Over the past few years I’ve had the good fortune of experiencing many of the Halloween haunts throughout the Los Angeles area. Each is distinct and brings its own twisted sense of horror/craziness to the Halloween season. Being a haunts junkie I love and revel in them in all. But every year there is one or two that I especially look forward to, and this year, once again, Zombie Joe’s Urban Death Tour of Terror is on that list! Inspired by Grand Guignol and Theatre of Cruelty (don’t worry I had to look those up too), Urban Death is part maze/part performance, that takes a macabre and unsettling approach to raising the hairs on the back of your neck.
When I say this I don’t mean some monster lurking around the corner waiting to scare you, I mean movements and behavior that seem unnatural and demented, coming from people that are all too real. These guys really elevate the creep factor with visuals that buck convention and embrace taboos. And that is why I come here, to see what others aren’t willing to show. The vignettes are shocking but are not done for shock value; they are not trying to sell themselves on offending people. However, their subject matter is dark but more disturbing than that, very topical, almost too topical. In fact, there was a moment or two where I said, “Whoa, did they just show that?” But then I remembered, this is what they do; not out of malice, but out of art imitating life. Thankfully, it’s done professionally and brilliantly. As always, the performances were fantastic and the physicality of their movements truly amazing if not somewhat haunting.
Because of the subject matter I can’t recommend this for most teenagers; in fact, I’m sure many adults will have reservations about what they’ll see. But please don’t take that as a critique or condemnation as I highly recommend this experience! I just think it’s better to forewarn the public about something they might not like than have them castigate the cast and producers for what they’ve come up with. These people have put their hearts and souls into creating something that is not only unique but well executed even if it can be somewhat alarming. For $15, I can’t imagine getting a better bang for your buck when it comes to the haunting experience. Urban Death runs Fridays and Saturdays through November 5th. For tickets and more information head over to: http://www.zombiejoes.com/.
Zombie Joe’s Urban Death Tour of Terror is rated PG-17 and earns