URBAN DEATH at Zombie Joes Underground Theatre Group presents URBANDEATH URBANDEATH.com ZJU Theater graphic LIVE HORROR on STAGE Saturday night 11pm nights Halloween Terror Fright urbandead Avant-Garde Performance zombiejoes.com zombiejoes zombiejoe dead every Performing Arts Play Production zombies 4850 Lankershim North Hollywood CA San Fernando 91601 Valley NoHo SFV Los Angeles California Joe's LA WEEKLY Acting Arts Drama Entertainment Events Experimental Festival Entertainment Live Show Entertainment Lankershim North Hollywood CA Valley SFV Los Angeles California 91601 818-202-4120 Denise Devine Jana Wimer Christopher Reiner play games poem rates Theater Review the latest Urban Death Extravaganza from Zombie Joes Underground by Lyle Zimskind for LAist
You’ll definitely know right away whether you’re about to love the Zombie Joe’s Underground theater group's or whether you’d rather be somewhere - anywhere - else once its first shocking image assaults your senses mere moments after the house lights dim.
But either way, by that point it will be too late to escape. Because before each performance of this super-fun and very cool, but genuinely no-kidding scary production begins, director Jana Wimer conspicuously pulls a large wooden slab in front of the black box theater space's exit door, thereby locking the audience in the room for the next 60 or so minutes. It’s like a haunted house ride: once you’re strapped in, there’s no way to get out until it’s all over.
Actually the whole show unfolds rather like an extended haunted house tour for mature audiences only - a Disneyland ride for deviants - as one brief, creepy wordless mini-scene relentlessly follows another, all separated by blackouts that envelop not just the stage area but the entire room in absolute darkness. If you’re really afraid of the dark, this might not be the show for you. Unless you want to be really afraid.) During these seconds in the void, you feel like you’re moving from one domain to another, perhaps still trembling from the last horror even as you wait for the next tableau or other-worldly noise to startle or unsettle you.
URBANDEATH is the seventh installment in ZJU’s ongoing Urban Death series of theatrical frights (past production titles include Valentine's Massacre, Blood Transfusion, Tortured Abyss, and A New Darkness. The evening’s 42 scenes of torture, murder, twisted sexual fantasy, childhood fears come to life, paranormal catastrophe, and monsters previously unknown to man are generally linked by the thematic implication of a foreboding dreamscape, although each is self-contained and culminates in its own individual payoff. Several moments of comic relief break up the tension, but even these are macabre and charismatically cringe-inducing (you may never want to wait in a rest room line again, just saying). All eight members of the “Kick Ass Urban Death Ensemble” have their standout moments. And no less a star of the show than any of the performers, sound-and-lights man Adam Neubauer mines director Wimer’s staging for maximum shock value and chills. Seriously, you will scream, you will gasp, you will squirm. Children, the faint of heart, pregnant women, anyone about to attend a funeral: this might not be your best bet right now. On the other hand, if you’ve ever thought that Marilyn Manson’s act or vampire movies represent the cutting edge of theatrical horror, you really shouldn’t miss the chance to take in some considerably more disturbing fare in this very adult Addams Family milieu.
The unfortunate catch, though, is that there are only foursix more performances of “” in its current run, playing at 8:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Which is actually kind of unbelievable. Because this show is seriously good enough to be a permanent attraction for armchair Goths, theatrical thrill-seekers, and anyone with an appreciation for bleeding ears, bitter amputees, biohazards and all manner of excellent old-fashioned bump-in-the-night entertainment.
Urban Death: Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group 4850 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood
The good loony people at Zombie Joe’s Underground are at it again with the sixth installment of their smash hit play, Urban Death. Every year, a director and a handful of actors get together and come up with 30-40 wordless horror vignettes in this small non profit North Hollywood black box theatre. This year their theme of Urban Death spotlights some of those crazy things that happen in ones head during slumber time. Expect lots of blood, screaming, laughing, skin, and the occasional blue monster. This being a limited run and a very small theater, it’s suggested that you call ahead of time to make your reservation at 818-202-4120. Get there early for a good seat, and please, for your own sake, don’t sit in the weird side seats. Just take my word for it.
An LAist favorite, Urban Death is back at Zombie Joe's Underground theatre in the NoHo Arts District starting Saturday and running through Halloween. Earlier this year, we described the Spring show as "super-fun and very cool, but genuinely no-kidding scary." Quotes from A Bull - The Blog of Abel Horwitz
"...it is something disturbing" "made me uncomfortable in a good way."
“Going into the dark corners of your brain and cleaning out the cobwebs.”
"It tapped into deep seeded fears and emotions within me."
"I was thrust into the present and complex (and scary) world of adulthood."
"I was disturbed. I was aroused. I was confused. Frightened. Overjoyed. Stunned."
"The feeling of fear washes out all other thoughts in my mind."
"There’s a safety in allowing oneself permission to get scared in a place like this."
" 'Urban Death' is special. It’s disturbing. Fucked up. Intense. Too intimate to ever be comfortable." "an hour of a disturbing performance..."
"... by Zombie Joe, a man whose theater continues to rock my world."
"I know I need to see it again,
and I know I need more time to wrap my brain around what I saw..."
"...this show will haunt my dreams ... sticking with me for a long time."