Rubber Chicken resurrects ‘Evil Dead’ musicalAs is the theme with big-budget horror movie sequels, Rubber Chicken’s second staging of “Evil Dead: The Musical” has roughly the same storyline but is rendered “new” by the fact that there’s a whole lot more gore this go-round.
As is the theme with big-budget horror movie sequels, Rubber Chicken’s second staging of “Evil Dead: The Musical” has roughly the same storyline but is rendered “new” by the fact that there’s a whole lot more gore this go-round.
“It’s a lot bloodier this year,” gushed Minden Hultstrom, who is reprising her role as Ash’s love interest Annie. “People who sit in the splatter zone are in for a lot of surprises — which I cannot share — but I can say it is a lot bloodier, which will make it a lot more exciting. We also have some really big dance numbers this time; there’s a lot more choreography.”
And she should know: Hultstrom is also, once again, taking on the role as show choreographer.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves … did she say “splatter zone”? As Hultstrom explained it to the Budgeteer, patrons actually pay extra to sit close to the stage so they can get covered in fake blood.
You know, most productions’ main concerns are with lighting, etc. Not this one; Hultstrom said of utmost concern for this musical was “How do we soak the crowd without wrecking the floor?”
It’s OK, though: The audience doesn’t get the worst of it.
“The blood onstage needs to be really sticky so it stays right where we have it on our bodies,” Hultstrom explained, “but when we get it out in the house, we don’t want it to be so sticky that at the intermission they’re like ‘This is disgusting.’ It’s a little more diluted by water.”
“The stuff that actually goes on the audience doesn’t have the stickiness,” added Nate St. Germain, who is returning as Ash (played by Bruce Campbell in the original film trilogy). “It’s more color; what sprays directly on me and the rest of the cast is mostly syrup.”
Believe it or not, most of the show’s research time was spent on finding the ideal recipes for fake blood.
“There were probably four of us on it,” Hultstrom said. “We would take volunteers from the cast outside in a white shirt and throw things at them and see how it dried and if it stained … so we had all these things that we had to check out. We finally came up with something that worked for us.”
It might’ve worked a little too well.
“The thing that happened to me last year that made me really laugh,” St. Germain said, “was that, probably about a week after we were done with the run, I had showered and went to work and I leaned over and water came out of my ear and it was red.”
The two said that, once each show wraps every night, priority No. 1 is removing all the fake blood.
“Generally we go home and get ourselves cleaned up as quickly as possible,” St. Germain said, “because it is so sticky and horrifically uncomfortable.”
Like the best bloodbaths your local video store has to offer, the cast of “Evil Dead: The Musical” gets covered in the red stuff.
“If you’re sitting in the splatter zone,” Hultstrom said, “it’s fun because you get sprayed then you can take the shirt off and it’s like, Woo, we had a good time!
“We like fall in it, we roll in it, it gets in our mouths, it’s all over hair … we’re so covered in it in a bunch of uncomfortable places that we’re just done with it. As soon as we get home, we’re in the shower.”
It’s not surprising that Rubber Chicken decided to resurrect “Evil Dead: The Musical” for another run: Sam Raimi’s original film trilogy — 1981’s “The Evil Dead,” 1987’s “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn” and “Army of Darkness,” which followed six years later— has quite the cult following.
And those cinematic adventures’ respective charms didn’t escape the leads in Rubber Chicken’s version of the musical adaptation (which got its start in Toronto in ’03).
“The first film actually scared me really bad the first time I saw it,” St. Germain admitted with a laugh. “But then with the second one I was like, ‘I don’t understand what is going on’ — because it’s like a remake of the first one, almost. And then I saw the third one and I was like, ‘Oh, I get it, it’s funny.’”
Unintentionally, at least, he added.
“I watched them a long time ago, too, and it was because I liked Bruce Campbell,” Hultstrom said. “I thought they were funny too — especially the last one; I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’
“… But I still cover my eyes when the Kandarian demons pop out.”
Indeed, when this year’s cast got together to watch the original films, Hultstrom said she had to cover her eyes even though she knew it was coming.
“We had Minden hiding and another girl screaming hysterically,” St. Germain added, causing both performers to laugh.
If you’re familiar with the film trilogy, St. Germain explained that the musical is based on the first two films primarily but includes quotes (and at least one scene) from “Army of Darkness.”
“Almost every line in the play is, in some form, from one of the three movies,” he said.
And you’ll no doubt recognize the play’s set (the cabin in the woods), which includes a copy of the iconic “Book of the Dead,” which St. Germain crafted himself.
“And I bought the chainsaw online,” he said. “It was just like a ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ prop and I literally, with a pair of pliers, ripped a hole in the back of it for me to stick my arm in it. Then I put a handle on the inside that I can hold onto — which is hard to do because I have like a sock covered in duct tape over my hand.
“So, by the end of the show, my hand is completely numb.”
NEWS TO USE
Rubber Chicken Theater is bringing back “Evil Dead: The Musical” every Friday and Saturday in October. Performances are at 7 p.m.; a special midnight performance will also be held Oct. 30. All performances at The Venue at Mohaupt Block, 2024 W. Superior St. Cost is $15 for regular seating, $25 for “splatter zone” seating (includes a commemorative T-shirt). Reserve tickets by calling 213-2780.