Hoxton horror festival keeps the creeps going long after Halloween

Halloween has a tendency to bring out an insatiable blood lust in all of us.

But long after the pumpkins have started to rot, theatre-goers can continue to lap up the gore with a five-week festival devoted to the gruesome, edge-of-your-seat - and often slapstick - horror genre.

The London Horror Festival will celebrate all things macabre with a series of shows at the Courtyard Theatre in Pitfield Street, Hoxton, which opened on Tuesday (October 25).

After all where better to stage a string of classic productions and new features than the old stomping ground of serial killer Jack the Ripper?

Chief among them is the Revenge of the Grand Guignol, written by festival directors Stewart Pringle and Tom Richards from the Theatre of the Damned.

Imagine a performance so terrifying that audience members actually fainted and vomited, as they did after watching the company’s 2010 offering the Grand Guignol, and you may come close to their latest production.

Certainly not for the faint-hearted and inspired by the legendary Parisian theatre of the same name, it is a potent mix of sadistic scientists and subterranean monsters.

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But cowering behind your hands won’t help, as the soundtrack is being pushed to the limits with extra speakers for a more immersive experience and a “smell-track” of realistic aromas.

Festival producer Laura Steel, from Tufnell Park, said: “This is why people go to the theatre: to see things that are larger than life and hopefully not something that you would ever see in your everyday life.

“There are also just some people out there that like watching people get tortured!”

Also among the carnage is a production of H P Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror - a classic tale of ghouls, murder and incest adapted with a modern twist.

Cult horror film director Lloyd Kaufman will present a late-night showing of his new film Poultrygeist on November 1, while humour can be found in a spoof lecture examining the science behind a zombie outbreak by Doctor Austin on November 17.

* The festival runs until Sunday, November 27. For more information visit www.londonhorrorfestival.com.