Rock horror musicals take over Halloween
DIANA CHABAI, CONTRIBUTOR
Move over clowns and zombies — some Winnipeggers go deep into cult-mode with their Halloween costumes.
Every year, people in the ‘Peg search for costumes to replicate characters from popular rock musicals. This year, Phantom of the Paradise and The Rocky Horror Picture Show will take over The Met and The Park Theatre respectively for nights of debauchery.
These 70s classics are full of sex, murder and aliens. They deal with the devil, cross-dressing — and Winnipeggers can’t seem to get enough.
Kalen Craig, 32, first saw Phantom of the Paradise when he was 14.
“It’s such a ridiculously out-there film that it caught my eye right away,” he said.
Phantom was first released on Oct. 30, 1974. Although it was a flop everywhere else, Winnipeg gave it a home at The Garrick Centre. It ran for four months from Boxing Day to May 1, 1975.
The popularity of Phantom in Winnipeg still puzzles people, but Craig said he thinks the success is all due to the city’s mystery.
“It’s because Winnipeg is one of those off-the-map places,” he said. “You didn’t hear about Winnipeg too much back in the day. People took pride in it and people maybe identified with it.”
Winnipeggers also seem to identify with the 1975 cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Wasteland Productions is mostly made up of Winnipeggers, and they’re putting on a version of the musical starting Oct. 22.
Quinn Greene is a co-producer at Wasteland Productions. He said they put on a sold-out run of Evil Dead: The Musical last Halloween. This year, the company decided to put on Rocky Horror because it “fits all of the aesthetics” Wasteland wants to be known for, said Greene.
“Winnipeg is progressive. We love things that have a cult sensibility,”he said. “We’re proud of us. We’re thrifty, quirky and that’s who we are.”
According to Greene, the underlying message of Rocky Horror is what gives the show its staying power.
“No matter who you are, no matter who you love, be proud. That message will never go away.”