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August 02, 2009

‘Re-Animator’ star Jeffrey Combs is the ‘definitive’ Edgar Allen Poe

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Actor Jeffrey Combs has been in dozens of films, mostly horror and sci-fi, but he’s getting the best reviews of his career for his new role on the L.A. stage with a play called “Nevermore…

Jeffrey Combs as Poe

Horror followers know Combs best as the star of the gleefully ghoulish 1985 cult-classic “Re-Animator” (which has an impressive 92% rating on Rotten Tomatos) and his work in the film’s two sequels. He also caught the attention of genre fans in director Peter Jackson’sThe Frighteners,” as well as “FeardotCom”  (2002), “House on Haunted Hill” (1999), and “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” (1998). In less bloody labor, there was his multiple appearances in the “Star Trek” franchises and his voice work as the blank-faced Question in the animated “Justice League” series.

Nothing on that résumé screams “stage thespian,” but the 54-year-old Oxnard native is a longtime veteran of the stage (take a look at the bio on his official website). That’s the career corner, too, where he is now injecting new life into his 28-year career in a one-man play as Edgar Allen Poe, that doomed icon of the American horror and mystery bookshelf. Los Angeles Times critic F. Kathleen Foley, for one, is a true believer. Here’s a quick excerpt from her review:

Over the years, one-man shows about Edgar Allan Poe have proliferated with the regularity of telltale heartbeats. John Astin, in recent years, has made something of a career of playing Poe. Every Halloween, Poe interpreters wriggle out of the woodwork. There’s something about the doomed author, who struggled in miserable poverty before meeting a mysterious end at age 40, that lends itself to the solo show format.

Now, Jeffrey Combs, star of the cult classics “Re-Animator” and “The Frighteners,” leaps into the fray with “Nevermore…” at the Steve Allen Theater. In assessing this new play, written by Dennis Paoli and directed by Stuart Gordon, it’s hard not to seem gushy.  Suffice to say that Combs’ performance is definitive, so full-blown he does not seem to be so much playing Poe as channeling him…

Read the rest of the review right here. The LA Weekly has more praise, calling the show a “gorgeous rendition of a tragic clown whose heart has been cleaved open by loss and regret.” The show has been extended through the end of August. You can purchase tickets (which are just $10) right here.

— Geoff Boucher


The Fly

Cronenberg’s “The Fly” lands at L.A. Opera (and the review)

VIDEO: Vincent Price and Poe, through the years 

H.P Lovecraft and Hollywood — a new unholy alliance?

“Toxic Avenger: The Musical” is a haz-mat show

“Exorcist” director Friedkin picks 13 scariest movies ever 

CREDITS: “Nevermore” photo — Walt Boult. “The Fly” photo by Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times

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