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Halloween 2014: Haunted Plays, Scary Musicals & Other Terrifying Theatrical Events

Halloween theme park attractions and haunted houses are great, but Los Angeles has much more to offer the seasoned haunt-goer. Previously, we offered a list of 2014 Halloween Horror Film Festivals; now we follow up with a look at the haunted stage: dark dramas, scary musicals, spooky shows, and other terrifying theatrical experiences.

Strictly speaking, some of these events are not quite “plays” in the traditional sense, and not all are “stage” productions – some take places in real houses and cemeteries, even a zoo. However, all of them go beyond the usual walk-through maze experience, offering a distinctly theatrical brand of Halloween horror.

Photo at top: Urban Death Tour of Terror


The Call of Cthulhu

Call of Cthulhu Visceral CompanyLocation: The Lex Theatre, 6760 Lexington Avenue, Hollywood

More info: Click here

Description: The Visceral Company, which gave us 2013’s LOVECRAFT: NIGHTMARE SUITE, returns with another terrifying drama based on the work of the late New England author. The story involves the discovery of an ancient being, worshipped as a deity by a sinister cult, the existence of which overturns mankind’s comfortable assumptions about his place in the cosmos (which turns out to be not so secure after all).

H.P. LOVECRAFT’S THE CALL OF CTHULHU is adapted and performed by Frank Blocker, who plays all the parts, including an archaeologist, a police detective, and a Norwegian sailor, all of whom discover pieces of the puzzle that add to the cumulative revelations of cosmic horror.

Dan Spurgeon, who helped develop the dramatization, directs. Sets and effects are by Johnny Burton; lighting by Joshua Silva; original music and Sound design by Tyler Burton; costume design by Moe Marks; and set construction by Ben Womick.

Performances of H.P. LOVECRAFT’S “THE CALL OF CTHULHU are on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8pm, with Sunday matinees at 3pm. The play runs through November 9.

Read Hollywood Gothique’s review here.


Delusion Lies Within

Delusion LIes Within vertical artLocation: 2525 Arlington Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90018

More Info: Click here

Description: This is not exactly a stage production, but it is a theatrical production. Like its predecessors, Delusion Lies Within is a triumphant mixture of haunted house walk-through with a dramatic story. Essentially, this is a play staged in a real house, with the audience cast as extras, moving from room to room to follow the story line to it horrifying conclusion. The sense of participation breeches the proverbial fourth wall, creating an interactive Halloween experience like nothing else.

If you have never been to Delusion, then you you owe it to yourself to see this version if at all possible. Unfortunately, all performances of the play’s originally announced schedule (through the first weekend of November) are sold out; however, this is a chance that the run will be extended.

Tickets are $60.

Read Hollywood Gothique’s review here.


Drama After Dark

Jeffrey Paul Whitman in The Raven
Jeffrey Paul Whitman in The Raven

Location: Victoria Gardens Cultural Center, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739

Link out: Click here

Date: October 17 at 7:30pm

Description: Due to a scheduling conflict, Drama After Dark: A Night of the Macabre with Poe and Gorey will not be staged in its traditional location, the Huntington Library, for Halloween 2014. Instead, the group will be at a new location, the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

This outdoor series of dramatic vignettes offers adaptations and readings of work of Edgar Allan Poe and Edward Gorey, performed by the Guild of St. George. During the course of the evening, audience members see up to six of the ten or more performances, which play simultaneously at various locations. Most performances are outdoors (chairs provided), requiring the audience to walk from play to play. To enhance the mood, outdoor lighting tends to be minimal.

Infants, babies, and children under 12 are not allowed; no one under 18 without adult supervision.

Tickets are $27.00. The event typically sells out, so purchase in advance at the venue’s website.

If the drive to Rancho Cucamonga is too far, Drama After Dark will also be appearing at the Los Angeles Zoo’s Night of the Living Zoo on October 24.

Reading Hollywood Gothique’s Drama After Dark 2013 review.


Re-Animator The Musical Logo

Re-Animator: The Musical

Location: The Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90027

Link out: Click here

Description: Herbert West – Re-Animator returns in this revival of the stage musical, based on the 1985 cult movie about a precocious college student who develops a reagent that revives the dead. Stuard Gordon (who helmed the film) will direct. Gordon, screenwriter Dennis Paoli, and William J. NOrris wrote the book; music and lyrics are by Mark Nutter (including some new songs for this run).

The official opening is on Friday, October 17, following previews on the weekend of October 10-12. Re-Animator: The Musical will run Fridays through Sundays at 8pm until November 2 November 28.

Tickets are $25. Call 1-800-595-4849 for reservations.


Scary Musical: The Musical

Scary Musical The Musical posterLocation: The NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91601

Official Website: Click here

Description: The NoHo Arts Center presents the world premiere of a new musical spoof that mixes everything from Scary Movie to Psycho. Produced by Kevin Bailey and Victoria Morris, Scary Musical: The Musical has music and lyrics by Richard Hochberg and Michael Paternostro, with the book by Hochberg. James J. Mellon directed and choreographed; Kenny Seymour did the orchestrations, with musical direction from Brent Crayon.

The show runs through November 23, with performances on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm.

Tickets are $35.

Read Hollywood Gothique’s review here.


Urban Death: Tour of Terror

Note the quotes at the top of the ad. Somehow, they are much more impressive when you know that all three outlets viewed the same performance.
Click on the image to view the quotes at the top. Somehow, they are more impressive when you know that all three outlets viewed the same performance.

Location: Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, California 91601 (818) 202 – 4120

Link out: Click here

Description: This darkly bizarre and fascinating Halloween theatre event – which made its debut in 2013 – returns with its nightmarish vignettes and black outs. Part walk-through maze and part performance art, Urban Death: Tour of Terror features minimal production values (basically a black, empty stage) but, like a martial arts master, turns this weakness into strength by using performances, punctuated by light and shadow, to create stark, indelible images that sink into the brain.

The result is a unique Halloween haunt. Though thrill-seekers expecting crude jump-scares may be disappointed, connoisseurs of terror should be delighted by the opportunity to savor this distinctive blend of shivers.

Hollywood Gothique selected Urban Death: Tour of Terror as the Best New Halloween Event in its 2013 Halloween Haunt Awards. We understand that the 2014 show will be similar and style, though with new vignettes. The performance of Urban Death at ScareLA this month proved to us that they have many more nightmares to inflict on their audience.

Urban Death: Tour of Terror runs on Fridays and Saturday through November 1. Starting at 8:30pm, five performances run at 45-minute intervals.

Tickets are $12.

Ready Hollywood Gothique’s review here.


The Wicked Lit Halloween Theatre Festival

Note the quote from Hollywood Gothique. We meant every word.
Note the quote from Hollywood Gothique. We meant every word.

Location: Mountain View Mausoleum and Cemetery 2300 Marengo Ave, Altadena, CA 91001 Phone: 818 242 7910

Website: Click here

Description: Unbound Productions resurrects its annual Halloween theatrical experience, featuring three classic tales of terror, staged on the grounds of an actual mausoleum: “La Llorona,” “Dracula’s Guest,” and “The Monk.” The gimmick is that the plays are staged on the grounds of an actual mausoleum, with the audience following the action from setting to setting; however, the real strength is in the dramatic story-telling, which is guaranteed to generate a thrill.

This year, The Wicked Lit Halloween Theatre Festival introduces a Back Stage Experience, which takes place after each performance, with the producers and directors escorting a dozen members of the audience (for an additional charge) to the show’s various locations and explaining the behind-the-scenes details of mounting the production.

Hollywood Gothique selected Wicked Lit as the Best Halloween Attraction in Los Angeles in our 2013 Halloween Haunt Awards. Incredibly, the show is even better this October – an absolute must-see for any self-respecting Halloween enthusiast.

Wicked Lit runs through Novebmer 8 with performances Wednesday through Sunday. Performances start at 7:30pm, but it pays to arrive early, to enjoy the beginning of interstitial material stitching the three plays together.

Tickets range from $35 to $60 for General Admission, or $60 to $85 for General Admission with Back Stage Experience.


Z for Zombie Effect

The Zombie Effect

Location: ACME Comedy Theatre, 5124 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91601

Dates: October 17 through December 14

Hours: Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 7pm; Halloween Night performance at 10pm.

Link out: Click here

Description: The Living Dead shamble into Los Angeles for two months of Halloween horror at the North Hollywood ACME Comedy Theatre. Don’t let the word “comedy” fool you – amidst the laughs, The Zombie Effect delivers all the gruesome zombie mayhem you could ask for – and more.

Previously staged as They’re Not Zombies and The Afflicted, Lief Gantvoort’s apocalyptic horror-comedy focuses on a small group of survivors who take shelter in a seemingly abandoned church while trying to figure out why the world is going to hell. Are the mindless attackers pursuing them really zombies? And if so, do they abide by the rules we’ve learned from the movies? And if a bullet to the brain won’t do the job, what chance is there for humanity’s survival?

Opening Night Media Preview is October 17; the “World Premiere” follows on October 18. Then the play runs through December 14, with performances on Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm.

On October 31, there will be a special Halloween performance at 10pm. Expect an especially wet rendition of the play, with no attempt to minimize the blood raining onto the audience. Also, wine may be provided so that viewers can join the drinking game played by a character on stage (take a sip every time someone says the Z-word!).

Running time is 75 minutes. Ponchos are provided to protect audience members from arterial spray.

Tickets are $20.

We understand that The Zombie Effect has been not only re-titled but also rewritten, with substantial changes to the story. So even if you saw its Halloween 2014 presentation by Theatre 68, this version should be worth another visit.