Le Théâtre du Grand Guignol (literally, “theatre of the great puppet”) has come up a few times in conversations about the aesthetic for SHOCKHEADED PETER, and I don’t think it’s hard to see why. Grand Guignol (pronounced Grahn Geen-yol) has become a general term for entertainment dealing with macabre subject matter and featuring over-the-top, graphic violence. It stems from a theatre in Paris, founded in 1897, famous for its horrifying productions featuring gruesome scenes of murder, torture, and death.
“Audiences flocked to see the shows, at times screaming out if the drama went too far. However, some have claimed that these shows allowed Parisians to feel something, anything, in a way their ordinary lives did not. The Grand-Guignol was popular up until just after WWII when the real horror of the war brought a decline to the public’s taste for brutal, bloody fictions.”
What do you think about this interpretation? Are humans drawn to horrific, but fictional, stories and images because they allow us to experience emotions more strongly than we do in everyday life?
Find more gruesome pictures here.
Special thanks to Army of Broken Toys member Meff for these links!