Oh, the horror

Oh, the horror

If you’re looking to get your Halloween fix this weekend, there are plenty of options – dress-up bicycle rides, costume parties at various bars and a haunted fruit-gleaning, not to mention all the activities happening on the day itself (we got you covered in our “Stuff to Do” section, p.12-13).

Two longtime traditions not to be missed, however, are the Elks Lodge’s “Nightmare on Elk Street Haunted House” and the Rocky Horror Show, which for the past few years has been put on at the Durango Arts Center.

Jason Lythgoe, artistic director for DAC, said the Halloween Rocky Horror Show has been a Durango tradition for about 15 years, originally held at the now-closed Henry Strater Theatre.

“It just became something that took off and everyone loved,” he said.

The original musical play upon which it’s based premiered in the early 1970s, a sort of reaction to the structured, standard musicals on Broadway at the time. The for-its-time risqué film explored sexuality, gender ambiguities and homosexuality (not exactly themes you’d find in “Oklahoma”). It became notorious for its over-the-top, bizarre, campy, glamrock style.

“There weren’t too many plays or musicals out there that let the freak flag fly,” Lythgoe said. “It was something new and exciting.”

While the musical gained a cult following, it wasn’t until it was adapted into a movie, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” in 1975, that it reached mainstream audiences. In the 1980s, late-night “Shadow Cast” performances – when ensembles would act out the movie while it was playing – became pop culture phenomena.

“This is a classic that still resonates with people,” Lythgoe said. 

This year, the show will have a “comic book feel” with gender-bending roles. You can catch the “Rocky Horror Show” on Friday and Saturday at 7 and 10 p.m., and Sunday at 7 p.m.

Before or after, check out another longtime staple – the Elks Lodge’s “Nightmare on Elk Street.” Now in its seventh year, Suzanne O’Nan, club manager, said the haunted house has become  the lodge’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

This year’s theme is “Into the Woods,” so be prepared for witches, Hansel & Gretel and Harry Potter vibes. But be forewarned, this is not a kid-friendly event. “It’s pretty scary,” O’Nan warned.

The Elks Lodge does offer a kid-friendly event on Saturday from 2 - 4 p.m. Otherwise, you can test your mettle in the haunted house Friday, Saturday and Monday, 6 - 10 p.m.

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