The “Great Puppet,” a French theatrical tradition that spanned nearly a century, made horror an everyday over-the-top phenomenon.
The Grand Guignol was a small theater, seating just under 300, that left a huge impact on atrocity and terror. Their mayhem took the ghoulish to its apex, a level Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk try to mimic with some success in their televised American Horror Story.
Our American stages have never had a great tradition of frightening the audience. Phantom of the Opera is the closest thing to a scary story on Broadway right now. It is a crowd pleaser with its lush music and eccentric anti-hero.
There is nothing genuinely ghoulish about Phantom, which has had a nearly 30-year run at The Majestic Theatre
and has gone around the globe in many touring companies.
Your children, dressed as ghosts and ghouls, witches and werewolves, may be scarier than anything you’ll see on stage this year. The movies, well, they are another story; many as truly blood-curdling, scream-inducing as anything the Grand Guignol came up with in their heydey. Hitchcock’s works are subtler than the Saw franchise, and therefore much much spookier. I spent the shower scene of Psycho under the chair in the cinama house when I saw it.