Articles about the Grand Guignol
We've collected a number of magazine articles published during the heyday of the Grand Guignol which we think not only provide some insight into the theatre itself, but also the public's appetite for the lurid stories (not always true) of what went on inside. Below, you'll find links to those articles as well as a few more recent takes on the Grand Guignol. If you have a copy of a magazine or newspaper article related to the Grand Guignol that's not listed here, please let us know. If we post it, we'll be happy to give you credit for providing it.
Murders in the Rue Chaptal
From TIME Magazine, 1947
"Tucked away in a corner of Paris’ rue Chaptal, a cobblestone nook at the edge of Montmartre, is a quaint little Gothic chapel. Inside, carved cherubs and two seven-foot angels smile down from the black-raftered vault at a nightly round of vile murders, mangling, and assorted acts of torturing, fang-baring, acid-throwing."
Paris Writhes Again
From TIME Magazine, 1950
"Last week Grand-Guignol began its 50th season with four new short plays which had been toned down for the benefit of queasy critics. It was not like the old days; there were only three gruesome murders, and there was no torture more horrendous than a barehanded strangulation. Nobody in the audience even fainted."
Theatre of Horrors
From SEE Magazine, 1950
"Just off the Place Pigalle, at the end of an alley in Paris’ Montmartre, the little Theatre du Grand Guignol tonight serves up its regular dish of chilled crime in the raw, as it has done since 1897. As usual, nearly 300 assorted Parisians, provincial Frenchmen and foreign tourists will pay 80 cents to $1.50 to participate vicariously in ghoulish, realistic mayhem and murder performed by expert actors."
The Lady Vanishes
From NEWSWEEK, 1950
"One night last week the Grand Guignol audience was abruptly told between the second and third acts of James Hadley Chase’s lurid “No Orchids for Miss Blandish” to get its money back at the box office. The play could no go on because its star, a 22-year-old blonde, Nicole Riche, playing her first big part as an heiress kidnapped and raped by an American gangster, had suddenly vanished from the theater."
From FIVE STAR FINAL Magazine, 1950
"Suffering San Franciscans, already jittery over war scares, had to endure further horrors late this summer when the San Francisco Repertory Company, with notable bad timing, imported a group of blood curdling dramas from the Grand Guignol Theater in Paris."
From PACE Magazine, 1951
"Bluebeard was a student by comparison with the blood-dripping slaughters which take place nightly in Paris and San Francisco."
Fading Horrors of the Grand Guignol
From THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, 1957
"The Grand Guignol is more than a theatre: it is a tradition, an institution, like the Eiffel Tower, the Folies Bergères, and Maxim’s.
Outdone By Reality
From TIME Magazine, 1962
"Just off the Rue Pigalle in Paris, men with picks, shovels and wrenching equipment are preparing to demolish a tiny, 230-seat theater that has just folded after 65 bloodcurdling years. It is the Grand Guignol."
Fear of Science
From SOMA Magazine, 1991
"San Francisco has recently been treated to a play which dares to give the audience the horror and melodrama they crave rather than the stultifying naturalism they are too often told they ought to want. Laboratory of Hallucinations by Russell Blackwood, produced on September at 30 Rose Theatre, is a transformation of a 1916 play by Andre de Lorde which forms part of the legendary and seminal Grand Guignol repertoire."
House of Horrors
From GRAND STREET, 1996
"The smallest theater in Paris, it was also the most atypical. Two large angels hung above the orchestra and the theater's neogothic wood paneling; and the boxes, with their iron railings, looked like confessionals (the building had, in fact, once been a chapel)."
The Gore and Glory of the Grand Guignol
From CALLBOARD Magazine, 1996
"A Chinese torture master rips a strip of flesh from his victims naked back. A lunatic gouges out a young woman's eye with a knitting needle. A French soldier's hands are chopped off by the enemy. What's more, all these atrocities and more have been witnessed by thousands of onlookers during a 60 year rein of terror that shocked and stunned Paris. Thankfully, no one got hurt. This murder, mayhem, and mutilation was staged for the enjoyment of ticket buyers at Theatre du Grand Guignol."
The Grand-Guignol: Aspects of Theory and Practice
From THEATRE RESEARCH INTERNATIONAL, 2000
"The Grand-Guignol is a neglected theatrical tradition with an incalculable, yet tangible, impact on other dramatic and cinematic genres. Particularly remarkable is its use of–and influence on–other forms. This is evident in the way in which it consolidated nineteenth-century melodrama (especially the crime genre of the Boulevard du Temple theatres), reinventing it for the twentieth century."