When: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Aug. 9 2014
Impact Theatre’s Splathouse Double Feature with The Sadist and Eegah! is many things — a film, a live performance, a recreation of two real, cheesy, low-budget horror flicks from the Sixties, and a parody of those flicks. It’s sort of Mystery Science Theater 3000-esque, but with theatrics in place of the humorous commentary. As a production, Splathouse involves the most mockable elements from B movies — the overacting, the discontinuity of scenes, the crappy special effects, etc. — and combines them with a thespian’s flair. While Splathouse’s re-envisioning of two silly horror films is certainly tackled with eye-bulging aplomb, the rub is that they don’t take it far enough. In the first play, The Sadist, partly, this is the fault of the original film itself, which is generally lauded as a decent thriller for its time. Plus, the film enjoys cinematography by one of the most influential Directors of Photography in history, Vilmos Zsigmond. In other words, it was perhaps not very amenable to satirical reshaping as a condensed play. Eegah!, Splathouse’s second feature, does this much better. The opportunities for humor were rife, and live show directors P.D. and the Bug took full advantage of the film’s circus-y overcompensation. The screening portions of the production, while perhaps ultimately unnecessary, were spot-on, and Edwin Fernando Gonzalez captured the mise-en-scènes faithfully, down to the creepy black-and-white close-ups of The Sadist and Eegah!’s color-saturated California landscapes. And the cheesy props and amateurish acting all add to the production’s entertaining spoofiness. All in all, Splathouse is a fun, if at times lightweight, riff on a bygone movie genre that lends itself well to theatrics, silliness, and lowbrow shock value.