It seems like most of Guthrie is a ghost-town by the early evening. As an old steel sign swayed unsettlingly in the wind as the shadows grew longer on the walls with each passing light, a lone couple indifferently made out by a parked car while a black cat—okay, it was a tabby—crossed the street. It was all very cinematic.
Yeah, the whole town was under lock and key—the whole town that is except for the Pollard Theatre, 120 W. Harrison Ave.; as a mixture of theatre supporters and horror geeks mixed and mangled near the doorway, my date and I entered into the smoky lobby, atmospheric as all hell and ready to have our souls mutually swallowed.
And it made sense tonight: in a few minutes Evil Dead: The Musical was about to start, a live performance which I’ve heard is messier than a Gallagher show and, I’m sure, twice as bloody. Based on the notorious 1981 horror film—billed as the “ultimate experience in grueling horror”—this song and dance revamp has been touring most of the world since its start off-Broadway in 2003.
As we made our way into the ancient auditorium—we were seated behind the Splatter Zone, an area guaranteed to make sure you left covered in food dye and corn syrup—it struck me how much smaller it is than, say, the auditorium of my old high school; sadly, before the first cheap gore effect had even spurted off the stage and onto the front row, my date started to feel sick at her stomach, more than likely from the pre-show Queso Chili Pie.
The actual play is definitely more in line with supremely silly 1986 sequel Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn, with lead chin Ash (Wil Rogers) and his campy crew spending a random spring break at a rustic cabin that also happens to be home to the malevolent forces of ultimate evil, the Deadites, conjured through read-aloud passages from the Necronomicon, better known as the Book of the Dead.
While much of this was going on, however, my date was apparently in the bathroom puking her ever-loving guts out. Had I known, I probably would have entered into her own private Splatter Zone and held her recently shorn locks; in retrospect, I probably should have checked on her when the play reached intermission and she was nowhere to be found.
I guess I’m really not that good of a date.
But, still, as far as Evil Dead: The Musical goes, while it’s nowhere near the “next Rocky Horror” that the New York Times billed it as—the lyrics by George Reinblatt are not as clever as they think they are—for fans of the Sam Raimi trilogy (and, possibly, the recent Starz series), it truly is a fun take on the series and worth seeing at least once.
Back for the last half, as the finale neared, my date and I were a little bit bummed because none of the theatrical blood was even light spritzed in our general direction. But, as Ash ripped apart ever last Deadite on stage with his trusty chainsaw, a gratuitous amount of sticky grue was generously sprayed on my face and chest like a ten-dollar demonic hooker sex worker.
The next day, in the light of dawn, I ate a bit of the leftover Queso Chili Pie.