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The curtain parts, revealing a darkened stage. A bloodcurdling scream rips the silence and the dim footlights sputter and rattle, throwing sparks into the audience. One can never know who... or what... will appear on this stage. You've purchased a ticket and been ushered to a seat at the Guignol where anyTHING is possible! Hold on to your programs, kiddies, as David C. Hayes takes you on a singsong trip into his dark imagination. Nothing is taboo at the Guignol whether it be he/she carnival performers and their unique gifts, a lonely man that finds a way to pleasure himself with pests or even a ten-year-old's version of Crayola-inspired vengeance. When it all becomes too gruesome, change gears and laugh a little... even if you feel bad about it. Stories written specifically for a Theatre of the Macabre dot this collection. If J. Edgar Hoover in drag isn't up your alley, find out what happens when the monster under the bed picks the wrong kid to scare or kick back and read about the exploits of those crazy swamp misogynists as they hunt down a Bayou vixen. This is American Guignol, baby... anything goes.
"I'll start by helping you out. Guignol is the main character in a
French puppet show which has come to bear his name. American Guignol is
a clever play on that name, and after reading the outstanding
introduction by HAYES, he really wants to immerse you in the AMERICAN
GUIGNOL, an experience he creates with this collection of stories.
promises of comedy, horror, taboo and gore are expertly fulfilled.
Should there ever really be an American Guignol, it probably would look
something like this.
My original idea to review every story and
talk about them individually fell flat. This collection puts on a show,
and every story is a part of that. I tried to read it in as large
swathes as possible, HAYES builds up a momentum and plays with the tones
of each story so well, that they work together in the same way that
foods compliment one another.
It's hard to say 'this story was my favorite' or 'this story was weak'. In the end, it is all part of the "production".
fiction, plays, short stories and other forms or prose form a cohesive
work. In an era of collections that either don't have a theme or
loosely stick too it, AMERICAN GUIGNOL suprises with it's full form, the
sum of its parts. Previously published work coasts in equilibrium with
new content, all guided along by the deft hands of DAVID C. HAYES.
5 Stars - David Anderson"
From Melissa DePaolo at Wicked Channel.com
"David C. Hayes’ American Guignol is a collection of 20 short horror
stories and plays. The name is based on a theater in Paris well known
for its explicitly violent plays combined with odd bits of comedy thrown
in to lighten the mood. David pays homage to “The Theatre du
Grand-Guignol” quite well with this anthology.
Within this book, David takes you on a journey that involves stomach
vaginas, vengeance, fetus zombies, and swamp hillbillies. It does a
fairly good job of walking the lines between thought-provoking horror,
snarky comedy, and gut-wrenching tragedy. Some of the highlights include
“Trevor and the Box of 64”, “I Am Going To Kill Me”, “’neath”, and “Oh,
The prevailing theme of many of these stories seems to be justice in
many forms including for the fearful, lonely, and innocent. The justice
itself takes many forms, none of which I’ll discuss because I do not
want to give away anything. However, not every story deals with justice.
Some twist ideas involving signs of fate, ideas about historical
figures J. Edgar Hoover and J.F.K, and even touches on the legend of
Overall, this book is definitely worth a read and I would highly
recommend it to anyone who enjoys horror, gore, or has a perverse sense
of justice. Every story is compelling and enjoyable. Definitely pick
this one up."