As a major fan of all things Halloween, there is a lot to celebrate about living in Los Angeles in October: zombie-filled mazes, transformed theme parks and an abundance of creepy live shows. As one who dares to check them all out, you will not find anything quite as delightful, original and spooktacular as Ghoulmaster's Haunted Playhouse playing through October 31 at Hollywood's Hudson Theatre.
A curious mashup of Pee Wee's Playhouse, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Disney's The Haunted Mansion, Marilyn Manson music videos, a dash of Cirque Du Soleil, and yes, even Thriller-inspired dance-stravaganza sequences, Ghoulmaster's Haunted Playhouse is a must for every devotee of the Season of the Witch. Somewhere, Vincent Price and Michael Jackson are smiling.
The sexy, androgynous, Tim Burton-esque Ghoulmaster (performance artist Pete Carter) manages to be equal parts sweet/vulnerable and commanding/bitchy -- and it works. As fun as it all is, Ghoulmaster's Haunted Playhouse is definitely not a show for children. There's eerieness aplenty, and there's some gore, and for you fainthearted, this is far from a journey into pure terror. It's smart, campy entertainment for adults craving chills, thrills and side orders of funky choreography and corny humor. Not to mention the most beautiful, cinematic lighting, sets, makeup, sound, and art direction I've experienced in a 99 seat theatre.