hauntedtheater3Prepare to diorama as the staff of Brookdale Haunted Theater creaks open the doors of their live-action eeks-cursion beginning Friday night.

hauntedtheater4While it sometimes seems that the shambling zombies and vamping bloodsuckers of a walk-thru haunted house can’t hold a candle to the horrors of the real world, we do take strange comfort from the annual appearance of those hooded goblins and snooded ghouls.

And here on the Greater Red Bank Green, where we embrace our hometown traditions, one of the weirdest rituals of the calendar year returns this Friday, when Brookdale Haunted Theater rises once more for the first of two pre-Halloweekends of pop-up chills.

Created, produced and performed by past and present members of the Theater Club program at Brookdale Community College, and hosted at the Performing Arts Center on the Lincroft campus (parking lot 2 at BCC), the live-action fright factory offers up a shriekworthy showcase for the acting, tech and design skills of the BCC student body. It’s a gory corollary to the dramas and musicals of the academic year (although last summer’s choice of Shakespeare production, Titus Andronicus, certainly gave Count Drac and crew a run for their bloody lucre).

For a ticket price of $12 ($10 BCC staff and seniors, $5 kids and students), the Haunted Theater runs tour groups through its backstage maze of interactive fright environments between 7 and 10:30 p.m., Friday through Sunday nights (October 16 to 18, and 23 to 25). Patrons are ushered into the PAC’s auditorium, split into groups of 10 to 15, and guided through a winding corridor that features manned dioramas, scarifying skits and the dreaded pop-out (which is to horror as the pun is to humor).

Also offered are “fear-free” Kids Tours for younger thrillseekers (and monster-phobic milquetoasts), running from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday afternoons (October 17, 18, 24, 25). Tickets are available at the creaking door, and more info by calling (732) 224-2411.