This is no joke!
Before modern horror movies, there were live fear and trembling plays. These plays were full of all the semi-realistic blood spilling and guts that made the 1940s special.
The most famous of these terrifying theatres was the Theatre du Grand Guignol in Paris. For 65 years, till the permanent closure of the theatre in 1962, the 290-seat room presented nightly scenes of horror and brutality that they are virtually on par with today's horror movies.
…"Before the war, everyone felt what they were playing was impossible. Now we know that these things, and worse, are possible in reality."