Horror will scare you to death

Horror
Jakob Ahlbom Company
Auckland Arts Festival
The Civic
Until March 26

Anybody who has stayed a night at Dracula’s castle or spent time in Elm St knows you don’t get much sleep there. Things happen. Not only do you get terrified, you might get scared to death.

That’s what happens in horror movies and it’s what happens in Horror, which is currently scaring people at the Civic. It takes its inspiration from the horror movie genre, with Swedish writer/director Jakob Ahlbom combining all the elements of those movies in a convoluted night of terror.

The play has many of the characteristics of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show but without the songs and jokes.

There are a couple of storylines, the group of friends who end up in a haunted house one wet and wild night There’s the newly married couple embarking on an erotic night of love but who suffer from coitus interruptus. There is also the tale of family abuse reaching from the past to the future.

Horror aficionados will be able to tick of the movies that are referenced – some of them are obvious such as The Exorcist, The Dread and the old Hammer films, others a little more obscure, Ahlbom has probably invented some of his own.

Some of the more petrifying scenes from The Exorcist are reworked and if you thought you couldn’t do a head twist live on stage, then think again.

All the features of good horror movies are here, the spurts of blood, the severed hand, the supernatural appearances, the axe, the knife, the zombie, the crying child, the impassive butler/father.

The music/soundscape by Wim Conradi and Bauke Moerman creates an eerie environment carefully designed to emphasise the sequences of uneasiness and foreboding as well as the dramatic and frightening ones. However, they have avoided lifting musical ideas from the movies, which means we don’t get passages such as the music from the Psycho shower scene

The audience was completely riveted by this amazing, magical mash-up of horror and responded with shrieks of horror as well as shrieks of delight.

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