Zombie Joe… that’s a name to conjure with, for underground theater fans in the LA area. Maybe the productions at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater don’t have Pantages-level budgets, and they might not get the kind of notice that avant-garde shows get when they’re staged downtown by trust fund kids… but ZJUT shows are always worth your while. And “Attack of the Rotting Corpses” is no exception.
This short (under one hour) one-act comedy is set at an upscale West Valley gated apartment/condo complex, and focused on the last hours of two hapless concierges—Vic (Josh T. Ryan, also directing) and Mac (Tyler Koster)—as a strange infection invades their little self-contained world. The moneyed residents they cater to are a strange bunch of freaks, most especially Mrs. Ferrandello (Michelle Snyder, having fun with an updated SUNSET BOULEVARD Gloria Swanson-type). Visitors are no saner, least of all the self-loathing Googoosh (Ray Chao, over the top in a great way). But as Vic goes off on an errand run and leaves Mac to handle the front desk, things go from bad to worse, and a queasy collection of sick residents descends into undead chaos reminiscent of Cronenberg’s THEY CAME FROM WITHIN crossed with Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD… but funny!
The script, by Zombie Joe himself, has tons of local references for the native and long-time transplant to pick up on, and concierge Vic runs away with the show as a bargain basement hero with overtones of THE EVIL DEAD’s Ash… by way of MY NAME IS EARL. You’ll cheer Vic by the end of the show, and I wouldn’t be all that surprised if he developed a fan base all his own.
Go see “Attack of the Rotting Corpses” at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater on Sunday nights through November 1, 2015.
And while you’re thinking of the maestro’s petite Grand Guignol, don’t miss the “Urban Death: Tour of Terror” Halloween horror maze (separate admission from “Attack”) going on there every weekend through October 31. It’s genuinely creepy and full of nightmarish images you’ll never get out of your head again…