The Theatre Bizarre

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The Theatre Bizarre
The Theatre Bizarre.jpg
Directed by Douglas Buck
Buddy Giovinazzo
David Gregory
Karim Hussain
Tom Savini
Richard Stanley
Jeremy Kasten
Produced by Daryl J Tucker
Written by Scarlett Amaris
Douglas Buck
John Esposito
Buddy Giovinazzo
David Gregory
Karim Hussain
Emiliano Ranzani
Richard Stanley
Starring Kaniehtiio Horn
Victoria Maurette
Lena Kleine
Catriona MacColl
Udo Kier
Virginia Newcomb
Music by Simon Boswell
Susan DiBona
Marquis Howell of Hobo Jazz
Cinematography Karim Hussain
Edited by Douglas Buck
Distributed by Severin Films
Release date
  • July 16, 2011 (2011-07-16) (Fantasia)
Running time
114 min.
Country United States
Language English

The Theatre Bizarre is a 2011 American horror anthology film. The six segments are directed by Douglas Buck, Buddy Giovinazzo, David Gregory, Karim Hussain, Tom Savini and Richard Stanley.[1] The wraparound segments featuring Udo Kier were directed by Jeremy Kasten.[2]


The film contains six stories, each inspired by Paris’ legendary Grand Guignol theatre.[1]

The six stories are presented within a connecting framework, "Theatre Guignol": Enola Penny is intrigued by an abandoned theatre in her neighborhood. One night the theatre door mysteriously opens and she enters. A puppet host (or Guignol) introduces six short films: "The 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.

Of the six segments, "I Love You", "Wet Dreams" and "Sweets" match the Grand Guignol genre: physical or psychological conte cruel horror with natural explanations, cynical, amoral, ironic, sexy, or gory in combinations.

"The Mother of Toads" is loosely based on a supernatural horror story by Clark Ashton Smith with elements from H.P. Lovecraft's work. Set in France, the story concerns an American anthropologist and his girlfriend who fall victim to a witch known as The Mother of Toads after the witch sells them a pair of Elder Sign earrings and shows the anthropologist a copy of The Necronomicon.

"I Love You", set in Berlin, concerns a man who awakes on his bathroom floor with bloodstains around him and deep cuts in his right hand. He is an obsessive man who follows and calls his partner constantly. His partner, a French woman, announces she is leaving him and that she has been unfaithful to him on many occasions and even had an abortion without him knowing. The obsessive nature of the man's love leads to their doom.

In "Wet Dreams" a man relates to his psychiatrist recurring nightmares about torture and castration often at the hands of his wife whom he has betrayed and abused.

In "The Accident" a mother and young daughter drive along a mountain road and come upon a fatal collision between a motorcyclist and a deer. Another biker puts the suffering deer out of its misery with his knife. The mother thoughtfully and poetically answers her daughter's questions about the nature of life and death. Most reviewers note "The Accident" seems out of place yet many describe it as the heart of the film.

"Vision Stains" is about a writer/serial killer who cannot dream. She extracts fluid from her victims' eyes as they die and injects it into her own eye so she can experience the others' lives as they flash by in their dying moments. She then logs it all in her journals. Finally she goes a step further, which leaves her able to dream at last, but at a horrible price.

"Sweets" is the story of Estelle and Greg, a pair of food fetishists who gorge on sweets, and their break up, which ends at a gourmet cult feast with Greg as the main entree.



The film is a co-production between United States based Severin Films and France based Metaluna Productions.[1]

Each director was given the same budget, schedule and narrative directive. Other than that, they were given free rein to create their 10-20 minute segments.[1]

Richard Stanley's segment is an adaptation of the short story "Mother of Toads" by Clark Ashton Smith.[1]


The film has received mainly mixed reviews, it currently holds a score of 43% on Rotten Tomatoes.[3] In an excerpt from the July 17, 2011 Fangoria review of the film, written by Michael Gingold, he says, "The many different flavors and tones in The Theatre Bizarre, courtesy of the many distinct talents who took part, means the movie ought to inspire lively debate among fans as to their favorites among the assorted stories. But regardless of your feelings about this or that individual episode, it’s guaranteed you’ll find enough to like to warrant enthusiastically recommending the movie overall."[4]

When the film played at the Oldenburg International Film Festival in Germany, it was reported that five people passed out at the screenings.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Stanley, Savini et al. create "The Theatre Bizarre"". 2011-04-04. 
  2. ^ Anderson, John (July 24, 2011). "Review:The Theatre Bizarre". Variety.  Accessed March 25, 2015.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "The Theatre Bizarre (Fantasia Film Review)". Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "The Theatre Bizarre". Retrieved 23 Mar 2015. 

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