Monster Pictures Guide to the Arts: Musicals
It was announced this week that Matt Smith, Doctor Who star and human Easter Island Statue, will be getting all twinkly-toed and falsetto as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho: The Musical, due to start in London in December 2013. Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, the thought of Patrick doing the soft shoe shuffle whilst taking pot shots at the cheap seats with a nail gun and belting out Whitney Houston songs, certainly brings us cheer of an evening. But whilst the thought of basing a musical on a book which Germany deemed harmful to minors and seen as a bit rum in Queensland does raise eyebrows, you gotta give it to everybody on board for at least giving it… a stab (hyuck, hyuck).
We’re feeling pretty theatrical ourselves and as such, we present to you five more unusual choices for musicals. Without a Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark in sight.
And a 1, and a 2, and a 1-2-3…
‘I’m the modern heir to Prometheus/bringing fire to maaan’ sings Dr Herbert West in this tribute to Stuart Gordon’s 1985 schlock-fest, which Gordon has also co-written. H.P. Lovecraft himself denounced his serialised story Herbert West- Re-Animator, calling it his poorest work. As such, he couldn’t possibly have dreamt that one day it would become part of an award winning comedy/rock musical whose highlights include: a dancing cat corpse; a splatter zone in the first 8 rows of the theatre; a tribute to Michael Jackson’s Thriller and yes, a musical number where a disembodied head gives, ahem, head.
The musical has received some pretty glowing reviews with Variety describing it as ‘not since ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ has a screamfest tuner so deftly balanced seriousness and camp’ and it even made its way to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year.
Christ, imagine what they could do to The Call of Cthulu!?
Conceived in 2003 in Ontario, Canada, Evil Dead: The Musical combines the first two films in the Evil Dead trilogy into a rollicking, deliberately camp simple tale of kids going into the woods and getting cut the fuck up. All to the tune of ditties such as What the Fuck was that?, Ode to an Accidental Stabbing and the heart-breaking All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons.
Given full approval by Sam Raimi and the legendary Bruce Campbell, the show has gone from a tiny workshop performance to a full Las Vegas show that’s not due to end till 2014. Truly this is the show that will not die. In fact, during their early days Ontario was hit by a two day blackout, the crew and actors carried on the show outside the theatre using acoustic instruments with the audience’s cars providing the lighting. In the words of Ash, ‘Groovy.’
Hey, we all like a laugh, but musicals aren’t just there to make you giggle! They’re art damn you. So let’s take it down a notch with 1988’s Carrie: The Musical. Trying to write a moving and haunting musical about a book where a woman has tampons thrown at her, then pig’s blood before ultimately killing everyone proved to be hard work. The show was plagued by numerous technical difficulties. Apparently fake stage blood messes up stage mics. Whodathunkit? The show was extremely expensive as well; costing $8 million to set it up at Broadway. Which in 2013 economics is like a gazillion dollars. Opening on 12th May 1988, it closed three days later. Sad emoticon.
25 years later and, like THAT scene from the end of the film, the show has pushed away the topsoil to start again with an off-broadway revival that should see it playing in Los Angeles in 2014. Go Carrie go!
When you think theatre, you think spotlights, pazazz, roar of the crowd, the smell of the grease paint. You think of a hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength. That’s what Lloyd Kauffman, the head of z-flick company Troma, thought too. Which is why he okayed a musical based on The Toxic Crusader. Any fears that this would go the po-faced and, some would argue, unsuccessful route of Carrie or Spider-Man are immediately dashed when you scan the playbook and see songs like Thank God, She’s Blind and Bitch/Slut/Liar/Whore.
Playing loose and ready with the film’s plot, this ‘feel-goo musical of the year’ (their pun, not ours) has been nominated for numerous awards over the years and is referred to by the ever classy New York Times as ‘Exuberantly silly.’ Oh and did we mention that David Bryon from TV’s popular, Bon Jovi wrote the music? Yep. Turns out even members of Bon Jovi need an outlet from playing Livin’ on a Prayer.
What’s the complete opposite of a silent German expressionist horror movie from the 1920s? Obviously, it’s an English language rock opera from the 90s! What are you? Thick or something? Originally recorded as a concept album before being brought to the stage, it was written by Bernard J Taylor, who has a penchant for turning other people’s works into musicals (Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Much Ado About Nothing). Taylor set out to make Nosferatu a tragic figure. Not in a Francis Ford Coppola, Annie Lennox singing over the end credits way, but as a scientist who gives up on life. Yep, he turned him into a nerd.
Taylor said ‘I have avoided any reference to “Dracula” and the creature is referred to only by the name “Nosferatu”. This, according to him, allowed them to take ‘the story as far as possible from the Dracula that most people have come to know’ Which sound artistically more dynamic then Nosferatu’s director, F.W. Murnau doing it because he didn’t want to pay for the copyright.
There you have it, five musicals based on properties that wouldn’t necessarily be people’s first choices. So, what do you reckon to Monster Pictures producing a musical? Let us know what you’d like to see.