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Review: Blood Alley Haunt

Though billed as a “spooktacular” haunted maze, Blood Alley Haunt is far from a traditional haunted house attraction; it’s more akin to an immersive theatre piece, with an emphasis on the grotesque rather than ghostly. First-time visitors to Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre will be shocked and aghast; even those familiar with the group’s annual Halloween show, the Urban Death Tour of Terror, will see some sights beyond their previous experience.

For those unfamiliar with the “Blood Alley” brand name, these productions tend to delve a little more deeply into sordid depravity and sacrilege; the vignettes are longer, including dialogue, and there is pulse-pounding live music provided by a one-man band on high-hat, keyboard, and electric guitar. The current iteration takes the form of a walk-through rooms defined by black tarp “walls” festooned with graffiti suggesting a blighted back alley. Barely clad characters writhe in simulated ecstasy, perform fellatio on a shotgun, and in a bizarre highlight simulate ejaculation from a second-floor window (guests are invited to stand in the “splash zone” where the dildo will sprinkle them with water).

Blood Alley Haunt is a sort of “economy” attraction – a scaled down, ten-minute version, with a lower ticket price, intended as an antidote to the current inflationary cycle. Fans of ZJU Theatre will probably want to take advantage of the savings, but don’t bring any newbies along – this is definitely not a gateway drug for the uninitiated!

Blood Alley Haunt Rating

Bottom Line

Zombie Joe’s Theatre productions are definitely sui generis, with an appeal to their established audience, and Blood Alley Haunt is no exception. However, the problem with shock theatre is that, when it becomes expected, it loses the power to shock. Blood Alley Haunt will probably offend or traumatize the uninitiated, but those habituated by long exposure may be less than overwhelmed.

Blood Alley Haunt concludes its weekend run this evening with performances starting at 8pm. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre is located at 4850 Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood, 91601. Get more info at the website.

Credits: Directed by Zombie Joe and Jorge Lozano, with music by Kevin Van Cott. Ages 17+

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.