Dead Cthulhu waited dreaming in the murky depths of R’lyeh for millennia, but now the stars are right for him to creep out and take center stage as he lures would-be cultists to Hollywood’s Hobgoblin Playhouse for Cthulhu: The Musical.
Puppeteers for Fears has been on the radar of hardcore Lovecraft fans since the Oregon troupe released the terrifying trailer for what could possibly be the most blasphemous ritual of singing and dancing since Chicago. Now Bloody-Disgusting has found out that one of the most (in)famous monsters in literature is going to get the celebrity treatment. Based on H.P. Lovecraft’s iconic short story "The Call of Cthulhu," the play echoes the story of telepathic messages from the tentacled Elder God driving mortals to madness.
This is not just a campy low-budget puppet show. Puppeteers for Fears are taking the Cthulhu worship seriously, with unspeakably elaborate handmade puppets, down to the clawed wings, tentacle suckers, and glowing red eyes of the star of the show. Directed by Beth Boulay, with a script and sacrificial hymns (er, songs) by playwright and artistic director Josh Gross, Cthluhu: The Musical stars Boulay, Rachel Routh, Alyssa Mathews, and Forest Gilpin.
The show also features haunting multimedia backgrounds by visual artist and production designer Aubry Hollingshead along with a full rock band—because what other music genre could you possibly use for a horrorshow like this?
“We are always looking to turn classic themes on their head instead of rehashing tired storylines,” Gross told Nightmarish Conjurings last year when the musical started taking off. “So when thinking about what our next piece might be, I sometimes add the words ‘the musical’ to different phrases in conversation to see how people react, if it has that magic combination of familiar hook and new twist. When I said ‘Cthulhu: The Musical’ for the first time, a bunch of heads immediately turned in my direction, and strangers started asking where they could see it. So I knew we had to do that as a show, even though the challenge of turning something so dark into musical comedy was pretty daunting. It was definitely worth it, though. There was a lot of comedy to be found, and this show is so much fun to perform.”
Just in case you’ve only vaguely heard the name of H.P. Lovecraft carried on storm winds in the middle of the night, the author of countless works of weird fiction is thought to have spawned the gothic horror genre. Many horror movies also have Lovecraftian DNA. Just watch The Thing, morphing globs of blood and all, and try to convince yourself that wasn’t inspired by At the Mountains of Madness.
For potential victims who will be in L.A. this summer, Cthulhu: The Musical will rise from the deep June 21-23.