Welcome one and all to the Last Door on the Left – a travel agency for the adventurous soul. Have you always wanted to see the world beyond the wardrobe? Longed to wait for the train at 9 ¾? Pined for tickets to hear Plava Laguna sing at Phloston Paradise? Look no further.
A very dark and stormy, stygian and spooky good evening to you all on this fine October Friday. We here at the Last Door on the Left are so thrilled and chilled to receive you, and offer you our most humble hospitality as we continue our Halloween themed excursions this month. I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey and captivate you with a spectacular night’s entertainment at Frank N. Furter’s castle. There will be dinner and dancing, a lecture on the latest in cutting edge scientific discovery, and – of course! because no tour would be complete without it – a science fiction double feature picture show.
The appeal of the castle really starts with the grounds, so I do love to start the tour by approaching on foot. There’s nothing quite like the visual juxtaposition of the modern motorcycle-club aesthetic on the front gardens of an old Victorian Gothic manor. The “ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK” signage also adds a very hip DIY look, in addition to providing a little eerie ambiance. It’s an apt warning, too, if the dogs are loose on the property. The glowing light of the glass geodesic dome that is irreverently – and somewhat inexplicably – superimposed on the otherwise stolid stone edifice is a beacon in the dark of a cold and rainy night.
Packing Pro-Tip #1: An overnight kit with a change of dry clothes. Our hosts for the evening will endeavour to divest you of your damp clothes, but may be a bit… lackadaisical… in providing for their replacement. It’s best to come prepared.
At first glimpse, the interior of the mansion has been described as a “hunting lodge for rich weirdos”. Well, who WOULDN’T want to see that? Admittedly, the art and oddities about the place give it a slightly cluttered appearance, and everything is in dire need of the judicious application of a dust rag, but once you’ve met the hired help, you’ll understand that perhaps their main function at the manor is not, in fact, its upkeep.
The main ballroom – in contrast to the dark and disheveled entrance hall – is a bright and airy room with walls painted to resemble the sky, marbled floors, red velvet draperies, and a well-lit stage area. The perfect place for an impromptu dance party! Does anybody know how to Madison? No? How about the Time Warp? The bright white doors offer a cheery divergence from the crepuscular stand-alone cage elevator they open onto, which seems almost ominous after the luster of the ballroom.
Packing Pro-Tip #2: Candy. Frank may just be some sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania, but his handyman has ISSUES. He’s been faithful for a long time, and believe me when I tell you that this is one handyman you don’t want to disappoint. So when you knock, and he thinks you’re the Candyman? My advice is to have some candy.
Now, Frank himself is a bit of a character; not unlike his castle. Even if you wanted to judge the proverbial book by its cover, I’m not sure how you would go about doing so. He is definitely a friendly sort, though, so I would just smile, and let him invite you in for a bite to eat, maybe a Steve Reeves movie. If you’re REALLY lucky, you’ll even get invited up to the lab!
Savvy Traveller Side Note #1: Keep your hands to yourself. Frank – Dr. Frank N. Furter, if you will – is ostensibly a scientist. He is creating life, from scratch, in a rainbow tank in his laboratory because building muscles in a gym is just so passé. He is not, however, a stickler for biosafety protocols. I really don’t recommend touching anything. Additionally, this advice isn’t just good in the literal sense! If you want to stay out of the drama – and Frank is a little jealous of the limelight, fyi – this advice is solid in the figurative sense as well, because laying hands on Frank’s new boytoy is a surefire recipe for unpleasant attention.
The lab really is the piece-de-resistance of the entire excursion, however. Two stories, with dual ramps accessing a gallery overhanging the main theatre. This is a lab meant for unveiling dramatic discoveries to adoring fanatics. (With full marks for being wheelchair (and motorcycle) accessible.) If you’re going to witness the very creation of life, itself, this is the swankiest place in which to do it. If you can get past the blood stains.
Packing Pro-Tip #3: Protein bar/meal replacement. Meals at Frank’s castle can be both an interesting and a disagreeable experience for everyone involved. Formal dress is, at least, optional, however the mystery meat is often more mysterious than comfort would dictate. Especially when the mystery is solved by the dramatic reveal of a partial dead body with a suspicious looking chunk missing. I very much recommend bringing your own food.
Savvy Traveller Side Note #2: Hotel accommodations. Frank and his motley crew are always more than happy to host the plucky patrons of the Last Door on the Left overnight, but even for the most audacious and intrepid wanderers, a word to the wise: keep your wits about you. Drop your guard for even a moment and you’ll find yourself seduced, transduced, medusa’d, de-medusa’d, and dancing in the evening floor show in makeup that is SO not your colour.
But before you go, be it in the evening or after you’ve risked the overnight experience, be sure to check out the theatre. Full stage, lighting and sound board, velvet curtains, even a pool (or was that in the medusa-induced hallucinations? Frank will never tell!), with seating for a decked-out crowd, this luxury show hall is a dramatist’s dream.
And after all of that? The amazing tour of Frank’s castle still has one more surprise in store for you. If you braved the overnight, survived the floor show, pulled off the makeup (and I know you did, you cheeky thing, you!), you still need to make sure you were on the handyman’s good side before he blew the lid off Frank’s hedonist lifestyle – and, well, life – and decided to launch the whole castle back into space toward Transsexual, Transylvania.
So here we are at the Last Door on the Left, signing off on another exciting adventure, and looking forward to our next expedition with much antici………