TV Live- Twilight Zone Meets Theater

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All photos by Adam Neubauer

Imagine a strange and horrifying world. In this universe, time can be bent, the dead can return, and irony reigns supreme. Here, characters find themselves at a crossroads between the mundane and the downright bizarre. No, it’s not The Twilight Zone. It’s TV Live.

TV Live is a short evening of mini plays reminiscent of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Night Gallery, and Tales From the Darkside. Each story is introduced by a Rod Serling type character played by Michele Danyn.

The first play follows a young nurse (Bonnyjean Hoffert) as she attempts to help a patient with multiple personalities. As she assists a sweet  young patient, she must also face his killer persona (both played by Tucker Matthews). Always waiting near by is lobotomy happy doctor (Mark Motyl). Written by Andy Shultz and directed by Adam Neubauer, the piece is a creative tribute to the asylum based thrillers of the 60s like Shock Corridor.

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The next segment, written by Steven Alloway and directed by JC Gafford  concerns time travel, romance, and betrayal. The story revolves around  a young actress (Katie Grace Hansen) playing a role on a sci-fi television show. It quickly becomes apparent that it’s more than just a role. She must unravel her feelings for her showrunner/former lover (Sam Horrilleno) and also deal with her wacky costar (David Kaufman). While I was entranced by the plot, I didn’t feel the performances did the writing justice. I commend all three actors for putting forth an honorable effort, but the emotions didn’t seem to be there.

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The third and strongest piece of the night is a bittersweet tale by Caroline Muniak and directed by Sebastian Munoz. This testament to everlasting love centers on a woman (Sherry Michaels) struggling with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. Her husband (Tom Jones) and his younger self (Nathan Pellow) lend all of their support. I won’t spoil it for you, but the ending sure tugs on the heartstrings in an honest, non Hallmark Channel way. All three actors are outstanding. It’s their performances that allow this piece to have such a heavy impact.

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The concluding play amps up the tension, by placing two criminals (Sasha Snow and Ali Graba) and their hostage (Skip Pipo) in a bank vault. Throw in two guns and some personal secrets and the situation turns ugly fast. This story, written by Adam Neubauer, and directed by James R. Eschom has a decent premise. However, the specific details of the plot aren’t made clear, which causes this thriller to fall flat. Without context, it’s difficult for me to feel invested in the relationships of these three characters. I’d almost like to see this story remade in a longer format to allow more time for things to develop.

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TV Live is a great ride for those who love classic episodic sci-fi. While, the show may not be completely even in quality, it’s never dull. I could tell that all involved brought grand amounts of care to create this endeavor. I imagine Rod Serling himself would be proud. Audiences have one more Sunday to catch TV Live in its current form. After that, the show will return with an all new show in the same format. For times and tickets, readers should visit fonprods.tix.com/schedule.aspx.

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Days of the Dead Los Angeles 2016

 Pulling up to a convention center and seeing several hearses parked out front, one might think that someone has died. To the horror world, it’s just the beginning of The Days of the Dead Los Angeles Horror Convention at the Burbank Marriot Convention Center. Being the huge horror nuts we are, the All Hallows’ Haunts team had to to and check things out.

 Like most conventions, you have a series of vendors specializing in certain goods that cater to the fan base. Obviously with this being a horror convention, there was a mass collection of horror collectibles, replicas, movies and clothes. We felt like  children with A.D.D. with so much awesomeness to look at. We didn’t know what to look at first. May we just say that the horror art work was elaborate, impressive, and gorgeous.

 What would any convention be without special guests and celebrities? Headling the event was Saw star Tobin Bell, and Tony Todd of Candyman. Both had excellent panels hosted by Christopher M. Jimenez of Sinful Celluloid (@SinfulCelluloid) and were quite informative. Bell’s panel had quite the surprise for the audience as he hinted that a new Saw movie might be in the works. Bell went on to say “Don’t make any plans for Halloween 2017.”

 One of the most important panels of the entire weekend was the Etheria Films panel, which consisted of all female horror directors. They spoke of the importance of women film makers and how crucial this movement truly is to the film world and to our culture.

As awesome as Days of the Dead is, the convention has some flaws. There was not nearly enough to do or see to warrant the $35 ticket for admission. There were very few panels, the vendor’s hall was small and over crowded (As the vendors had to share the same space as the celebrity autograph tables), and parking was ridiculously expensive ($21 for the day!).

 The worst part was that there were so many fans. It was too crowded. We have to wonder if the convention organizers didn’t think they would have the turnout they did. There were definitely some missed opportunities at Days of the Dead. Hopefully they will see how much potential there is for the convention and how big it could be.

We pray this won’t be the last Days of the Dead Horror Convention in Los Angeles and it will get bigger in the years to come. Overall, we had a great time, but we wanted more.

The Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum

 Recently, All Hallows’ Haunts took a trip to the grand opening of the Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum. The Mystic Museum is a new gift store and museum, created by the owners of the original Bearded Lady vintage shop. Both locations specialize in the weird and the downright creepy.

 

 When we arrived at the Mystic Museum, there were already a large number of people waiting to get in. Once we were admitted, we were overwhelmed by the amount of cool stuff. In one corner  sat a custom Bearded Lady fortune teller machine. Our other favorite gift shop items included the hand made ghost plushies, the Mystic Museum shirts, and the mirrors with horned frames.

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 After we finished checking out all of the cool merchandise, we hit up the snack table. All of the snacks were themed to match the ouija board gallery. There was a ouija board cake and planchette shaped cookies. We washed it down with butterscotch flavored tea.

Inside the museum portion of the shop, we saw a wide variety of ouija boards. There was an old ouija board that looked like the real deal. Then there were novelty versions, with themes like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Ozzy Osbourne. In addition, there was also a large amount of ouija art. There were paintings of psychics, and sculptures of ghosts. One of our favorite pieces was a rabbit drooling ectoplasm.

 

 The Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum has a surprising amount to offer, considering it’s located in such a small space. It’s a great place for lovers of the macabre to hang out for an hour or so. When we were there, there were so many people that we didn’t get the opportunity to examine things as closely as we would’ve liked. We’ll definitely be going back to get a better look.

 

 Both the Bearded Lady Vintage shop and the Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum are located on Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank.

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