Eastern State Penitentiary to Open Eerie Machine Shop for Terror Behind The Walls 2014

"Terror Behind The Walls" at Eastern State Penitentiary.

“Terror Behind The Walls” at Eastern State Penitentiary.

You have likely already explored—or at least heard of—Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind The Walls (TBTW), America’s largest (and in our biased opinion best) haunted attraction. Each season, the theatrical production offers fright seekers the chance to explore the massive prison, once home to notable kidnappers, gangsters, and murderers.

Last year TBTW included an opt-in feature, where visitors could elect to take a more interactive tour. This involved being removed from your group, grabbed by the inhabitants of the cellblocks, sent alone into dark hidden passageways, or even thrown into the show.

Sounds terrifying, huh? But Eastern State Creative Director Amy Hollaman says people couldn’t get enough of it. “We found it was really popular,” she says. “Sixty-seven percent of visitors decided to opt-in.”

With that in mind, they’ve come up with a whole new interactive attraction for 2014: The Machine Shop.

According to Hollman, The Machine Shop is a former prison factory that’s never been opened for public tours. “It’s tucked down beneath the cellblocks in an area by Death Row,” she says.

Inside guests will find saws, drills, blades, and chains, and, because the attraction is designed for interactive activity, there will be grinders and welders pulling people away from their groups into dark corridors and murky corners.

“It will feel really different every night,” Hollman says. “If someone comes on Saturday, and returns on Sunday they could get a completely different experience, because there are so many different paths and ways you can be pulled into.”

Wear a diaper.

Terror Behind The Walls will run on selected evenings from September 19th through November 8th. For more information, click here.

Young Friends of the Academy of Music’s Monster’s Ball

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The Young Friends of the Academy of Music held their annual Monster’s Ball on Wednesday night at Pennsylvania Six (114 South 12th Street). Proceeds from the event go to the Academy of Music Restoration Fund. This year the Academy’s 157th Anniversary Ball and concert will be held on Saturday, January 25th, 2014, with the Philadelphia Orchestra and special guest singer Jill Scott.
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Where to Get Your Halloween Makeup Done Tonight

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Photo from Blush Salon.

For really ambitious Halloween-ers, letting someone else wield the makeup brush can take your costume to the next level. (Case in point: Would Natalie Portman’s Black Swan have been as striking without the wild makeup?) Here, four Philly makeup spots staffed with experts who can paint your face for maximum effect. (See that look to the left? We’ll tell you where to get it.)

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The Real Legend of Sleepy Hollow
at TD Bank Arts Center

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Brett Colby plays Ichabod Crane in
The Real Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

This weekend, just when you’ll think all the Halloween shenanigans are over for the year, playwright Matthew Norcross will raise the curtain on his The Real Legend of Sleepy Hollow: The Musical at TD Bank Arts Center. This interpretation of the classic takes a look at the backstory of Icahbod Crane, played by Asbury Park actor Brett Colby.

The story opens with a dramatic (and, thanks to the large venue, massive) battle that ends with Crane beheading a captain, who — you guessed it — ends up as the Headless Horseman (Louis Hall). From then on, Crane is haunted by this terrifying figure.

The show’s not all gloom and doom, though. There’s a little romance mixed in, too, in the story of Crane’s relationship with Katrina Van Tassel (Melanie Brigg), who he secretly pursues for her fortune. It is this variety, he believes, that will separate the play and its characters from previous incarnations. “I don’t like to compare myself to other actors, though I will say people should not expect this to be a musical version of the Johnny Depp movie. This Crane is rather tortured, true to the original story, but with some new elements that flesh out the character.”

So do those elements contain a gay twist? Not exactly, says Colby, but he hints that it wouldn’t be completely unheard of to believe that Crane and his devoted male companion are gay.

The Real Legend of Sleepy Hollow plays Nov. 1 and 2 at the TD Bank Arts Center. For more information and ticket links, go here

Epic Rant: Why I Hate Halloween

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Shutterstock.com

Am I the only guy who doesn’t like Halloween?

It’s nothing religious. I have no problem with Satan. Or Dracula. I love horror movies, particularly the first Paranormal Activity and The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp, a movie so bad it was scary. And look, I get it. It’s fun to dress up. It’s festive. It’s a time to celebrate and party. And seriously, what mature adult wouldn’t pass up the chance to dress up as a twerking Miley Cyrus or a pretend-Ron Burgundy with a banana stuck in his pants? Oh right, that would be me. I wouldn’t do that.

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FOR A GOOD TIME:
Go See Gunnar Montana’s Drag Me to Hell

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Photo courtesy of Tara Lessard Freedom G Photography.

Coming off his successful, albeit disturbed, Fringe show, Basement, it was only natural for Gunnar Montana to keep the eery momentum going with a Halloween follow-up. In the midst of a four-day run at Underground Arts, Drag Me to Hell borrows a lot of elements from its predecessor: gore, a little nudity, buzz saws. But this time Montana brought along a few Gayborhood drag queens to help him out.

As you can imagine, the gals in question — Lady Poison, Luna Lavey and Pretty Girl — rule the roost, making the show more about drag performance art than contemporary dance. But that’s not to say fans of both worlds won’t have a bewitching good time. My date for the evening — G Philly contributor Alexander Kacala — compared Lady Poison to Salem witch Tituba. She was mesmerizing in her second number, twitching and stomping around the stage, throwing white powder all over the place. Luna Lavey owns the second act, turning out a deliciously grotesque performance of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” The peppy tune is juxtaposed with her attempts to mutilate Santa Claus and pull out all his cookie-filled intestines. And Pretty Girl … well, Pretty Girl mostly flounces around the stage striking model poses. But that’s what Pretty Girl does, and I love every second of it.

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Sharon Needles’ 13 Best Horror Movies

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If any drag queen can claim Halloween as her own, it’s gotta be Sharon Needles, the spooky, piercing-eyed winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4. Here, she stakes her rightful claim as the Grand Ghoul of All Hallow’s Eve by anointing the 13 best horror flicks.

Check below for the list, here with commentary by Needles, trailers and links to rent them on Netflix.

* indicates ones available on Instant Streaming

Sharon Needles 13 favorite horror flicks below »

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