#318 Pulp Theatre
Posted by Michael on 09 February 2007 in Places, Events
The term 'Grand Guignol' has come to refer to "any dramatic entertainment that deals with macabre subject matter and features over-the-top graphic violence" according to the unofficial but comprehensive Grand Guignol website [grandguignol.com]. The term comes directly from a theatre set up in Paris called Le Theatre du Grand-Guignol that ran from 1897 to 1962. The theatre specialised in a type of 'pulp theatre'. This consisted of short, sharp plays (usually about 5 or 6 packed into one seating) often of a ribald and saucy or grisly and gory nature. Their little horror shows became particularly when known, largely due to the luridly authentic special effects employed. Often spare parts from butcher shops were used to achieve effects such as live amputations and decapitations. The Grand Guignol even came to London during the roaring 20s but was considered too sordid an affair to stay in town for too long.
A theatre group calling themselves the Thrillpeddlers [thrillpeddlers.com] seek to keep the genre alive and wacky funster, Angie Reed [angiereed.com] has written a little ditty about the 'Old Mistress of the Grand Guignol'. Let’s hope there some sort of revival in time for next All Hallow's Eve.