By Nicole Gluckstern
For reasons I shall never quite fathom, the majority of the year’s horror films will inevitably be released closer to Christmas than to All Hallows Eve, thwarting my autumnal desire to have the holy bejeebus scared out of me over popcorn and stale nachos. Fortunately for my seasonal predilection, a number of Bay Area theatre companies are staging live performances of creepshow classics, serving up shock, splatter, and suspense — though probably not nachos – for the rest of October (and beyond).
Zombies run amok at the EXIT Theatre! “Zombie Town” and “Zombie: A New Musical”. SF Fringe favorites Sleepwalkers Theatre present “Zombie Town”—”a documentary play”—by Tim Bauer directly across the hall of the EXIT Theatreplex from Anthony R. Miller’s Heavy Metal Zombie musical extravaganza. How can you possible go wrong? Flip a coin, or heck, go two nights in a row. “Zombie Town” ($14-$20) plays through Nov 7, “Zombie: A New Musical” ($15) will close Halloween Night. It’s Zombieriffic! EXIT Theatre, 8 p.m., 156 Eddy, SF, www.sffringe.org.
Primitive Screwheads: “Brain-Dead Alive.” Wear your oldest clothes to this performance, the Primitive Screwheads are firm believers in blood, lots and lots of blood. Buckets of it. All over the place, themselves, you. It’s a beautiful thing. This year’s adaptation of Peter Jackson’s “Dead Alive” promises blood, flying limbs, horror, hilarity, more blood, and a bonus lineup of spooky opening bands, including a rare performance by Fringe Festival favorites and “Mortified” house band LIVE EVIL who play on Halloween Night. Now that’s entertainment! Through October 31, 7:30 p.m., Great Star Theatre, 636 Jackson, SF, $20, www.primitivescrewheads.com.
The Torture Garden
Thrillpeddler’s Shocktoberfest: “The Torture Garden”. Shockingly naturalistic, turn-of-the-previous-century, Grand Guignol theatre was the great-grandparent of slasher flicks and racy peepshow farces, and San Francisco’s premiere Grand Guignol devotees, the Thrillpeddlers, have been dishing up both every Halloween for ten years strong. This year they’re presenting a brand new translation of Grand Guignol master playwright Andre de Lorde’s “The Torture Garden,” plus another modern original, “The Phantom Limb,” penned by Thrillpeddler’s regular Rob O’Keefe. An up close and all too personal intermission demonstration of their working model of an 18’th century guillotine will give you more bang for your buck than any snoozy Friday the Thirteenth marathon ever will. Thursdays and Fridays through Nov 20. 8 p.m. The Hypnodrome, 575 10th St, SF. $25, www.thrillpeddlers.com