When I met the Ghoulmaster while attending ScareLA, I knew I was standing before a persona that was bound to be huge.  I had no idea what his show was about nor did I know anything about the Ghoulmaster character prior to going to his show; however, that didn’t deter me from becoming incredibly interested in what his show was about.  What drew me to him was even though he stood way over 6′ feet tall (in shoes that skyrocked his height), and he wore a fabulous outfit and intense makeup, he had a kindness in his eyes.  After speaking to him for a few minutes (and finding out he was a New Jersey native) I knew his show was going to be one in a million.  I’m happy to report that his show is indeed one in a million.

I’ve been trying to come up with words to describe The Ghoulmaster’s Haunted Playhouse and I have to be honest, I can’t come up with any.  I could say it resembles parts of Pee-Wee Herman’s Playhouse but I wouldn’t be doing the Ghoulmaster’s justice because he really puts on his own type of show.  The Ghoulmaster takes inspiration from many sources but manages to make the show his own.  I was shocked, I was humored, I laughed hard, and at times he pulled on my heart strings.  To be able to elicit such emotions in such a short amount of time was incredibly impressive.

I’m sure you are asking yourself “What the hell is this Ghoulmaster’s Playhouse?? It’s a 90 minute show that immerses you into the Halloween world of Ghoulmaster.  The Ghoulmaster is responsible for bringing about the Halloween spirit each year from a special elixir that has traveled down his families lineage for centuries.  Problem is, he has run out of that elixir and must make it from scratch from very special instructions from his family in Transylvania.  We see this story unfold through music, dance, acrobats, and more!  This isn’t a one-man show, The Ghoulmaster employs his Ghoulies to help him with this task as well – and let me tell you, those Ghoulies all have interesting background stories as well (and they sure as shit can dance like no one’s business).

Pete Carter is the mastermind behind the Ghoulmaster.  Pete is talented and incredibly captivating on stage.  He commands a room and knows how to work the audience.  If I could describe Pete Carter and his Ghoulmaster persona I would say that he is a modern day goth version of Michael Jackson – seriously, Pete Carter was a Michael Jackson impersonator and that boy can moonwalk. The stage which the Ghoulmaster uses is small but they are able to bring it to life with their set design and creativity.  Not an inch of that stage is wasted space and the set design is on point.  The show is sexy and at times flirts with the notion of being inappropriate but it never goes over the edge.  It’s also a lot of campy fun but not to the point where you get annoyed.  The show knows when to reel it back in and for that I’m grateful.

The show is almost to a point where it’s a well oiled machine but there were a few moments where it seemed to have lost itself in all the glitz and glam.  Most new shows have to go through a period of growing pains where they are still a bit rough around the edges and I believe that The Haunted Playhouse will get to a point soon where they won’t have to worry about that.

Last but most certainly not the least, I want to mention a theme that was running throughout the show: acceptance.  Pete Carter makes it known throughout the show that no matter who you are or what you look like you are accepted.  In this day in age we are still dealing with bullying, name calling, fat shaming, etc. etc.  What Pete Carter’s Ghoulmaster show does is it envelopes all forms of people and lets them know that no matter who you are you are wonderful and should be accepted and loved.  There is no price to put on that feeling and I applaud Pete/Ghoulmaster for doing that.  As the Ghoulmaster says himself:

“I grew up living my life as if everyday were Halloween.  Costumes, make-up, blood, cobwebs and glitter covered my room.  For so long, I thought I was alone.  I always dreamt of a place where us freaks and weirdos could come together and just create dark and beautiful art through dance, music, video, magic, and special effects.  To give people an escape from reality.  That’s why I created Ghoulmaster’s Haunted Playhouse.”

In conclusion, should you see this play?  Yes, absolutely yes.  It’s an escape from reality, it’s beautifully done, and easy to lose yourself in.  I urge anyone that is looking for unique Halloween entertainment to go see The Ghoulmaster’s Haunted Playhouse.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit his website

Shannon McGrew
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