Saturday, November 12, 2011

Jason goes to the Hypnodrome to see SHOCKTOBERFEST: FEAR OVER FRISCO

I do love me some Thrillpeddlers! And this year for SHOCKTOBERFEST they've teamed up with the Czar of Noir Eddie Muller for a trio of short plays set in San Francisco (all written by Muller.)

We start with a musical number "Fear Over Frisco" taking us through the various decades of debauchery and death in San Francisco. Lyrics by Eddie Muller, music by Cockette and Thrillpeddler Scrumbly Koldewyn.

The first play is The Grand Inquisitor. I had earlier seen this story in short movie form, but it works even better on stage. An old woman living alone gets an inquisitive visitor. Seems some young woman had bought some old books and found tons of cryptic scribbles in the margins. Turns out the books had been owned by the old woman's husband, and the symbols might just be important clues to a famous old San Francisco mystery.

Then a little musical interlude of Johnny Mercer's "I Remember You" while they changed sets for the next play. That play was An Obvious Explanation, and "I Remember You" is a perfect lead-in, because it centers around a man with amnesia. He has escaped from the hospital with just an address, which turns out to be his own home. His brother is there, with a story of robbery and murder, and an important question--where's the money? This was the comedy show of the night (horror-comedy-horror is the traditional Grand Guignol "Scottish shower") and it was hilarious. And it featured the best surprise of the night.

Then we had about a 20 minute intermission. Time to get another beer before the finale.

Post intermission, we came back to a musical performance of "Pack up You Sins and Go to the Devil" by Irving Berlin.

And finally, the closing play was The Drug, adapted from the 1927 Gran Guignol play "La Drogue" by René Barton. A party at an inspector's house. We learn the details of a troublesome case involving an artist who was blinded by his lover. And we learn just who that spiteful, jealous lover might be. And then we sink into an opium dream, gouge out some eyeballs, and have some scares in the dark. Awesome!

There's one more weekend of this show. I don't know if there are any tickets left, but you can find out at

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