The Theatre Bizarre is a 2011 horror anthology film. The six segments are directed by Douglas Buck, Buddy Giovinazzo, David Gregory, Karim Hussain, Tom Savini and Richard Stanley. Each of the stories was inspired by Paris’ legendary Grand Guignol theatre.
The six stories are presented within a connecting framework, “Theatre Guignol”: Enola Penny is intrigued by an abandoned theatre in her neighbourhood. One night the theatre door mysteriously opens and she enters. A puppet host (or Guignol, Udo Kier) introduces six short films. “Mother of Toads”, “I Love You”, “Wet Dreams”, “The Accident”, “Vision Stains” and “Sweets”. As each is shown, the host becomes more human and Enola becomes more puppet-like.
“I Love You”, “Wet Dreams” and “Sweets” match the Grand Guignol genre: physical or psychological cruel horror with natural explanations, each a combination of the cynical, amoral, ironic, frisky or gory.
“Mother of Toads” is loosely based on a supernatural horror story by Clark Ashton Smith. In “Vision Stains” a writer/serial killer injects fluid extracted from her victims’ eyes into her own to experience their lives for her journals. Most reviews note “The Accident” seems out of place: a mother and daughter thoughtfully discuss the nature of death after witnessing an accident.
“The Theater Bizarre is a lot of fun; the film is sequenced well, and the movie’s sensibilities lean towards fun gore (and not a small amount of nudity). It’s definitely a film in the tradition of The Monster Club and other Amicus anthology movies. It really is a shame that the long-awaited latest from Richard Stanley is just so damn terrible, but the rest of the film’s gory goodness more than makes up for it.” Badass Digest
“How much mileage you’ll get will obviously depend on your tastes as like any good anthology film, this one is all over the place but all in all The Theatre Bizarre is a breathe of twisted, morbid fresh air far removed from mainstream formulaic horror and a film made with an obvious passion for the genre by all involved. Rock! Shock! Pop!