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Monsterlune’s Tales of Lunar Madness

21 September 2016

Devour her!” hissed the Devil. Momentarily, from behind my white half-face mask and long red tresses, I must have stared blankly at this monstrous black figure. He hissed again with greater urgency: “Devour her!” and pointed at the broken figure of Misumun, her clothes torn away, crawling slowly from the evil freaks. As his acolyte I was bound to obey. I sprang naked from the stage and feasted greedily upon the fallen geisha.

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This was but one weird moment amongst many at The Underdog on 27 August 2016 when Club Hell took residence for the night as part of Come to the Sabbat Festival of Dark Arts. I was among the cast for a performance of Monsterlune’s Tales of Lunar Madness. When I arrived at the venue a little before 6pm, Starsha Lee – the headline band – was preparing a ferocious rehearsal.

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Tales of Lunar Madness was scripted and designed by Estelle Riviere Monsterlune: “monstrous hermaphroditic phantasmagorias, excreted by the cavernous mind of Mme Monsterlune; a surreal hallucinogenic tale of geishas, human sacrifice, demonic black magic, mutant babies and brephophagy.” There would be fourteen of us performing the tales. First, however, came Suri Sumatra and the Flaming Nuns from Sapphos…

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© Satanic MojoFacebook gallery

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© Satanic MojoFacebook gallery

The Flaming Nuns had left us in wimples and piety; when they returned to our chaotic carnival backstage they were topless and dripping with sugary blood. Meanwhile, Ben Hell – psychotronic sound and vision maestro of resurrected Club Hell – was preparing for forthcoming Monsterlune madness, with the Winter Quartet finely strung and ready to perform a live Danse Macabre. Our swelling audience massed blackly.

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© Satanic MojoFacebook gallery

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© Satanic MojoFacebook gallery

Anticipation was rising. Our backstage area was comfortable enough, but served as a foyer for public toilets so we had a constant stream of curious visitors. There was also a tiny attic space stuffed with drum kits, plus our deluxe rider of wine, crisps and nuts. Soon enough the freaks got into costume, while Adam – my fellow acolyte – and I got out of ours. Estelle was somehow holding it all together.

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© Lou Looby Love

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© Lou Looby Love

At last: show time! Adam and I seethe onto stage first; next comes Joe, the bondage human table; then finally Estelle as geisha Misumun beneath a veiling black umbrella. Behind us Ben projected the blood and flowers film we recorded two months earlier. Estelle performs black magic, selling her soul to the Devil for eternal youth. Enter the exotic demon Suri Rangda – there is evil dance… Misumun is to be flayed.

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© Loredana Denicola

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© Satanic MojoFacebook gallery

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© Loredana Denicola

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© Lou Looby Love

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© Lou Looby Love

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© Loredana Denicola

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© Satanic MojoFacebook gallery

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© Loredana Denicola

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© Loredana Denicola

We leave the freshly flayed Misumun alone in her torment, hallucinating a succession of nightmarish visions. Now the freaks will enter, one or – in the case of the conjoined twins – two at a time. This is a superb showcase of Estelle’s extraordinary costumes and the imaginative talents of those inhabiting them. Finally the demon returns… with a hermaphrodite… who gives birth to many children… for Misumun to eat.

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© Lou Looby Love
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© Lou Looby Love

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© Lou Looby Love

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© Satanic MojoFacebook gallery

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© Loredana Denicola

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© Satanic MojoFacebook gallery

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© Philip Seargeant
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© Lou Looby Love

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© Loredana Denicola

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© Loredana Denicola

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© Loredana Denicola

Upon conclusion of the dark parade and sacrifice of babies, there is a second-coming for me and Adam, this time escorting the Devil himself. With measured ceremony, the Devil takes his throne and calls for Misumun to be his wife. She enters once more, an outrageous bride accompanied by a shower of freaks. The marriage is celebrated, but the Devil’s hunger is not sated by a mere soul…

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© Lou Looby Love

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© Lou Looby Love

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© Satanic MojoFacebook gallery

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© Lou Looby Love
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© Philip Seargeant

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© Loredana Denicola

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© Philip Seargeant

Devour her!” hissed the Devil. Geisha Misumun, stripped and torn by the multitude of creatures, is to be eaten. I am first to jump upon her; others soon follow. Chaos reigns yet our hitherto silent audience knows this feasting is the denouement. They drown us in enthusiastic applause; as an unchoreographed rabble we quit our meal and stagger from their presence, leaving Estelle abandoned semi-naked on the floor.

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© Satanic MojoFacebook gallery

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© Satanic MojoFacebook gallery

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© Loredana Denicola

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© Satanic MojoFacebook gallery

Backstage it was party time. Everyone could let down their hair, masks, tentacles and umbilical cords. It’s been a pleasure to immerse in the weirdly fantastical Monsterlune world this year and gradually get to know its inhabitants a little better. This night I was due elsewhere, however, so whilst Estelle was still outside being shibari rope-bound, I began dressing in readiness for an early exit.

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© Loredana Denicola

I got into my clothes, Estelle got out of her ropes and I was able offer congratulations and farewells before leaving. Farewell, too: Delphine, Elodie, Erika, Joe, Sarah, Steve, et al. On my way out I passed Ben in the doorway and shared a final fleeting moment of laudation and reassurance. He’d presented a stupendous environment within which Estelle fashioned truly fabulous tales. Bravo, les freaks magnifiques. Bravo!

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