Masks and Goggles: Dr. Horrible’s Halloween Charity Screening

Halloween Night in West Hollywood now has a new address – the Regency Fairfax Theater at the charity screening of Joss Whedon’s cyber hit Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.  As early as 7:30 PM people, dressed in their Halloween best goggles-and-labcoat, were lined up outside the theater on a balmy Halloween night, ready for the big-screen debut not only of Dr. Horrible but also The Guild, another internet-only show.  The prints for both Dr. Horrible and The Guide were produced by Whedonopolis’ own DVD author, Josh Rubinstein, as exclusive movie-sized open-caption prints along with karaoke-style lyrics so that those who have not committed the libretto to memory could still sing right along.

Before the first screening was underway, there was a surprise guest who showed up in a red wrestlers’ mask. Underneath the mask was Felicia Day, who took the mic to say hi to everyone and to usher in the big screen debut of The Guild.

The drawing of prizes was briskly announced between the shows, and once dispensed with winners’ squeals and missed-it-by-one-number groans, the main event screening was underway. From my vantage point near the back of the theater, there was much sneaking about of mysterious shadowy people, who ducked in and out of the “celebrity” seats. Despite the glow sticks in the goodie bags, it was very dark in the theater, and any attempts at “nuclear” flash photography might have amounted to audience blinding, and so other photographic tricks had to be undertaken. There’s nothing like a theater full of people waving glow sticks and lit cell phones, swaying in time to “Everything You Ever”, as Dr. Horrible finally enters the Evil League of Evil’s inner sanctum.

The show ended, despite its dark down note, to uproarious applause, as the pale and spooky real-life Grr Argh Guy lurched across the stage. The audience kept their seats, as they had been instructed to earlier, collective breaths held. From the stage, Marsia announced a few “surprise guests”, and the mysterious figures – one in a jumpsuit with weird glowy piping – emerged from their seats and made their way up to the stage, surfing ahead of a wave of growing excitement. Joss, Jed and Zach Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, all Dr. Horrible producers, and Felicia Day, sans mask, took the stage to screams of delight. And the glowy jumpsuit guy turned out to be Nathan Fillion, Captain Hammer his own self.

The audience was delirious with joy and the cameras, now free to flash, resembled Comic-Con’s Ballroom 20 when that first Serenity cast came on stage together, oh so many summers ago. Nathan announced that he had just recorded the commentary for the Dr. Horrible DVD, to be released soon and Joss thanked the audience for their raucous appreciation of Dr. Horrible.

Joss did reveal that Alan Tudyk was in the audience, and there were the corresponding squeals from the back when certain audience members suddenly realized who they were sitting in front of, behind, or next to.

On the way out, Alan Tudyk stopped the Grr Argh Guy to tell him “Hey, you really scared me.” It’s odd seeing a grown bald scary zombie squee, but it was Halloween.

In the lobby, the theater management had long since given up getting the midnight screening of “Night of the Living Dead” underway on time, and Joss and company, including Dollhouse actress Olivia Williams, and Jeff Lewis (who played Vork in The Guild), granted interviews and simply hung out with fans and stragglers. Joss signed the gorgeous lobby poster and graciously posed for individual pictures, along with directing everyone over to the stairs for a large group shot with the Whedonopoli.

The group, clustered tightly around Joss and his brothers, flash bulbs still popping on the sidewalk, when a red double-decker bus stopped at the red light, top deck filled with costumed party-goers, who saw Joss and screamed for the entire duration of the red light.

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