Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Walking Among the Dead at Linda Vista Hospital

Los Angeles, notorious for the vicious build/raze/build cycle that has cost the city so many of its precious historical landmarks, is not the most obvious place to look for a sprawling, abandoned and allegedly haunted hospital. But if you visit the Boyle Heights neighborhood near downtown L.A., you'll find just that in the guise of eerie, hulking Linda Vista Hospital. The building is, at this point, semi-famous; it's been featured on shows and movies (including the first season of Dexter), as well as a memorable episode of Ghost Adventures; you may remember Zak & Co. freaking out over the possibility of imminent gang wars. (LOLZ.)

Recently, the Boyle Heights Paranormal Project, a local paranormal research and investigation group that helps oversee the hospital and regularly organizes community events to allow the curious (and, perhaps, foolhardy) to sneak a peek inside, hosted an event called the "Walk Among the Dead." BHPP members lead groups on a flashlight tour of the hospital, with nefarious nurses and devilish doctors from the performance collective The Art of Bleeding lurking in the old hospital's morgue to add to the sinister, spooky vibe.

The end result was basically Halloween in March, a shivery treat for amateur ghost hunters, horror fans and Los Angeles preservationists alike. Here are some shots Mr. Spooky and I captured during our time at Linda Vista:

For more information on future events at Linda Vista, including BHPP's upcoming overnight investigation in mid-April, follow the Boyle Heights Paranormal Project page on Facebook.

Spooky Self-Promotion: Catch Me in URBAN DEATH

Hello, spooky friends! I apologize for the relative dearth of posts lately, but I've been keeping busy (a strategy that works well for getting through those boring non-Halloween months). What have I been up to? Well, I am currently rehearsing for the next production of Urban Death at Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre in North Hollywood!

If you've never seen Urban Death (and I have, so trust me on this), you're in for a scary treat. The show is essentially a series of horrific vignettes, and the entire show is done with minimal dialogue. Instead, the mood is set via creepy original music and the physicality of the performers. If that sounds at all pretentious, it's not - instead, it's enthralling, disorienting and terrifying.

Since Urban Death is ZJU's signature show, there have been many different incarnations, but this latest version promises to be the scariest to date. Join me on Saturday, April 9th at 11 PM, or any Saturday night through the end of May, to get a taste of the best on-stage horror in Los Angeles. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Hearse (1980)

Such a strange and pointless movie! The plot is as follows: A woman who strongly resembles Cameron Diaz in Being John Malkovich but with slightly less extreme hair inherits a house in the country and decides to live in it; upon arrival, she discovers that the town is populated exclusively by male sex offenders and potential rapists who eye her lasciviously with varying degrees of both lust and disdain, barely concealed and in equal measure. Each scene is fraught with tension, as you repeatedly wonder whether you're about to learn that naive, trusting Jane just invited the wrong man into her house. There are vague mumblings about pacts with Satan and lovelorn ancestors, and a little girl with pigtails curtly informs Jane, "Your house is haunted and you're a ghost." I kept expecting something to happen that would begin to propel the plot forward, but instead the main character just trips around making questionable choices, and occasionally a creepy hearse driven by an even creepier driver appears and then disappears - making his rounds before he drops by Oliver Reed's place in Burnt Offerings, no doubt.

There's something to be said for the nostalgic, Vaseline-on-the-lens magic of any horror movie shot circa 1980, but there are other, better films from the era that you should check out before you take a spin in The Hearse.


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