark Shadows. Arranged mostly on two walls facing each other, the collection is quite an eyeful, worthy of extended perusal. The portrait of Vincent Price extending the heart intended for Edward Scissorhands is quite evocative, and we all were quite taken by the two-shot of Catwoman and Batman from Batman Returns, which captures the dynamic of two misfits simultaneous drawn to and repelled by each other.

Deadly Nightshade: Back Room

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Located behind the main gallery, the back room is largely given over to The Nightmare Before Christmas, beginning with a life-size, singing Jack Skellington. There is also a wonderful depiction of the film’s Halloween town, using miniatures surrounded by cotton to simulate snow.

Deadly Nightshade: Halloween Room

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Just off the main gallery is what we like to call the “Halloween Room,” because it houses a perennial exhibit of behind-the-scenes photographs from Carpenter’s Halloween, along with a mechanical figure of Michael Myers slashing his way through the closet door as seen in the film (unfortunately not working on the night we attended).

For Deadly Nightshade, the Halloween Room also houses a new figure of Michael Myers, with a half-burned face as seen in last year’s Halloween Kills, which was previously out front and center during this October’s Welcome to Haddonfield exhibition. There are also artifacts from Hocus Pocus, including a costume for the witch played by Bette Midler.

Deadly Nightshade: Conclusion

As is always the case with SugarMynt exhibitions, you do not need to be an art collector to enjoy Deadly Nightshade. Just browsing the myriad paintings is worth the price of admission, and taking photographs is encouraged. The original artworks are all for sale, but prices can be steep; fortunately, many of them are available as affordable reproductions.

Deadly Nightshade Exhibition


Deadly Nightshade continues at SugarMynt through New Year’s Eve. Regular hours are noon to 5pm on Wednesdays and Sundays, noon to 7pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Christmas Eve hours are noon to 3pm; the exhibition is close on Christmas Day. The address is 810 Meridian Avenue in South Pasadena. For more information visit www.sugarmynt.com. 

Admission is $10.



Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.