Bride of Frankenstein and Barbarella Live On Stage

Bride of Frankenstein: Attack of The Killer B Movies

photo by Geof Teague

For the second year in a row, a group of San Francisco theatrical mavericks are transposing a triumvirate of cinematic thrillers to a small San Francisco stage. Last year’s trio of B-beginning movies include The Blob and The Birds.

This year it’s Blue Velvet, Bride of Frankenstein, and Barbarella. A diverse set of B’s indeed. You can blame the fine folks at Foul Play Productions for that.

I have one piece of bad news and two bits of good: Blue Velvet has come and gone. But Bride of Frankenstein and Barbarella still await your attendance.

Bride is up right now (Thurs-Sat until October 17th) at StageWerx Theater, and it is quite an achievement. The play is presented in Black and White: costume, set, props, lighting, and skin tones are all painted, covered or otherwise adapted to a silver screen tone reminiscent of the 1935 original.

Featuring the original Franz Waxman score, and combining puppetry, shadowplay and myriad other theatricalities of a bygone era, Bride of Frankenstein is a perfect October offering, with showmanship and genuine thrills throughout!

With the dramatic lighting design and pointed use of shadows through the production, there’s a definite call-back to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. While he’s technically filling Boris Karloff’s tremendous shoes as The Monster, the remarkably named Fennel Skellyman physically evokes the gangly, alien-headed horror of Nosferatu–the true O.G. of cinematic killer creatures.

Played for fun and style, not for horror, The Bride is a blast and the entire cast is wonderful including Jim Jeske, Gerri Lawlor, Jordan L. Moore, and director Flynn De Marco. I can’t do justice to the ingenuity of the props, lighting, and staging here, but suffice to say it’s great.

You can buy tickets online for the last two weekends of Bride of Frankenstein.

Attack of The Killer B Movies: Year 2 lineup

Barbarella will open on October 22 and run for 9 shows only. Starring the remarkable Khamara Pettus, in the role that Jane Fonda could no longer play, and with projections, animation, and puppetry, this show promises to make up for the color deprivation of the Bride’s run.

The film is a cult classic space romp from 1968, an outrageous one-of-a-kind, sexified carnival from the 40th Century. It was co-written by Terry Southern (Easy Rider, Dr Strangelove, Casino Royale) and features Marcel Marceau in a speaking role. It is the film from which the band Duran Duran took their name. I’m just saying.

Barbarella: Attack of The Killer B Movies

photo by Geof Teague

Tickets are on sale now for all nine performances.

Five-Star Astro-Navigatrix Barbarella (Khamara Pettus) is on a mission to find and recover Duran Duran (Fennel Skellyman), creator of the abominable Positronic Ray. To track her quarry, she must penetrate the City of Night where the Great Black Queen (Gerri Lawlor) and her Leathermen hold power supreme.

Between the Bride of Frankenstein and Barbarella, you can bookend your Halloween appropriately between the scary and outrageous.


Actor, nerd, poet, producer, writer mikl-em made his name short so you wouldn't have to. In addition to his blog you can find his writing in "Hi Fructose" magazine and witness him almost life-sized in various plays at The Dark Room Theater in SF's Mission district.

He tends to write about theater, humor, San Francisco culture and history, and stuff that's just plain weird. He thanks Scott for sharing the keys to the Laughing Squid virtual HQ and promises to uphold whatever it is that the mirthful cephalopod would prefer to be uplifted.