Dangerous Minds pal Jesse Merlin, who I have called “the Paul Lynde of this generation” many, many times (it’s totally true, plus he’s the undisputed king of “horror musicals”!) writes to inform us that as of today, the zany new cult film Helen Keller vs Nightwolves has been made FREE to view online by the twisted visionary behind it.
“Helen Keller vs Nightwolves tells the shocking story of how a group of nightwolves terrorized a tiny village taking people’s hearing and eyesight… and the one woman who fought back.”
After playing “Werewolf Hitler” in Ross Patterson’s FDR: American Badass! he wrote me a lead role in the follow-up picture, which was written, directed and presented by his alter-ego, demented genius cinema auteur “St. James St. James.”
It stars Lin Shaye, Jessie Wiseman, Barry Bostwick, Alanna Ubach, Richard Riehle and myself against a horde of bloodthirsty Nightwolves. Based on a true story!
After smashing premieres in LA, NYC and Montenegro, Ross has unleashed it upon the world FREE this morning. You’re welcome, America. Prepare to blow your O-ring…
Graham Skipper, Jesse Merlin (and a headless Brian Gillespie). Photo by Thomas Hargis.
After a highly successful premiere run in 2011, director Stuart Gordon’s ultra-gory musical version of his ultra-gory 80s cult film, Re-Animator™ The Musical has just two weeks left in its current Los Angeles engagement before the show travels to New York City and then the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.
Dangerous Minds has a pair of tickets to one of the Saturday night late shows (this weekend or next) for a lucky reader who tells us in the most creative way, why the Re-Animator tickets must be theirs.
Re-Animator™ The Musical was the winner of six LA Weekly Theater Awards, including “Musical of the Year.” It’s BLOODY terrific (wear a raincoat, don’t say I didn’t warn you) fun and one of the leads is played by my very good friend, Jesse Merlin, who gives a bravura performance as the villainous “Dr.Carl Hill” who loses his head about mid-way through the show, but keeps right on singing anyway. Cheers’ George Wendt will also be returning to the cast as the zombiefied Dean of the medical school. Chris L. McKenna, Rachel Averym, Mark Beltzman, Cynthia Carle, Brian Gillespie, Marlon Grace and Liesel Hanson round out the cast, with Graham Skipper featured as “Dr. Herbert West. ” Book by Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon and William J. Norris. Music and lyrics by Mark Nutter. The special effects are being done by the same guys who did them for the 1985 movie.
I mean, it’s a super-smart musical comedy Grand Guignol—with lots and lotsof blood—based on an H.P Lovecraft story... what’s not to love, here, right? See it now in Los Angeles while you still can!
Re-Animator™ The Musical runs nightly Thursdays through Sundays 8:00pm [Thu., Fri., Sun.] with two shows on Saturdays: 7:00 & 10:30pm at The Hayworth Theatre, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90057.
This coming Tuesday the 29th, Stuart Gordon will be at Cinefamily, in-person for an in-depth Q&A session about the process of bringing his legendary ‘80s horror film to the stage as a musical with a screening of the original film and appearances by the play’s cast.
Leave your reason why we should give YOU the tickets in the comments. The best answer chosen by us, for no particular reason whatsoever will win. It’s up to you to get yourself there, so this contest is really only for our local Los Angeles readers (In other words, please don’t enter if you won’t be able to actually attend the performance, okay?)
Taking its cues equally from Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and the campy 60s Batman TV series, the upcoming FDR: American Badass! stars Barry Bostwick as Franklin Delano Roosevelt who “rides a ‘wheelchair of death’ to stop the world from werewolves who carry the polio virus.”
Dangerous Minds pal Jesse Merlin (who I mentioned in the post about Sherman Hemsley and Gong recently) plays Werewolf Hitler!
Re-Animator™ - The Musical, the horror-comedy based on the 1985 cult movie hit and earlier H.P. Lovecraft story, has extended its run due to popular demand through Sunday, June 26, 2011 at the Steve Allen Theater. Half price student tickets available for all June shows. The production has been setting records and sending grinning patrons out of the theater humming the tunes and washing off the blood. Stuart Gordon, who directed both the new musical and the movie on which it is based, notes “There’s a lot of liquid spurting through the air. The special effects are even better in 4D than they are in 3D.”
The new performance schedule for this funny, bloody and tuneful production includes three shows per weekend: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 8:00pm. Costumes are encouraged and seating is open – come early and sit up front in the “splash zone.” Ticket prices are $30 for general admission, $15 for students (with ID).
We’ve got two pairs of free tickets to give away to readers who write in to the comments and tell us why they should get the tickets and not someone else. We choose the winners. It’s up to you to get yourself to the play in Los Angeles, where tickets will be waiting for you at the door (Translation: Unless you live in Los Angeles or intend to be here before the play’s run ends, please don’t waste your time).
Below, Jesse Merlin as the villainous “Dr. Carl Hill” loses his head in a scene with Graham Skipper as “Herbert West,” re-animator.
Photo: Rachel Avery, George Wendt, center, Jesse Merlin. Credit: Thomas Hargis.
Even considering the vast number of the films-turned-Broadway-musicals that have been produced in recent years, few would have imagined Stuart Gordon’s bloody 1985 cult classic, Re-Animator, would be a likely candidate to join their ranks. But if you think about it, Re-Animator’s camp-gore trappings make it a natural for the musical treatment. Gordon and his collaborators went back to the laboratory, grafted a bit of Gilbert & Sullivan and a bit of Bernard Herrmann into the proceedings and et voila, Re-Animator is born again as an all-singing, all-dancing Grand Guignol.
Re-Animator: The Musical closely follows the plotline of Gordon’s film (based on the HP Lovecraft short story “Herbert West-Reanimator,” itself a parody of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein). The writing is witty, as sharp as a knife. The cast are wonderfully deadpan (the way camp should be played, of course) and the striking musical score can best be described (and this is a good thing) putrescent Sondheim. Couplets like “His psychosis gives me chills/He cannot love, he only kills!” cannot help but to inject life anew into Gordon’s 25-year-old grindhouse favorite.
If you recall Re-Animator the film, there was quite a lot of blood in it. The musical has even more. According to Variety, the gore effects were created by the same crew who worked on the 1985 film. I believe it. Patrons seated in the front three rows were given trashbag-like ponchos to protect their clothes, but on the night we saw the show, the first ten rows probably should have worn raincoats. And hats. And been issued umbrellas! (For the record, I sat in the middle and remained dry. Just don’t wear any couture and you’ll be fine.)
Jesse Merlin, as the villain of the piece, Dr. Carl Hill, plays the role for everything it’s worth, producing edgy comedy with a well-placed leering sideways glance or dismissive aristocratic grumble. For most of the second act Merlin’s character is in fact, headless, but it hardly seems to affect his operatic bass baritone vocals. Truly the guy is the Paul Lynde of his generation, but with a preposterously good singing voice. Who would forget this fellow with the mellow bellow having seen him perform only once (and headless)? Cheers’ George Wendt, too, gets huge laughs as the college dean who is zombie-fied when his dead body is only brought partially back to life by the reagent and Herbert West is played by Graham Skipper—who is excellent—with a touch of Rainn Wilson and Anthony Perkins thrown in to nice effect. The cast is rounded out by pretty Rachel Avery as Megan the chirpy sweet heroine and her earnest love interest (and West’s roommate) Dan Cain is played by Chris L. McKenna.
Re-Animator: The Musical is unique and terrific fun, the only thing I can think to compare it to is Little Shop of Horrors and if there is any justice in the universe, Re-Animator should enjoy a similar success. It’s not at all difficult to imagine a bigger budget production of this show pleasing audiences on Broadway for years. Re-Animator the Musical just opened last weekend at The Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, but demand for tickets—a bargain at $25—has been so strong that the run has already been extended. Get tickets here.
Re-Animator, the Musical, Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. 8 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. $25. (800) 595-4849
Below, the trailer from the original 1985 movie. Yes, this is now a musical play!