The night he comes home…to the disco

By Luke Wilusz

John Carpenter’s classic “Halloween” set a high standard for slasher films when it was first released in 1978. It practically created the modern horror genre, and it has been imitated and outright copied for more than three decades by countless other films. It’s one of the most iconic movies of the ’70s and a masterpiece of horror filmmaking.

Siblings Karen and Richard Carpenter were a music duo in the ’70s, recording album after album of pop hits, topping music charts for most of the decade.

“Carpenters Halloween” from “The Scooty & JoJo Show” combines the musical stylings of the Carpenters with John Carpenter’s original film to create a musical cabaret performance that’s just campy and bizarre enough to work.

The show opens with a video projection of “Halloween’s” opening scene. The Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun” plays as a young Michael Myers picks up his signature kitchen knife and murders his older sister, lending a comically bright and hopeful quality to an otherwise disturbing scene. From there, the talented cast takes over, and that’s when things really get fun.

Director and co-creator Scott Bradley fills Jamie Lee Curtis’ shoes (and skirt) in the role of Laurie Strode—the quiet, shy babysitter who goes toe-to-toe with the monstrous Myers (Eric Pogrelis). However, the highlight of the show is Myers’ psychiatrist Samuel Loomis, who is portrayed by a Jim Henson-esque puppet controlled and voiced by Michael S. Miller. Loomis’ grave lines about the threat Myers poses to the community of Haddonfield, Ill., are hilariously delivered with a combination of solemn gravitas and “Sesame Street” enthusiasm.

The show’s execution fits its peculiar mash-up perfectly. It’s funny precisely because it doesn’t take itself or its subject matter too seriously. Nearly everything that made Carpenter’s film tense and terrifying is still present—from the suspenseful music to Myers’ slow, lumbering pace—but it’s contrasted with just the right amount of absurdity to make for comedic gold. For example, the scenes where Myers is stalking Strode in a car are pulled off by having Pogrelis, dressed as Myers, walk around wearing a cardboard car on his head.

It’s not hard to recognize this is a labor of love. The script is taken essentially word for word from the film, and every murder committed by Myers is recreated in meticulous detail, although they transition from tense to hilarious quickly. Each murder has been turned into a musical number, and it’s eerie how well the Carpenters’ classic lyrics sync up with the brutal acts of violence playing out onstage—the cast belts out “Hurting Each Other” while Strode is choked by the killer.

However, the show has its flaws. With a running time of one hour, the pacing feels a bit off at times. The suspenseful atmosphere of the original film wasn’t the goal for this performance, but with such a detailed recreation of the rest of the show, some scenes were rushed through to fit Carpenter’s 90-minute film into a 60-minute romp.

All in all, though, these are minor blemishes on an otherwise great show. The hilarious puppet work, campy cross-gender performances and delightfully silly musical numbers make “Carpenters Halloween” a show any Carpenter—be it John, Richard or Karen—could be proud of.

“Carpenters Halloween” opened Oct. 21 at Circuit Night Club, 3641 N. Halsted St. The show is 21+ and runs Oct. 27–30 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $15–$25 per person and can be purchased at or at (800) 838-3006.