Sunday, February 17, 2008

Horror Musicals?

"The Musical" musicals. You know what I'm talking about. Name any animal, vegetable or mineral, add a colon and the words "the musical" and bang-o, you've got a self-conscious safety net. A production that announces to the world, "Hey, only a CHUMP would endeavor to create a musical in the age of wireless Internet and cordless Bluetooth headsets! Rest assured, though this film/theater musical does in fact contain songs, the cheeky self-awareness of the title should clue you in on the joke!"

This works especially well if "THE MUSICAL" is suffixed to something one would NEVER suspect you'd write a *Good Lord! choke* MUSICAL about...something like EVIL DEAD.

I was as excited as any Evil Dead nerd when I first heard about this. The Evil Dead films are chock full of outrageous humor! A bawdy musical based on their slapstick bloodshed sounds delightful! Then I saw this clip on YouTube:

This is all I need to know.

Like all "THE MUSICAL" musicals, the sneering contempt for the musical form is also an excuse for the music itself to perform only the most perfunctory tasks of rhythm and melody. When an actor randomly asks if anyone wants to play ping-pong so that a simple lyrical rhyme can be completed, the musical end of the musical has FAILED.

Worse than that, it has FAILED IRONICALLY, so that the low-expectations-havin' motherfuckers can roll their eyes on cue and say WHAT WERE YOU EXPECTING, A GREAT WORK OF ART?!? IT'S "EVIL DEAD" THE MUSICAL!!!

Oh, how convenient. Horror movies are an especially disrespected part of American culture, so how is poking fun at them in the least bit rebellious or iconoclastic?

The real reason I'm bitching isn't that the songs aren't good enough, it's that their lousy quality is indicative of the overall lack of respect given the source material.

Today everything is ironic, and you may have noticed, nothing is no longer any god damned fun. The truly impressive endeavor for an "Evil Dead" musical would have been to create something that pays tribute to the source material while actually adapting it into a musical theater format rather than lampooning all those components with generic music and meta-corny jokes.

Generic is the key word here. The songs are generic so that the "musical" end of "the musical" is part of the joke. The other part is Evil Dead itself. Those who genuinely love those films know that the cheesy humor is intentional, and to attempt a clever mockery of intentionally cheesy humor only reveals the thickness of the mockers.

I'm going to go so far as to venture the authors of THE MUSICAL are complete and total ignoramuses based on the line from that clip when someone asks the audience "Hey, did this medieval thing just come out of nowhere?"

No, you fucking morons. The "medieval thing" was hinted at in the first movie and the second film even shows Professor Knowby going to a medieval castle to find the Necronomicon. It doesn't show up in Evil Dead II without any foreshadowing whatsoever.

I don't think those fucking morons must have watched the Evil Dead movies more than once before they decided to be hilarious and write THE MUSICAL based on how silly these dumb movies are, and take advantage of the 25+ years of cult fandom that have built up around them.

Ultra-speculative word from the good ol' radio boys at DEADPIT.COM (link just added to the sidebar) is that these fucks are trying to get their mitts on George Romero next, for a LIVING DEAD TRILOGY: THE MUSICAL. We can imagine, can't we? Asides from the cast to the audience about the shortcomings, about the most obvious quirks of each film? More generic tunes? The few truly comic moments of Dawn and Day of the Dead camped up beyond all recognition? A complete lack of effort towards staging truly scary scenes? The idea of a zombie play is full of claustrophobic possibilities, but not from these guys.

Based off the ED: TM tracklisting...

1. Book of the Dead
2. Cabin in the Woods
3. Stupid B****
4. Housewares Employee
5. Evil Trees
6. It Won't Let Us Leave
7. Look Who's Evil Now
8. What the F**k Was That?
9. Join Us
10. Good Old Reliable Jake (Intro)
11. Good Old Reliable Jake
12. Housewares Employee (Reprise)
13. Death is a B****
14. I'm Not A Killer
15. Evil Puns
16. Bit Part Demon
17. Good..Bad..I'm the Guy with the Gun
18. All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons
19. Ode to an Accidental Stabbing
20. Boomstick

I think I can predict the track list for LIVING DEAD TRILOGY THE MUSICAL:

1) Going to See Our Dead Mother
2) Stop it, Johnny
3) They're Coming to Get You, Barbera!
4) Bad-Ass Black-Ass Mo-Fo (Ben's song)
5) Hangin' With Mr. Cooper
6) I'm Getting Gas!
7) Don't Shoot The Black Guy
8) There's No More Room In Hell (Dawn of the Dead overture)
9) Bad-Ass Black-Ass Mo-Fo Part II (Peter's song)
10) Consumerism Is Fab
11) Uh Oh, I'm Preggo! (Fran's Theme)
12) Keep On Truckin'
13) We're Bad to the Bone (Biker's Theme)
14) A Man's Mall Is His Castle
15) Heeelllooooooo, Is Anyone There? Heeeeellloooooooo!!! (Day of the Dead overture)
16) Growin' Pot at the Bunker
17) Can't We All Just Get Along?
18) I'm a Talking Zombie (Bub's song)
19) Rhodes Scholar
20) We're All Zombies Now (finale)

Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, we have this.

Not only is Cronenberg adapting his own material, and not only is the film's original composer Howard Shore returning to expand upon his brilliant score, but they went and called the thing an OPERA.

No one seeking post-modern irony brownie points would call their work an opera for fear that the protective parody bubble would burst. I think these guys mean it. I think they're going to take the film's tragic story and do their best to adapt it a tragic, heartbreaking stage opera. And I think I'm going to see it. Howard Shore's score is a big reason why the ending of the film still makes me cry.

And I don't think I'll have to cringe through a tarantella called "Help Me," which is exACTly what those ED:TM fucks would do.

[i]UPDATE 3-23-08[/i]

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre THE MUSICAL. HA. HA.

1 comment:

Enrique Acosta said...

I actually wrote my horror musical out of my contempt for other horror musicals. I was sick of seeing people play up the camp and not try at all to disturb or scare the audience. It might be ironic that I choose a camp classic but we decided to play it straight as I hate self aware camp. As an audience member I don't want to be nodded and winked at. I love this post and am said I didn't see it 3 years ago when it was published.