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Russell Blackwood
Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 1:50 pm Reply with quote
Moderator Joined: 18 Sep 2003 Posts: 125
Here's the press release for Thrillpeddlers' latest show at The Hypnodrome in San Francisco ...




An All-New Hypnodrome Horror Revue

Opening Thursday, June 23rd
Plus added attractions starting Saturday, July 2

The world's only Grand Guignol triple terror stage show is back!
Following the spectacular success of last fall's wildly popular
Welcome to the Hypnodrome (a Halloween treat held over till Christmas!)
THRILLPEDDLERS, veteran purveyors of perverse stage shenanigans,
return with an even more elaborate evening of hospitable horror
- Blood Bucket Ballyhoo!

Also returning are the Hypnodrome's notorious "Shock Boxes" -
devilishly renovated - in which audience members will actually
feel the effects of bizarre mind control, rat catcher's poisonous
gas and Blood Bucket Ballyhoo's electro-magnetic lights-out finale!
(Patrons who book these private "Shock Box" seats for two are advised
to bring someone they enjoy clutching in terror.)

With this fresh summer show, THRILLPEDDLERS is declaring its
transformation from an annual Halloween-season tradition into
a year-round smorgasbord of sensation, combining works of vintage
Grand Guignol with contemporary, original plays by noted crime
and horror authors.

The new show debuts a pair of wickedly dark sex farces by playwright
Rob Keefe. In "Lips of the Damned," illicit lovers are locked
in a museum of antique torture devices, with sexy and skin-crawling
results. The show features an array of diabolical devices, including
a scold's bridal, a Victorian funeral cortege (complete with
coffin alarm, should the dead awaken), and a frighteningly authentic
recreation of the first guillotine, built in 1792. All are put
to good use in Keefe's maniacally suspenseful curtain raiser.

"A Slight Tingling," the uproariously blood-soaked closer, climaxes
with a sensational Lights-Out Spook Show. Two venerable veterans
of the old Spook Show circuit, Steve Conners and Dick Newton,
advised Thrillpeddlers in the creation of the show's special effects.
Conners was the longtime assistant and now the heir to the secrets of famed Ghostmaster "Dr. Silkini," and Newton toured throughout the 1940s with "Dr. Ogre Banshee's Chasm of Spasms."

The black comedies bookend the evening's dramatic centerpiece,
"The Drug," a 1930 thriller set in the opium dens of Saigon.
San Francisco's resident Czar of Noir, Eddie Muller, penned the
adaptation. "Rene Breton's original two-act play is a compact
noir mystery," Muller says. "It's sexy and seductive, but builds
inexorably to a very Grand Guignol climax." Hinting at how horrible
that climax might be, Muller notes that Jonathan Horton, who
created Jeff Goldblum's makeup for The Fly, designed the prosthetic
effects used in "The Drug" (see attached press photo).

Things get more contemporary starting Saturday, July 2, when Mel Gordon, America's foremost expert on the history of Grand Guignol theatre, debuts his original play "Abu Ghraib," Gordon stokes the scenario's "for us or against us" rhetoric to the ultimate Grand Guignol outrage.

Also beginning Saturday, July 2, The Hypnodrome will present Special
Midnight Shows of Blood Bucket Ballyhoo, for patrons who really
know how to stretch out a summer weekend. "The midnight shows will be full of surprises, like a theatrical s?ance." says THRILLPEDDLERS' producer-director Russell Blackwood. "We're listing the curtain time as 11:45 so we'll have everyone in their seats, ready to go. This year is the 150th anniversary of spirit theatre, and we think this is the proper way to celebrate it. And it's only one of the ideas we're working on the make the late shows special for the hardcore fans who stay up late with us!"

THRILLPEDDLERS - San Francisco-based leaders of the Grand Guignol

Blood Bucket Ballyhoo - A summer of "Must See" Shock-Show attractions from the mondo to macabre!

The Hypnodrome - 575 10th Street (between Bryant and Division),
San Francisco.

Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, starting June 23.

8 p.m. nightly, plus a special Midnight Show (11:45 curtain) every Saturday
starting July 2.

$18 advance / $20 Door / $69 SHOCK BOX for two.
On-line tickets available at
Or in-person at the TIX Booth in Union Square.
More Info: and 415-248-1900

Last edited by Russell Blackwood on Mon Aug 01, 2005 9:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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Russell Blackwood
Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 7:53 am Reply with quote
Moderator Joined: 18 Sep 2003 Posts: 125
Here's a capsule review of BLOOD BUCKET BALLYHOO from the S.F. Bay Guardian's Robert Avila:

Blood Bucket Ballyhoo
Hypnodrome, 575 Tenth St; 248-1900
$18-69. Thurs-Sat, 8pm

Life is a macabre array, old chum, judging by the one-act comedy-thrillers brought together in Thrillpeddlers' summer shock show. Co-producer Russell Blackwood directs a game cast in a revue of side-show horror and kink that begins with Rob Keefe's Lips of the Damned (key terms include rats, poison gas, adultery, and guillotine fetish); followed by Eddie Muller's adaptation of the 1930 thriller The Drug, which opens an eye on a Saigon opium den; and finally pulls out all the stops (via electromagnetism) with Keefe's campy and especially satisfying A Slight Tingling, a piece combining preposterous medical flummery, haunted-house high jinks, and the worst excesses of 1950s sci-fi movies. Done up in semi-rigged surroundings with fervidly hokey fidelity to the Grand Guignol style (named for the famed Paris theater that staged impresario Oscar M?t?nier's gory "slice of death" melodramas when George A. Romero was just a red vein in his father's eye), Blood Bucket Ballyhoo is a platelet-heavy triplet of tawdry but tantalizing amusements. (Avila)
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Russell Blackwood
Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:24 pm Reply with quote
Moderator Joined: 18 Sep 2003 Posts: 125
This is a review of BLOOD BUCKET BALLYHOO from the SF Weekly:

"Blood Bucket Ballyhoo"
Don't get any on ya: Three violent plays, in the Grand Guignol vein
By Chloe Veltman

Published: Wednesday, August 3, 2005

"Blood Bucket Ballyhoo," a triptych of Grand Guignol shorts adapted for schlock-horror impresarios Thrillpeddlers by Rob Keefe and Eddie Muller, explores the twilight zone of 19th-century French taste with the help of some of the most elaborate props you're ever likely to stumble across outside of a dominatrix convention. A rat-infested Museum of Horrors -- equipped with a real, working guillotine and a coffin for those unfortunate enough to be buried alive -- is the setting for Lips of the Damned, a story about a cuckolded husband's revenge upon his wayward wife and her lover, suggested by the 1906 French comedy La Veuve by Eug?ne H?ros and L?on Abric. In The Drug (adapted from Ren? Berton's La Drouge, first performed in 1930), a bored, high-class lady is forced to confront a hideously disfigured ex-lover one night in a seedy Oriental opium den. Blood splatters and prosthetic body parts fly, but the lady -- quite literally -- cannot keep her eyes off the man she once destroyed. And in A Slight Tingling (inspired by the 1907 comedy Les Op?rations du Professeur Verdier by Elie de Bassan), a surgeon's daughter attempts to find a pair of lost surgical scissors in the bodies of three of her father's patients with the aid of an amazing magnetic contraption. Director Russell Blackwood and his cast of dedicatedly damned souls present a danse macabre of ketchup-red theatrics. "Blood Bucket Ballyhoo" is in the best of the worst of all possible tastes.
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