Society does a pretty good job of painting a picture of what the holiday’s should look like: an extravagant Christmas tree surrounded by gifts wrapped in shiny paper and large bows. Families in matching pajamas sit with smiles on their faces and cocoa in their mugs. It’s a beautiful image of fabricated perfection, but one that is far from the truth for most people. That’s not to say that there aren’t many who experience the joy that the holidays can bring, but behind all the bright lights, there are those who suffer. No show exemplifies that better than Zombie Joe’s BLOOD ALLEY CHRISTMAS.
Something I’ve come to learn since living in California is that Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without a Zombie Joe show and lo and behold, they are back once again with their newest rendition of URBAN DEATH: TOUR OF TERROR HAUNTED ATTRACTION. Not only does this experience include a phenomenal theatrical performance, but guests have the chance to walk through a darkened maze of confusion filled with the most depraved and horrifying creatures imaginable.
This past weekend I had the chance to attend THE DEMENTIA VOTE, directed by Brandon Slezak and written by David Dickens, at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater. The show, which is drenched in political satire, centers around Bruce, an elderly, senile man who finds himself wrapped up in a high stakes political election.
For the latest show at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre, guests had the chance to come face to face with their monsters they keep hidden. MONSTERS COME OUT AT NIGHT is directed by Zombie Joe himself and challenges us to “bravely face and conquer the physical, mental, and spiritual monsters, entities, and poltergeists that stalk us from their shadows” (ZJU press release). As someone who attends most shows put on by Zombie Joe Underground Theatre, this one in particular left me smiling as I clutched a gifted white rose.
I remember growing up as a kid and the joy that accompanied Easter Egg hunts. My mom would place plastic eggs hidden throughout the house filled with candy that my brother and I would have to search for, eventually leading us to a giant Easter basket filled with goodies. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone on an Easter egg hunt, so when Zombie Joe’s announced that they would be doing a F*CKED UP EASTER EGG HUNT, I knew I was in for a treat - and that it would be nothing like what I had experienced as a kid.
When it comes to the work of H.P. Lovecraft, it’s been notoriously difficult to adapt the cosmic horror stories outside of his writing. There have been many who have tried and many who have failed, but tucked away you can find some shining stars such as Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator (1985) or the 2005 silent film, The Call of Cthulhu. When it comes to live performances, they’re are a slew that have made a name for themselves such as “Re-Animator: The Musical” or Puppeteers for Fears “Cthulhu: The Musical”.
Popalypt1c, the latest play from director/writer Shayne Eastin, is set in a post-apocalyptic nightmare where the battle between good vs evil is at the forefront of this barren landscape and the catastrophic results of modern technology are seen through the actions of those who have survived. Popalypt1c stars Jason Britt, Nick D’Alberto, David Dickens, Anes Hasi, Abel Kidane, Skye LaFontaine, Daniel Palma, Alyssa Weldon and Caiti Wiggins.
Welcome witches and warlocks,
I had the great pleasure of attending Zombie Joe's Presents: CAMP WHITSIT and figured I would offer up my thoughts for my fellow immersive enthusiasts. To best describe the proceedings, I will turn to the description provided on Zombie Joe's website:
"Counselors guide eager and courageous campers throughout a haunted rite of passage that is whimsical, freakishly-strange, psychedelic...and filled with worldly merit!"
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it wouldn’t be Christmas time without the jolly holiday theatrics from our friends at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater. If you’ve been reading Nightmarish Conjurings for awhile, then you are familiar with my undying love of Zombie Joe’s Blood Alley. There is something about that show that just speaks to me in a way that few others have and is always a performance I can’t wait to attend. Now that the holidays are upon us, Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater wants to help you get into the Christmas spirit with their Blood Alley Christmas show and let me tell you, you’ll never look at Santa Claus the same again.
Here ye, here ye! Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre is bringing new delights our way with DEVILED, a horror-theatre experience about two sisters who open a portal between Earth and Hell. For those new to Zombie Joe's, you will find the material riveting. For those of you who are hardcore Urban Death or Blood Alley fans, you will find similar notes in DEVILED, but do not be fooled! DEVILED is very much its own separate universe and does not attend to the same comedic appetites many of us have when we trot our way to ZJU.
If you are familiar with my writings, then you know how much of a fan I am of Zombie Joe's BLOOD ALLEY performances, as their first one was my introduction into the dark and macabre world of Zombie Joe's Underground Theater. With that said, when I heard that there would be a new show, simply titled BLOOD ALLEY 3, I was beside myself with joy. As much as I love the other shows that perform at Zombie Joe's, I always felt much more connected to how morbid BLOOD ALLEY could be as well as how it always seemed to push the envelope of what was acceptable in these immersive performances.
The first show that I ever went to at Zombie Joe's Underground was "Blood Alley" back in March 2016 and I was left feeling speechless and amazed. Since then, I have attended every horror show that Zombie Joe's has offered and each time I walk away learning something more while having a deeper appreciation for performance art. When I found out that ZJU was going to be putting on a Christmas special of "Blood Alley", I couldn't get my hands on tickets fast enough. Not only was I incredibly intrigued with how they were going to put together such a shocking show set to the tune of one of the happiest holidays, but I also wanted to feel the emotions I felt upon seeing Blood Alley that first time. I knew going in that nothing could beat my experience the first time I went to the show, but I can confirm upon leaving that it was just as good as I expected it to be.
There are many shows and events to attend in Los Angeles, and if there is one thing I've learned this Halloween season is that LA is a mecca for all things horror and Halloween related. This past year I've had the honor of attending many of Zombie Joe's Urban Death show, but the one I kept hearing about, the one I was looking forward to the most, was there Halloween show - Tour of Terror. Not only would this show have Zombie Joe's signature "Urban Death" touch to it, but there would also be an added surprise - their own "haunted maze" which led 2-3 people down a dark and winding hallway into the performance space. This element was not only fun, but downright creepy, as it allowed the viewer to come face to face with individuals performing acts from the deepest recesses of our nightmares. In all honesty, this set up, this maze, was more effective at scaring me than most well-known haunts that I go to. For that, I applaud the team behind this because the whole experience was chilling and unsettling, and what more do you want to feel than that during the spookiest time of the year?
Have you ever been to a party where you feel like there was tension in the air? Better yet, have you been to a gathering where you had an inclining that things were about to go terribly, terribly wrong? In the latest Zombie Joe show, TOGETHER, we the audience get to participate in a production where things don't go as planned and we lay witness to devastating consequences.
Something that I've always appreciate about Zombie Joe's shows is the use of light vs. dark. I've always been intrigued by his performers abilities to set up a scene in pitch black with very little guidance. In Zombie Joe's newest show, BRAVE THE DARK, the use of light vs. dark once again plays a pivotal role. BRAVE THE DARK is an immersive experience in which the participants are led throughout the building only by a faint lantern held by a ghostly woman. As we are shown around we encounter vignettes depicting modern day horrors and hidden secrets, and unlike Zombie Joe's other shows, where we sit and watch the action unfold, we are thrown into the pit to become part of the act.
URBAN DEATH: CLASSICS is the newest show from the infamous Zombie Joe and Jana Wimer. Best described as “a signature horror production that dives deep into the depths of inexplicable horrors, unfathomable monstrosities, and the disturbed spirits that walk among us” this show will leave you feeling confused, horrified, and maybe even changed for the better.