PLAYHOUSE OF THE DAMNED
by Richard Nathan
The spotlight is up on our host, GUS THE GHOUL, while
the set for the next story is prepared. This
set is the living room of the HOWARD family on Christmas Eve, although very
little furniture is needed to tell this story.
There should be two chairs, one for MR. HOWARD and one for MRS. HOWARD,
and a very large Christmas Tree (which can be a two-dimensional plywood
Now for something really frightening!
Picture a strange old man with mystic powers
which enable him to spy on anyone, in any
hiding place, at any hour.... an old man who
breaks into houses in the dead of night, who
no lock can keep out.... picture an old man
named "Santa Claus."
Gus exits. The spotlight goes out and during the blackout, MR. HOWARD, MRS. HOWARD, and their little daughter JANE enter. As the lights go up, Jane is playing with a cloth doll.
What's the matter, baby? You look like you
don't feel so well. Don't worry; I'll give you a
big hug and make you all better.
Jane gives the doll a hug so that the doll's head is beside Jane's neck.
Ow! You bad baby! Why did you bite me?
I'll bet you're a vampire!
holds the doll at arm's length. She
has painted its face so that it is pale and sickly looking, and Jane has added
clay fangs to the doll's mouth.
You've become an evil spawn of Satan,
haven't you? Well, I'll just have to put a
wooden stake through your vile and
takes a pencil and stabs the doll's chest with it.
There! Now she's at peace.
Howard puts down her needlepoint. She
doesn't approve of Jane's game.
I think it's time you were in bed, Jane. You
know Santa won't come until you're sound asleep.
Mommy, are you sure Santa can get in, even
though we don't have a chimney?
Santa is magic. He can get into any house.
So if he runs out of presents before he gets here,
he can just break into a toy store and get some
Santa doesn't need to rob stores. He's got plenty
of presents in his sleigh.
I hope he remembers everything. I asked for a
Playhouse Of The Damned lunchbox, a Playhouse
Of The Damned comic book, a Playhouse Of The
Damned pop-up storybook, a Playhouse Of The
Damned computer game, and a Gus the Ghoul doll.
A Gus the Ghoul doll?
For the Dollhouse of the Damned I got on my
last birthday. Oh, I almost forgot! Kitty wants a
Catbox of the Damned and some Gus the Ghoul
Gritty Kitty Litter.
You'd better go to bed, dear, or Santa won't be
able to bring you any presents at all.
Okay. Goodnight Mommy. Goodnight Daddy.
gives each of her parents a kiss, and then exits off to bed.
I hope you didn't buy her any of that horrible
trash. She's too caught up in this horror business!
Itís just a phase all kids go through. You know,
I had quite a collection of horror comic books
when I was Jane's age. I remember one story I
loved. It was about a little boy whose mother
threw out his entire comics collection because he
wouldn't keep his room clean.
Good for her!
Then one night a werewolf bit the boy. So the
next time there was a full moon, he became a
werewolf, and when his mother entered his room
That's terrible. Why do children have to dwell
on all that blood and violence?
You like Jane to believe in the good side of
fantasy, like Santa Claus, right?
Then you've got to also allow her to believe in
the evil side. Good versus evil! It's two sides
of the same coin.
a loud knock at the front door.
Were you expecting company?
Howard goes to the door and shouts through it to whoever is on the other side,
never dreaming that it is a VAMPIRE.
Who is it?
Could I please use your telephone? My car
skidded into a snow bank and I can't seem to
get it out.
Please! It's freezing out here!
All right. After all, it's Christmas Eve. Come
Mr. Howard opens the front door, and the Vampire enters. The Vampire looks like an ordinary man, maybe a little paler.
Thank you. I couldn't have come in until you
No vampire can enter a home until he's been
invited inside. It's a strange rule. There are
many strange things about the undead.
I think you'd better make that call and go.
You weren't listening, were you? I don't have
any call to make. I don't even have a car. I
lied so you would invite me into your home,
so that I can drink your blood. I'm a vampire!!!!
I'm calling the police!
The Vampire violently grabs Mr. Howard by the front of his shirt and glares into his eyes.
You're calling no one.
hurls Mr. Howard aside. Then the
Vampire stares at Mrs. Howard and she's helpless with fear.
Jane enters in her bathrobe.
Mommy, who's that man?
Vampire glances at Jane.
Don't touch her!
I never harm children. Call it a sentimental
weakness. Or call it practical. Adults have
so much more blood in them.
Vampire advances on Mrs. Howard. He
grabs her shoulders.
Stop! Please! Don't hurt my wife!
The Vampire is about to bite Mrs. Howard's neck. Suddenly, SANTA CLAUS bursts in through the door. Santa looks like the traditional Santa Claus, and he carries a huge sack of presents.
Unhand that woman, fiend from hell!!!
I said, "Unhand her!"
Mind your own business, Claus!
I warned you!
Santa reaches into his sack and takes out a wooden stake, which he plunges directly into the Vampire's heart. The Vampire falls dead. (The Vampire should fall on his side, facing upstage, so that the stake in his heart wonít distract the audienceís attention.)
Merry Christmas, Vampire!
Oh Santa, you saved us!
Merry Christmas, Jane!
I don't believe this.
Santa! You... and the vampire... you're both
Of course I'm real! So are my elves, and the
Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy....
Then why haven't I ever seen you before?
You never believed hard enough. But Jane
believes! Don't you, Jane?
Uh-huh. I believe in all those things you said.
And I believe in Frankenstein, and werewolves,
Werewolves! Did you know a werewolf
attacked me just last month up at the North
Pole? He even took a little bite out of me,
but fortunately I had a gun full of silver bullets
mimes shooting a gun.
Did you kill him, Santa?
No, I'm afraid I only winged him, and he got
away. But if he ever shows his hairy face
around me again, he won't be so lucky! Next
time it'll be BANG!!! Right through the heart!
Can I have my presents now?
Of course you may.
digs deep into his sack of toys, so that his head and hands disappear from view.
He keeps looking through the presents in his sack during the next few
Wait a minute. Did he say a werewolf bit him?
Howard turns to his wife, who is still in shock over meeting Santa Claus and a
Honey, do you happen to know what phase
the moon is in?
It must be full, right? Don't people go crazy
when the moon is full?
I'll go look!
Jane runs downstage and mimes looking out a window.
You're right, Mommy. There's a big full moon,
just coming up over the trees.
Jane! Please stop believing in werewolves!
Just stop believing in werewolves before Santa
takes his head out of that sack!
realizes why her father is frightened.
realizes why her father is frightened.
But you don't think Santa Claus could.... just
because he was bitten by one.... he couldn't
turn into a werewolf! Could he?
Of course not! Don't believe it, Jane!
walks over to the sack as her parents cower in fear.
Santa? Are you all right in there?
She timidly pokes at the sack. At that instance, a WEREWOLF runs into the room and lunges at Jane, Santa emerges from the sack holding a pistol.
fires the pistol, killing the werewolf. The
werewolf staggers across the room, clutching his wound.
He disappears from view for an instant as he steps behind the Christmas
Tree, and when he steps out of the other side (still clutching his wound) he has
been transformed into one of Santa's cute little elves.
The elf dies.
Why, it's little Elmo! He must have stowed
away on my sleigh. Fortunately, I always
carry a gun loaded with silver bullets.
But I don't get it. You said a werewolf bit
you. Shouldn't you have been turned into...?
Really, Mr. Howard, I'm surprised at you! You
should know that not even "The Playhouse Of
The Damned" could turn Santa Claus into a
runs to Santa and hugs him. Mr. and
Mrs. Howard smile and put their arms around each other.
spotlight comes up on GUS THE GHOUL.
Give me a bucket! Gag! What kind of an ending
was that? I was sure Santa Claus was going to
kill that little girl, and then I could have made a
joke about Santa Claus spelled C-L-A-W-S.
Instead, no one gets killed but the poor little werewolf!
Oh, and ... that vampire. He got killed too. But
none of the family! I think the author of that one
better get a lump of coal in his stocking! That
Abruptly Gus notices that SANTA CLAUS is standing beside him. Santa laughs merrily and hands Gus a brightly wrapped gift.
Ho! Ho! Ho! Here you are, Gus!
For me? Aw, Santa! You shouldn't have!
tears off the wrapping, and discovers his present is a rusty old bucket.
What the hell is this?
Didn't you just say, "Somebody give me a
bucket!" Ho! Ho! Ho!
takes the can and puts it over Santa's head, and then drums on it.
Click here to go to another PLAYHOUSE OF THE DAMNED story
© 2000 by Richard Nathan. All rights reserved
The author grants all internet uses to print these scripts for their own, personal, non-commercial use. No other use may be made without the author's permission. Without limiting the foregoing, the plays may not be staged without the author's express permission.
Send e-mail to the author at .