Horror-themed musicals aren't as rare as one might think. Just last week, 20th Century Fox Television pulled the plug on the "Once More, with Feeling", a musical episode from the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Screenings of the fan favorite, complete with full-blown audience participation, have been building steam since the episode originally aired in 2001.
This kind of sing-along is, of course, a more contemporary version of the decades-long phenomenon that is the midnight screening/performance of the 1975 musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Now Madison is getting its own entry in the genre.
Unsurprisingly, the audience at last Thursday's kickoff screening of the Wis-Kino Kabaret was thoroughly engaged when the full-length trailer for a new horror musical -- now with more gore -- made its big-screen debut.
Directed by Will Gartside, Massacre (The Musical) is a silver-screen adaptation of the play Thug Passion 2: Discordia's Sunshine Death, a production co-written by Rob Matsushita and Morey Burnard that debuted at the Mercury Players Theatre's Revenge of the Mini-Musicals II back in April. Over the summer, the three assembled a cast and crew and shot the blood-soaked musical at locations around Madison, wrapping production in August in hopes of completing editing and sound work for an autumn premiere.
"Right now, the film is about two-thirds edited, and we should have a working print ready by Halloween," said Matsushita at last week's screening. After spending the last couple months in the editing booth, he is now turning his focus on the sound editing, integrating the musical numbers and score with the footage. "We need a little time on that to get the quality right, as we want it to be as professional as we can," Matsushita said.
How long will the musical end up? "We're thinking it's going to be under 40 minutes," he said. "I'm editing it as tight as I can." While the team behind the musical is hoping for a preview screening of their working print sometime around Halloween, they're aiming for a finished product by the middle of November. They plan on submitting their film to multiple film fests, including the Wisconsin Film Festival, as well as genre-based festivals such as Fantasia and Fangoria.
"We're really trying to make this look good because we know we're going to have some stiff competition," Matsushita said.
The full-length trailer to the horror musical comedy follows.
Matsushita says the film's creators are also talking about a soundtrack. "We're definitely making CDs for the cast, and we're hoping people like it enough to listen to the music."
More information about Massacre (The Musical) can be found in a trio of articles on The Daily Page written by Gartside about the film's creation, including details about its origins and adaptation, a commentary on the challenges of creating gore, and a report on tackling post-production.