at The Hypnodrome
It appears the rumors of The Hypnodrome's demise were greatly exaggerated--or, the Thrillpeddlers got a stay of execution (aka "the landlord is selling the building"). That's good news for us, because Halloween wouldn't be Halloween without a Thrillpeddlers Shocktoberfest!!, which features enough camp, sexual overtones and awesome makeup and special effects to rival the Castro Street shenanigans. Based on France's now-defunct Le Theatre du Grand Guignol, Shocktoberfest!! features skits about a delusional taxidermist and a buxom chemist, a salesman who takes "rule of thumb" too literally and more. The stuff just writes itself, really. If you go, we highly recommend The Hypnodrome's "shock boxes," where you're treated to some interactivity--or a private place to get down with your date in the dark.
Playing through November 11

Defixiones: Orders From the Dead at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Yep, Halloween really is coming early this year. The darkly dramatic Diamanda Galas returns to Yerba Buena, playing Defixiones, a Bay Area premiere, for two nights only this week. A musical theatre spectacle/sacred mass, the piece centers on genocides of the early 20th century. Diamanda is probably most well-known for her Plague Mass, but if you're into the avant garde--or just singers with amazing voices--don't pass up this opportunity.
Playing October 19 & 21

Richard III at Project Artaud Theater
Combining horror and blood, Shakespeare's dark (if not the darkest) play fits nicely into this week's trio. Now, we don’t know a lot about producer LupineEvent, but we do know enough about director Jon Tracy--who hails from Vallejo's DarkRoom Productions--to pin our recommendation on his auteur talent. (His direction of Trainspotting in the North Bay still ranks as one of the best shows we've seen in the past 10 years.) Featuring a strong cast, including Skyler Cooper, who rocked as Othello in a production at friend-of-SFist's Impact Theatre, Richard III may prove to be a hip and energetic one-off show.
Playing October 19 to November 18

Shocktoberfest's poster.

For more stage options, check out the listings at the Guardian, the Express, the SF Weekly, and the calendar on Theatre Bay Area's website.

Shocktoberfest 2006