Grand Guignol

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Alternative forms[edit]


Popular form of Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol.

Proper noun[edit]

Grand Guignol

  1. (historical) A Parisian theatre which specialized in grotesque and grisly horror shows.
  2. (by extension) That which thrives on grotesquery and gore.
    • 1926 June 19 [U.S. publication date in the Illustrated London News], G. K. Chesterton, "Spain and the Color Black", reprinted in, 1991, the Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton, volume XXIV, The Illustrated London News, 1926-1928, Ignatius Press, →ISBN, pages 112-113
      I may remark, in passing, that I did not go to see any bullfights... . But if I had preferred a Grand Guignol thrill to a great experience of a great nation,... .
    • 1987, Simon Watney, "The Spectacle of AIDS", reprinted as chapter 13 of, 1993, Henry Abelove, Michèle Aina Barale, and David M. Halperin (eds.), The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, Routledge, →ISBN, page 206
      Hence the incomparably strange reincarnation of the cultural figure of the male homosexual as a predatory, determined invert, wrapped in a Grand Guignol cloak of degeneracy theory, and casting his lascivious eyes-and hands-out from the pages of Victorian sexology manuals and onto "our" children, and above all onto "our" sons.
    • 1993, Florence King, Southern Ladies and Gentlemen, St. Martin's Press, →ISBN, page 147
      Everything quickly gets impossibly sensitive, aesthetic, ethereal, and opaquely lovely, yet there is a Grand Guignol thread running through it all that results in constant ominous tension, as though something dreadfully beautiful is going to happen at any moment-i.e., the author is going to turn queer.
    • 2018 June 16, Fiona Sturges, “Cattleprods! Severed tongues! Torture porn! Why I’ve stopped watching the Handmaid’s Tale”, in Katharine Viner, editor, The Guardian[1], London: Guardian News & Media, ISSN 0261-3077, OCLC 229952407, archived from the original on 5 February 2020:
      Should we be surprised? It is not as though we haven't seen this stuff before in glossy, grand guignol crime series such as Luther and Ripper Street, with their artful depictions of lady corpses, all alabaster skin and wonkily splayed limbs, as men stand over them stifling their erections.

Further reading[edit]