Next Thursday night (9 Aug) The RVT hosts the 12th PopHorror party, and this month it’s a girl band gore fest. Here, PopHorror creator and producer, Paul Joseph, gets you in the mood for this dastardly disco.
Hi Paul, how would you describe Pop Horror to an alien?
PopHorror blends the genres of pop music and horror movies through drag, cabaret and performance. The performers have a brief to take a pop song and perform it with a horror twist – it can be dark and twisted or spooky and camp. For example, the amazing Eileen Bothways performed Kylie’s Spinning Around as Regan from The Exorcist, with a fake rotating torso that meant she could literally spin her head round. Plus we chuck in games like ‘Pop or Horror’, where people have to guess if a still image is from a pop video or horror movie, and I do video mash ups like Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone now edited to scenes of people getting murdered while shagging in Friday the 13th movies.
I’m almost frightened to ask, but where did the concept come from?
I love pop music and horror movies, and there’s definitely a crossover in that they both have iconic moments and carry their own nostalgia. I think I thought of the pun SAW (as in the horror movie franchise) meets S.A.W (Stock Aitken and Waterman) and ran with it – pitched it to Baby Lame and The RVT, and took it from there. Most shows begin with a pun in fact – The Cher Witch Project, Björn of The Dead, I Know What You Did Donna Summer, I Should Be So Chucky… The great thing about pop songs is that some of the most shiny and perky tracks can take on a very different meaning when filtered through horror – like Adam All performing Gimme Gimme Gimme as Frankenstein trying to create his own drag king mini me monster, or Breda Von Teese delivering Like a Virgin as a morality lecture from a sadistic Catholic nun. We even had Bourgeoisie lip-synching to Macarthur Park as a witch following a recipe to create a cake, with green icing, in the rain.
And how long have you been holding parties at The RVT and what is it that makes the venue perfect for PopHorror?
We’ve been running PopHorror there since April 2016 and when I came up with the concept I immediately visualised it in The RVT. The venue is so atmospheric and perfect for nights that mix up performance, games, socialising and dancing. It also succeeds in being an ‘anything goes’ kind of venue where our performers can push the limits of taste and decency, whilst still being a inclusive and welcoming queer space.
Next week you are going girl group mad with Slice Up Your Life! – what can we expect?
The scarily entertaining Baby Lame will be hosting and will be joined by: gleeful goth queen Mynxie Monroe; the flawlessy fierce Ruby Wednesday; Emily Feist, a brilliant burlesque performer who has previously worked with us as Breda Von Teese; and Flick De’Bean, a hilarious new performer who I spotted while judging Drag Idol at The RVT. Décor-wise think massacre in the Spice Girls’ dressing room, with torn, bloodstained leopard-print and Union Jack fabric wrapped around the poles, and plastic limbs hanging from the walls. Audience members will be assigned a Spice Girl team when they arrive and we’ll have a few games like ‘All Saints and Sinners’ – to find the holiest and nastiest audience members – and ‘BananaDrama’, a horror themed game that will involve… bananas!
You’ll obviously be doing the Spice Girls, but how wide is the net cast – from The Supremes to Little Mix? Who else will be given the PopHorror treatment?
The performers can pick any girl group they want – though who each will be doing is still under wraps. We’ll have visuals that cover girl groups from the 60s until now, plus pre- and post-show I’ll be DJing a girl group only disco. There’s no musical snobbery at PopHorror – for every track by The Go-Gos or Destiny’s Child there will be a Bewitched or, and I can’t believe I’m committing to this in print, Atomic Kitten.
What else have you got planned coming up at the RVT?
Tim, my husband and PopHorror co-producer, is hosting Solve-along-a Murder-She-Wrote on August 22nd – he has special permission from NBC Universal in the US to screen the episode so is a unique treat for Jessica Fletcher fanatics. Plus we are currently writing the RVT panto, which is based on Aladdin and called Rubbed. We loved doing the panto there last year and it’s a brilliant team to work with, though it’s very weird writing a Christmas show during a heatwave – oh no it isn’t, etc. And PopHorror is taking over the venue on Halloween night with Scare B&B, which will be an immersive haunted hotel experience and show.