Jim Steinman’s Bat out of Hell @ Manchester Opera House

“Based on the most influential album of Jim Steinman’s storied collaboration with singer Meat Loaf, BAT OUT OF HELL is a romantic adventure about rebellious youth and passionate love against the backdrop of a post-cataclysmic city.

Following Strat, who has fallen in love with the daughter of the despotic Falco, this new musical is a high-octane rock ‘n’ roll adventure that tears through over 15 of Steinman’s songs including ‘I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)’, ‘Dead Ringer for Love’, ‘You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth’, ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’, ‘Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad’ and the iconic title anthem ‘Bat Out of Hell’.”

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A musical over fifty years in the making, Jim Steinman’s dream project, Bat out of Hell, has finally come to fruition and is currently having a preview run at the Manchester Opera House, where it’ll be showing until April, before then moving to the London Colisuem for a two month, June-July, West End run.

An ambitious musical blend of Peter Pan, West Side Story and A Clockwork Orange, perhaps it’s not surprising that it has taken a long time for Steinman to get this project into production, a project he’s been talking about since the 70s and the ultimate realization of his ‘Neverland’ concept, a concept which ‘serves as the genesis for most of his art’.

“Peter Pan seems to me a very rock ‘n roll idea because it’s a gang of lost boys who never grow up – that’s ‘Clockwork Orange’ too, by the way,” said Steinman in an interview from 1981, when he was working on realizing ‘Neverland’ as a musical film.

“And this guy Peter is like sixteen for thirty or forty years, and it’s like Caligula – every day he’s gotta seek out some new sensation, some new rush, something just to keep that feverish high going. I think it’s a great concept staying that young forever, and implies a great effort on his part.

“In the film genetic mutation is the cause, and the other lost boys are constantly looking to Peter to provide the excitement, and the film starts off with him trying to seduce Wendy – they’ve never really had a girl as part of the lost boys, or seen a girl like that. She’s Captain Hook’s daughter, he’s the military commander controlling this huge fortress built on the ruins of Los Angeles after the city is destroyed after earthquake and chemical war. It has a lot in common with the fifties horror movies, radioactive monsters etc., there’s all sorts of incredibly mutated creatures running around outside this city which is encased in your usual great dome. And it’s Captain Hook who created the genetic mutation, trying to create the perfect army, just to make matters worse, so he wants to recapture the lost boys and dissect them to see what went wrong with this process.

“And it’s full of scenes like – the other night I was working on this one where Peter and the boys hole up in the automobile graveyard, like in ‘Night Of The Living Dead’, when at night all the cars start up by themselves and prowl the streets without drivers.

“The one song from ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ that I am going to use is ‘All Revved Up With No Place To Go’ – that still has the feeling of it perfectly.”

jim-at-homeAt some point in time the automobile graveyard was excised from proceedings but almost everything else mentioned by Steinman in the above quote has, thirty years on, made it to the Manchester Opera House. Too bad Steinman wasn’t there to see it in person. The ailing composer, who in recent years has suffered a heart attack and two strokes, hasn’t been able to make the trip from his New York home to Manchester, but has been keeping  an eye on the production through Skype.

In a recent interview Meat Loaf, the singer Steinman’s music turned into a star, straight out said, in all seriousness, that if Bat out of Hell: The Musical doesn’t succeed it could kill the composer.

From what I’ve seen, however, failure shouldn’t be a concern. Although, in my opinion, it doesn’t better Steinman’s masterpiece Tanz Der Vampire (NO musical does), and I was hoping that, like Tanz, it would be sung-through, the show is a triumph.

It’s over the top. It’s Wagnerian! It’s poetic! It’s decadent. It’s rock n’ roll!

It’s Steinman!

New Horror Anthology: Crossroards in the Dark II – Urban Legends.

Out now, my story ‘The Whispering Tree’ appears in Croosroads in the Dark II: Urban Legends, a new horror anthology by Burning Willow Press. The release also features work by C.C. Adams, David Owain Hughes, Alice J. Black and many other great horror writers.

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“32 tales…32 storytellers with a twisted mind to entice you. When you were younger, the stories told around the campfire were the best you had ever heard. The bedtime stories our elders would tell us were the ones that put us to sleep but the campfire was where you got the chills to stay up because of every sound the woods made at night. It is hard to believe in a world where things do not get creepier at night or the world does not come more to life at dusk. Where the world gets just a little unhinged in the dark. Urban Legends is a collection with some of today’s up and coming authors in the indie world. Giving you their takes on the tales they grew up with…legends of mystery, of the macabre, of horror, designed to make the hairs on your neck stand alert and your skin crawl. You know some of the stories but do you know the twisted minds of the author telling the tale? Make sure you keep the lights on…things get harder to wrap your thoughts around at the Crossroads in the Dark.”

Hybrid Moments: A Literary Tribute to the Misfits

There’s still a few days left to contribute to the  Kickstarter campaign for Hybrid Moments: A literary Tribute to the Misfits, ‘a collection of short stories inspired by the songs of the greatest horror punk band of all time’By participating you can snag yourself limited edition copies of the book, due out in October, and a wide range of other goodies besides. Published by WeirdPunk Books Hybrid Moments follows their 2015 release Blood for You: A Literary Tribute to GG Allin.

Hope other people out there are looking forward to this release as much as I am. Danzig era Misfits are one my all time favourite bands, so I’m extremely proud to be apart of this book and delighted that its release will coincide with the Misfits reunion. And isn’t that an awesome cover!

Hybrid Moments

Official Poster For Rob Zombie’s 31 Unveiled

The official poster for Rob Zombie’s long awaited movie 31 has been released and it looks amazing. I’m really looking forward to seeing this flick. It comes out on VOD on September 16th and in theaters on October 21st.

Five carnival workers are kidnapped and held hostage in an abandoned, Hell-like compound where they are forced to participate in a violent game, the goal of which is to survive twelve hours against a gang of sadistic clowns.

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DVD Release for Tobe Hooper’s I’m Dangerous Tonight (1990)

I'm Dangerous TonightI’m a massive Tobe Hooper, he is without question my favourite American genre director, I’ve seen all his movies, all, that is, except for 1990’s I’m Dangerous Tonight. Based on a novella by crime writer Cornell Woolrich (1903-1968), this was a made for TV horror movie that aired on the USA Network on 8 August 1990 and then released on home video. It stars the gorgeous Madchen Amick (Shelly from Twin Peaks), which makes me all the more desperate to see it. VHS copies have always alluded me, they’re incredibly rare, and my scouring the internet for a copy of the film to stream has never been successful. But now finally, on 18 July 2016, it’s getting a long overdue DVD release, thanks to Final Cut Entertainment.

This has been a long time coming, it’s terrible how this movie, directed the man who gave us Texas Chain Saw Massacre (and Crocodile) and starring one of the hottest women ever to have a camera focused on her, has been pretty much forgotten about for twenty-six years! And sure, the plot about an evil Aztec cloak sounds corny as hell, but, even so, I can’t wait to finally get my hands on a copy and see what craziness Hooper did with this one. Now can we please get a DVD release for 1999’s The Apartment Complex.

“Psycho star Anthony Perkins stars in this brilliant supernatural thriller. When a college student turns an ancient Aztec cloak into a party dress the results are catastrophic. The death toll mounts as supernatural powers cause the deaths of anyone who comes into contact with the dress. Directed by horror legend Tobe Hooper. Product Description from Amazon.

Lost Themes II

Also, John Carpenter, probably my second favourite American genre director, has just released Lost Themes II, the follow up to his amazing Lost Themes album, which I’m really looking forward to sitting down and listening to, and Danzig has put out an awesome music video for his cover of Black Sabbath’s NIB. Typical of a Danzig video, it features a lot of scantily clad models. It’s what music videos would look like if Jean Rollin directed them. Good stuff!

NIB Two Girls

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NIB Girl

 

Tobe Hooper’s Big Floppy Disk

As part of their Never On Your Screens youtube series, Creation Originales have published part of a recent interview with Tobe Hooper, probably my favourite living American horror director, where he talks about a carnival-film project of his that unfortunately never got produced.

Those who have seen Hooper’s carnival set slasher, The Funhouse, will no doubt appreciate more than most what a shame it is that this film was never made as the carnival setting really does fit well with Hooper’s predilection for unusual set design and sleazy characters.

Tobe seems to be in good health in this video, which gives me hope that the seventy-two year old master of horror might yet produce another movie to follow up the much criticised but actually surprisingly good Djinn.