There are Halloween parties...and then there's Halloween Havoc, one of L.A.'s annual soirees that's been known to inspire elaborate costumes, killer tunes, and countless morning-after status updates.
Hosted at a different private home every year, the invite-only ocassion features a guest list that's as mysterious as the punch that is rumored to be served out of a giant smoking cauldron which usually dries up around midnight...and features some "festive" side effects.
The 2014 online campaign seems to be taking the testimonial approach, using alleged quotes from past partygoers. And it looks like this year promises much of the same:
And then there's this one:
And this one, which makes a pretty damn big claim (sorry, West Hollywood):
Good luck finding out where this year's debaucherous festivities will be taking place...
And if you are lucky, maybe we'll see you there this weekend!
Make sure to report back to us (@HotterInHwood) with a tweet using #Havoc14.
But if you're still not sold on the idea of a very meta web series about actor Ryan Hansen (who played Dick Casablancas on Veronica Mars) trying to produce his own detective show, then episode 2 of the spinoff just might help you reconsider watching.
Those who have been on Team Logan since the first season of Veronica Mars will enjoy the ample amount of screentime dedicated to actor Jason Dohring and his unbelievably beefed-up bod (not to mention his charming comedy chops). Like here:
The horror genre gets delightfully skewered in director-choreographer James J. Mellon's Scary Musical The Musical, an electrifying production that gleefully flips every slasher film trope on its head (now running through November 9 at the NoHo Arts Center).
The scene: Vera Miles High School. The story: someone's slicing and dicing the members of the school's drama club before their opening night extravaganza. Meanwhile, a patient has escaped from a nearby mental institution (naturally). Horror enthusiasts may recognize a similarity in this past summer's indie satire Stage Fright, but unlike that letdown of a slasher, this briskly paced musical (at a lean, intermission-free 90 minutes) delivers all the goods on top of a kickass pop-rock soundtrack, thanks to music and lyrics by Richard Hochberg and Michael Paternostro.
With characters named Leeza Courtney Fox, Norman Hates, Freddy Louissier, Jason Cravin, Jamie Lee Leigh, and Carrie Beige, horror fanatics will get a kick out of all of the nods to the genre classics and jump at some of the impressive special effects that jolt the audience throughout the show.
Playing Norman Hates is a sufficiently creepy August Emerson, who could very well be an Edward Gorey-drawn character come to life. With a mop of jet-black hair and a ghostly pale complexion, Emerson delivers lines with a psychotic energy (the dude also has a killer voice - check out his showstopping solo, "Mother"). And then there's Colorado native Keir Kirkegaard, whose rippling abs nearly steal a couple of scenes. But what really stands out is Kirkegaard's uncanny physical and vocal resemblance to superstar Justin Timberlake (I wouldn't be surprised if the actor moonlights as an impersonator).
Several of the cleverly written songs deserve a bigger stage, but under some tight and smart direction, they soar inside the 99-seat venue. The opening number, "Killer in the House," perfectly sets up the deliciously devious tone while "High School Can Be Murder" is an anthem that not only wittily introduces our heroes and heroines, it shines as a theme song of Joss Whedon-esque proportions -- it's like a lost track from Buffy the Vampire Slayer's "Once More With Feeling" songbook. And finally, "Baby Let Me Come Inside" is the on-the-nail, pun-tastic performance it sounds like, admirably carried out by Kirkegaard and actress-dancer Jane Papageorge.
The only tune that comes close to steering the musical terror train off the track is "Out of Africa," a number that's a bit heavy on exposition and light on focusing on the themes at hand. But no matter: by the time the blood hits the fan in the third act's zany climax, you'll be glad you hopped aboard this superfun crazy train.
And just who is the killer? Thanks to an interactive component -- the audience gets to live-tweet and vote for their suspect -- there isn't one definitive answer. (Shades of 1985's Clue, anyone?)
Say what you will about the work of visionary writer/director Baz Luhrmann – and many have throughout the course of his 20+ years as a filmmaker – but one thing is certain: the guy believes in the all-conquering power of love. So much so, in fact, that all of his films - from 1992’s deliciously zany Strictly Ballroom to last year’s lush and underrated The Great Gatsby - exist solely to extoll this greatest of virtues. Well, that, and to inject a little razzle dazzle into our often humdrum existence.
Thus it’s no surprise that the For The Record troupe – whose carnival burlesque celebrations inspired by the catalogues of modern-era auteurs like Luhrmann, Tarantino, and PT Anderson have been lighting up West Hollywood all year – chose to tackle the Aussie's breathtaking oeuvre...or that the show is a fizzy, frothy burst of true cinematic romance.
And talk about powerhouse performances. Though Rumor Willis is easily the cast’s most well-known star, each actor - Demi’s and Bruce’s daughter included - shines individually and collectively as they cover the broad plot strokes and unforgettable pop songs, including hits off of the soundtracks from all of Luhrmann’s films: Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!, and The Great Gatsby. 2008’s Australia isn’t represented but still has a cocktail at the bar named after it.
Taking over West Hollywood’s DBA (7969 Santa Monica Blvd), cast members fly through the audience, jumping on tables, dancing on the large bar, and basically using every part of their theater-in-the-round to create a party that Mr. Luhrmann would no doubt approve of. Highlights include a jazzy rendition of The Cardigan’s "Lovefool" sung by cast member Lindsey Gort, a powerhouse redo of Lana Del Rey’s swooning "Young and Beautiful" courtesy of Ruby Lewis, and pretty much everything involving Strictly Ballroom, Lurhmann’s hands-down funniest, most innocently DIY effort.
Buzzed on artisan cocktails with names like “Talk Show Host” and “Buchanan’s Old Fashioned”, and dining on gourmet pizzas from Churchill executive chef Michael Bryant (get there early if you’re hungry, because these go fast), you’ll find yourself lost amidst the unfettered imagination of Baz Luhrmann.
As well as stoned on magic, seduced by love, and above all else, wanting to run home and watch Moulin Rouge! for the millionth time.
Dan Stevens, the once round-faced British object of affection for many Downton Abbey viewers, wants to let us Americans know that he has hammered the final nail in the coffin of Matthew Crawley, his sensitive, soft-spoken alter ego from the PBS period drama.
In The Guest (opening September 17), Stevens is a chiseled badass with several secrets up his sleeve. His baby blues have now taken on an icy quality that'll have you questioning his motives once he locks his gaze on you (and he does plenty of it).
Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett, who gave us the slasher sleeper You're Next three summers ago, have turned the British thesp into a seemingly down-home American man of mystery named David, a war vet who shows up on the doorstep of a family that has lost their own son in battle.
When David's unorthodox problem-solving methods set off a chain of violent events in their small town, it's up to oldest daughter Anna (Maika Monroe, cut from the same cloth as Kat Dennings) to figure out what's up. Is David really who he says he is?
Wingard and Barrett impressively set the film's dread-filled tone right away (Stephen Moore's ominous and synthy score also helps), and it becomes apparent that the director and writer are nostalgic for old-school thrillers like The Terminator and Halloween (lo and behold, the film is set in late October).
There's something off about David, and the story keeps us guessing until the gruesome and nightmarish third act during which we're treated to a cat-and-mouse game literally set in a hall of smoke and mirrors.
The Guest ultimately comes off as a sick and twisted mashup of two genres that slightly resembles the gloriously lunk-headed action thrillers one would expect to come across on late-night cable. And it knows that. That's what makes it so watchable; in other words, it's a cult classic in the making.
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