Hammond Castle

To celebrate this Halloween season, the Hammond Castle Museum created the performance program “Creature Feature” to explore John Jay Hammond Jr.’s science-fiction stories, including an adaptation of Hammond’s “The Termite Monster,” a sci-fi horror comedy written in the style of the classic “B-movie” genre.

This October, a long-standing Halloween happening at Gloucester’s Hammond Castle will cease for good, and be replaced with a new program.

The Halls of Darkness, which would take place weekends throughout October, has been canceled.

“Hammond Castle Museum remains committed to the mission and vision set forth by our founder John Hays Hammond Jr. With that in mind, the museum will no longer offer the Halls Of Darkness. That type of haunted house requires extensive preparations which place too heavy of a burden on the museum and its collection,” the museum said in prepared statement.

Instead, to celebrate this Halloween season, the museum created “Creature Feature” to explore two of Hammond’s science-fiction stories. On four dates it will present a reading of one of Hammond’s short stories and a performance of an adaptation of one of Hammond’s never-before-seen science fiction plays.

Additionally, the museum is offering a correlating exhibit on Hammond’s horror genre writings during the day, from Oct. 5 to 31.

Hammond (1898-1965) was a prolific U.S. inventor, often known as the “father of radio remote control.” But his interests were as expansive as his collection of art and artifacts from around the world which he housed in the Gloucester castle he built that sits on the outer shores of Gloucester Harbor.

“Creature Feature” will open with a reading of “The Pet,” which tells the story of two explorers who discover a strange creature — in fact a new species — in the jungle that they hope to take back to their museum but “it soon becomes clear that there is more to her than meets the eye.”

The performance will be of “The Termite Monster,” a sci-fi horror comedy written in the style of the classic “B-movie” genre.

“It is a tale of the brilliant-but-obsessed termite scientist, Dr. David Pius. When he experiments with a serum to enhance his physical abilities, he accidentally transforms himself into the most frightening monster imaginable,” the museum said.

The entire evening program runs about 45 minutes, and takes place inside the museum’s Great Hall and the courtyard.

This special Creature Feature event will be held Tuesdays on Oct. 5, 19, and 26 as well as on Saturday,Oct. 23. There will be three performances on each date, at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. Tickets are $18, and are available online at hammondcastle.org.

The temporary exhibit, “Hammond & Horror,” which is accessible with a general admission ticket, will showcase some of Hammond’s horror genre writings. The centerpiece will be an animated adaptation of “The Termite Monster” in the retro, 3-D movie tradition, for which red and blue glasses will be provided to visitors to enjoy the short film. Here is a clip from the film: https://youtu.be/5p3pKJtanGc

The museum is open daily through the end of October.

In November and December, the museum will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-675-2706, or at gmccarthy@gloucestertimes.com.

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-675-2706, or at gmccarthy@gloucestertimes.com.

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