Horror Movies We'd Love to See as Musicals
Nancy Lynn Miller
As our colleague Robrt Pela noted in his review of Evil Dead: The Musical (running through Saturday, July 3 at Phoenix Theatre's Little Theatre), the horror camp subgenre may never die, but even a movie like Sam Raimi's Evil Dead can become a "charming new production."
Here are four other classic horror movies we've re-imagined as super campy musicals.
Carol Anne is a chilling soprano in this operatic techno take on Tobe Hooper's 1982 horror classic about a girl who gets sucked through the family TV and into a world of angry, lost spirits. The highly kinetic dance numbers include flying books, toys, clowns, and Sarah McLachlan, who hovers in a cloud of special effects and calls to Carol Anne to go toward the light. Featuring a collaborative musical score by Danny Elfman and Kraftwerk, Poltergeist: The Musical includes such electrifying numbers as "They're Heeeeere," "Buildin' Over a Burial Ground," and "Watch out for that Giant Tree Coming Through the Window to Grab You, Kid."
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
One of the goriest movies of the '70s is revived as a heavy metal odyssey through the backwoods. This brutal yarn about a group of stereotypically stupid young folks who stumble into the home of a family of cannibals and get butchered is brought to life onstage with an equally brutal musical score composed by death metal band Cannibal Corpse. Searing power guitar chords and guttural vocals on numbers like "Meat-Hook Boogie" and "Grandpa's Coming to Eat You for Dinner" will chill audiences, while the chase/dance numbers featuring Leatherface head banging with a chainsaw are positively concussive.
Get ready for a whole new take on this 1974 flick about a young girl possessed by demons. Lil' Kim plays Regan MacNeil in this hardcore hip-hop adaptation, featuring the most fierce dance numbers ever seen on stage. From 360-degree head spins to running backwards down the stairs and vomiting blood, MacNeil's moves in this musical even make the priests dance. Featuring the uh, lyrical talents of Insane Clown Posse, The Exorcist: The Musical adds new depth to demonic possession, with songs like "Pea Soup in Ya Face," "My Mom Does What in Hell?" and "Cross Grabbin', Crotch Stabbin.'"
Children of the Corn
This backwoods bluegrass rendition of the 1984 film about a rural Nebraska town run by murderous children includes banjo plucking even more perverse and sinister than the "Dueling Banjos" in Deliverance. Highlights of this stage adaptation include creepy preacher kid Isaac Chroner's drawling speech about a demon, "He Who Walks Behind the Rows," which turns into a malevolent hokey-pokey dance in the cornfields. Every time an adult puts an arm or leg in to "shake it all about," children lop them off with scythes.
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about upcoming performances, exhibitions, openings and special events happening in the Phoenix art and theater scene.