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BWW Blog: The Blend of Musical Theatre and Horror

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BWW Blog: The Blend of Musical Theatre and Horror

 

College can be extremely stressful sometimes, especially after midterms, which I just experienced last week. However, there are many ways to de-stress and unwind due to the pressure and trials of school and watching musical films are a perfect way to do just that and what better time of the year to do that than around Halloween time? There are so many amazing Halloween and horror films and surprisingly there are also a lot of horror musicals that are simply fantastic. Halloween is my favorite holiday and one of my deepest passions is musical theatre and the fact that there are plenty of musicals that incorporate horror is such a treat. If you're looking to unwind with a horror musical, then here are some of my favorites.

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1986)

What can be said about this movie that hasn't already been said? Little Shop of Horrors is one of my favorite musicals of all time. The movie and the 1982 Off-Broadway musical are both masterpieces in my eyes. Little Shop of Horrors is based off a musical that was based off a film that's about a flower shop where a nerdy, lovestruck worker named Seymour discovers a Venus flytrap that can talk and eats blood to grow. As Seymour falls in love with a fellow worker named Audrey, who has an abusive dentist boyfriend, he continues to feed the plant to gain popularity and to prove himself as a man. However, the Venus flytrap, which he lovingly names Audrey II, has other sinister plans in mind.

This musical has classic songs from Alan Menken such as Suddenly Seymour, Skid Row, and Feed Me (Git It), including a few new songs such as Mean Green Mother from Outer Space.

I also recommend if you are visiting New York until the end of January to check out the outstanding new Off-Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors playing at the Westside Theater, starring Jonathan Groff, Christian Borle, and Tammy Blanchard. I had the absolute privilege of getting to see this production a few weeks ago and it was one of the best shows I've ever seen. There's also another Little Shop of Horrors production playing in Los Angeles at The Pasadena Playhouse, starring George Salazar, MJ Rodriguez, and Amber Riley.

Here is my favorite song from the film:

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975)

Another one of my favorite musical films of all time is The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is a horror cult classic based on a 1973 musical called The Rocky Horror Show. Richard O'Brien is the genius behind this film and the musical it was based on by creating the book, music, and lyrics. The premise is to be a parody on the B movies of the past and science fiction. It features cast members from the musical, such as the legend Tim Curry. The musical is about a young and newly engaged couple that has a car break down near a strange castle. They need a telephone to call for help so they venture inside this castle and discover it's housing a convention of very strange people in costumes. They discover the party is being led by an alien transvestite named Dr. Frank N. Furter who is creating a muscle man named Rocky and Madness and sexual fantasies and freedom ensue.

The first time I watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I wasn't sure of what to make of it. The songs were extremely catchy, but the plot was bizarre. After repeat viewings I finally understood what makes this film a cult classic. It has a perfect blend of horror, campiness, and theatre. Tim Curry as Frank N. Furter is one of the best roles I've ever seen on film and he sells every minute of it.

At first this film was a massive flop, but due to midnight screening's where people would come dressed up and participate with shadow casts and bring props the film became the cult classic it is today with it's perfectly campy and delightful songs like Sweet Transvestite, Dammit Janet, and Hot Patootie - Bless My Soul (sung by the rock artist Meat Loaf).

Here is my favorite song from the film:

SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET (2007)

Sweeney Todd is one of my all time favorite musical films and musicals. The film is based on the 1979 Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler musical, which was based on the 1973 play of the same name. This film is directed by Tim Burton, who is my favorite director, and stars Johnny Depp, who is my favorite actor, as the titular Sweeney Todd. The film is about a barber named Sweeney Todd who wants to get revenge on a judge who exiled him for years from his family, led his wife to her death, and keeps his daughter as his ward. He joins a pie shop owner named Mrs. Lovett and murders customers with a razor and they bake their corpses into pies. This is the most gruesome musical on this list, but it is also the most complex. All the performances are amazing, and the songs are some of the best of in all musical theatre, such as Pretty Women, A Little Priest, and Johanna.

This musical isn't for the faint of heart but if you enjoy horror and aren't too squeamish then you won't regret watching this musical.

Here is my favorite song from the film:

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993)

The final musical film on my list is the only one that isn't based on a musical, play, or film. It is an original film by Disney and is the brainchild behind my favorite director, Tim Burton. Most people have probably seen The Nightmare Before Christmas since it is a Disney film and is family friendly, but if you haven't you are truly missing out on one of the greatest films and scores out there. This was my favorite film as a child, and I believe it was one of the reasons I became so obsessed with the macabre and musical theatre later in my life.

The story is a blend of Halloween and Christmas, making it perfect for both times of the year. It is a stop-motion animated musical about Jack Skellington, who is the pumpkin king of Halloween Town. Jack becomes bored with Halloween and wants to find a new purpose in the world. As he walks through the woods, he discovers a circle of doors, each leading to a different Holiday. He falls through the Christmas door and decides he wants to celebrate Christmas and tries to get the rest of Halloween Town on board with this new Holiday.

The music and singing voice of Jack Skellington is done by the incredible Danny Elfman, who is a major film composer and was the lead singer of the band Oingo Boingo. These songs are classics in their own right and some of the best are What's This?, This is Halloween, and Oogie Boogie's Song.

If you haven't yet watched this Halloween classic, then I recommend you watch it as soon as possible because there's nothing better than a film that incorporates Disney, Halloween, Christmas, and musical theatre!

Here is my favorite song from the film:

 



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From This Author Student Blogger: Emily Bonifacio