Halloween chills with 'The Summoning'

  • by David-Elijah Nahmod
  • Tuesday October 11, 2022
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Peaches Christ (right) and "Executioner" Pablo Andres Escobar (left) in 'The Summoning' (photo: Cabure Bonugli)
Peaches Christ (right) and "Executioner" Pablo Andres Escobar (left) in 'The Summoning' (photo: Cabure Bonugli)

Into the Dark, the terrifyingly fun production company spawned from the twisted minds of David Flower Productions, Non-Plus Ultra, Terror Vault and drag impresario and avowed horror fan Peaches Christ, also known as Joshua Grannell, returns with "The Summoning," an original, fully immersive haunted attraction that can now be experienced at the San Francisco Mint. The show runs on Wednesdays-Sundays through November 5.

"The Summoning," which allows attendees to get up close and personal with a variety of vampires and demons, is not for the faint of heart.

The show, which lasts for around forty-five minutes, allows the audience to walk through a haunted maze in search of the severed head of an unethical vampire queen named Lucretia.

The maze can be a bit of a challenge. As the audience walks from room to room, they are led down a series of dark corridors, up and down dimly lit stairs, and, at one point, even down a slide. All sorts of creatures await you as you make your way through this bizarre netherworld, including mad scientists, dancing skeletons, and a demonic beauty salon. There's even a séance that the audience gets to participate in.

'Vivian Vein' in 'The Summoning' (photo: Cabure Bonugli)  

Grannell told the Bay Area Reporter that some of his favorite tales of terror served as inspirations for "The Summoning." Elements from movies such as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "The Lair of the White Worm," "Army of Darkness" and even John Waters' "Desperate Living" found their way into "The Summoning." To add to the ghoulish fun, Nancy Drew and Scooby Do also found their way into the proceedings.

"I've always loved horror," Grannell said. "From the earliest time I can remember, and honestly I don't know why. I've just always been drawn to spooky, macabre, horrific stuff and Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. It's kind of like, I don't know why I'm queer either, I just am, and that's how I feel about horror. I love it and always have."

Horror Show
According to Grannell, it's no small feat to put on a show like "The Summoning." He and David Flower worked on it for the past year. By the time it opens, 150 people —actors and technicians— are employed in the production. Among the cast are local drag performers Raya Light, Cosimo, Lucinda Puss, Nitrix Oxide, trained actors, and hunky author Stephan Ferris (formerly adult video performer Blue Bailey).

"It's a beast of an endeavor," Grannell said. "Everything from the sets, the costumes, the lighting, the special effects, the make-up, the script, the performances, the show flow, the marketing, are carefully planned and designed and it always feels like we're barely making it to the finish line. Opening weekend is always a challenge for us as the show gets dialed in with actual audiences. Sometimes I do think we are crazy for doing this."

In addition to acting as co-creator of the show, Grannell is part of the cast, sometimes as Peaches Christ, sometimes as himself. But he won't be there for every performance.

"It's just too grueling to do every single show," he said. "If you come to the show one night, it will for sure be a somewhat different cast if you come another night. Every actor brings their own flavor."

Creepy characters in 'The Summoning'
(photo: Cabure Bonugli)  

Grannell says that reactions to "The Summoning" have been overwhelmingly positive, with audiences applauding at the end of every show. He doesn't think this happens at most other haunted attractions, and hopes that more people will come out and immerse themselves in the horrors of the bizarre netherworld that the team has created.

"I hope that people come out for a night of Halloween fun and allow us to scare and entertain them as they forget the outside world," he said. "I think of horror and fantasy as escape and that's what we're trying to create. Whether I'm working on a stage show, a movie or Terror Vault, I just want people to have a good time and forget the outside world."

Guests are invited to start and end their haunted journey by visiting Fang Bang, an '80s styled goth/new wave vampire-themed pop-up bar located in the vault of The Mint. Fang Bang will be open during show hours. A ticket to "The Summoning" is not required to visit the bar, or to visit CreepShop, a pop-up retail shop produced by Kreepsville666.


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