Many times throughout the year, I am grateful to have a place to go to fill my horror needs at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, a place I’ve learned to call home these past two and a half years. I always look forward to their horror performances and I rarely, if ever, find myself disappointed. As Halloween rapidly approaches, I’ve learned that I can always depend on Zombie Joe’s to put on a performance unlike anyone else. For the spookiest season of the year, Zombie Joe, along with co-creator/co-director Jana Wimer, brings back Urban Death: Tour of Terror, and it was everything that I could have asked for and more.
Upon arrival, guests are informed that they will be going through a dark maze that will lead them to the main room for the main performances. We are given a small flashlights and groups of 3-4 people enter at a time. For the next few minutes, guests walk through a winding labyrinth of black trash bags designed to be narrow corridors that house unspeakable horrors. Whether it was a screaming clown, a girl locked in a box, or some unholy creature with unnaturally long fingers, there was something in that space that was sure to unsettle even the most hardcore haunt fans.
Upon exiting the corridor of terrifying horrors, we enter a semi-large room where a lone woman stands playing the violin. It’s such a shock from what we have just encountered in the maze that it took me a minute to adjust. However, the simple music, expertly played by a woman exuding sadness and fear, begins to adjust and become more rapid. Whatever she is feeling on the inside is coming out through the notes of each string she hits and it soon becomes apparent that the show we are about to watch is going to be much more unnerving than what we experienced in the darkness of the maze.
Urban Death is known for pushing the envelope with the subject matter that is performed. I’ve seen many of these shows, but there is something about the Halloween one that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand tall. We, as the audience, bear witness to horrific acts from both supernatural entities and humanity. As each vignette is played out, we are visually assaulted by subjects ranging from addiction, self-harm, murder, rape, and more. As I’ve always said, any horror related show from Zombie Joe’s is social commentary on what is going on in the world and it’s done in a way that is both unapologetic and raw. It’s made to make you feel uncomfortable, it’s made to shine a light on areas that many try to tuck away, it’s made to pinpoint the secrets that people keep, and I applaud everyone for putting their heart and soul into these performances, knowing how hard the subject material is.
Once the show has ended, we are then asked to go back into the labyrinth of doom the way that we came. This time around, we meet some new monstrosities that were missed the first time; however, I once again I ran into my long fingered hellion who made my skin crawl and still gives me chills when I think about it. After we exited we were treated to some Halloween candy, which is a nice way to shake off the terror we just experienced. Overall, Urban Death: Tour of Terror is a must see especially if you are looking for something a bit darker this Halloween season. Make note that it does have to do with a lot of adult content and subject matter that may be unsuitable for children and/or is triggering. With that said, I would urge all of you in the Southern California area to check out the show and experience a performance unlike anything else. It’ll rock you, it’ll change you, and you’ll leave wanting more.
Urban Death: Tour of Terror will have performances on Friday and Saturday nights from now until Oct. 28 as well as Oct. 30 and Oct. 31st. Times are 8pm, 9pm, 10pm, 10:45pm and 11:30pm. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.zombiejoes.tix.com, www.urbandeath.com, or www.zombiejoes.com.
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