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Arts and Entertainment

'Rotting Corpses' Strike The Valley Again, Only At Zombie Joe's

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North Hollywood's bizarro institution Zombie Joe's Underground is at it again with its third run of the highly charged, 50-minute blast of horror "Attack of the Rotting Corpses!"—an homage not only to the whole zombie movie genre, but also to the culture of the Valley itself.

Unlike ZJU's "Urban Death" franchise, which presents an annual revue of über-creepy quick vignettes, "Rotting Corpses" is a fully composed play written by Zombie Joe himself and directed this time by Sebastian Muñoz. The action takes place in the lobby of an ersatz-luxury condo somewhere not too far from the Studio City Du-Pars right as one uniformed front desk attendant's shift is ending and another one comes in to take his place.

Every few minutes, we meet the residents of different condo units, all of whom are weird enough to begin with, even before their behavior starts to devolve out of control. It's the building plumber who finally explains to us that the whole complex's water supply has been contaminated with a mysterious, deadly microbe that turns whoever consumes or touches it into a raging, cannibalistic zombie—dogs no less than people. So it's up to our two lobby staffers to try and save whoever still can be saved. Including themselves.

The whole show's a riot, both very funny and, in a couple of key moments, truly scary as well. (Gross, too, of course, so be forewarned.) Just about everyone in the cast makes the most of their turns in the spotlight, and the overall effect is appropriately over the top right through the final curtain call. If you've got a taste for this kind of thing (and you presumably know if you don't), the room with the risers on Lankershim near Vineland is still the place to go for a unique late-night jolt of creepy live performance entertainment.

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"Attack of the Rotting Corpses" plays every Friday night at 11 through July 12 at Zombie Joe's Underground. $15 tickets through the ZJU reservation line at (818) 202-4120.

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