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Showing posts from May 22, 2012

The Haunted Castle (1897) - George Albert Smith

In 1897, George Albert Smith decided to remake a historic film that came out the year before it. Smith wanted to remake Méliès’ Le Manoir Du Diable. A short film from 1896 that showed a young man being tormented in an old castle.

The short that Smith produced is shorter than Méliès. Le Manoir runs at about three minuets, where Smiths british produced The Haunted Castle clocks in at only one minuet and one second. However, Smiths version kicks right off with the “Action” jumping right into action with our hero being tormented by the nocturnal naughtiness.
The general feel of this short(er) is actually more complete than its predecessor. It looks as if George Albert Smith took everything that was good about Le Manoir and shoved it into this short(er). You are closer to the action this time, getting a good look at the characters of menace that our hero battles. You can see details that Méliès’ version just didn’t have. The effects in this were still essentially the same, not much had …

Une nuit terrible (1896) - George Melies

Georges Méliès does it again in the same fashion as Le Manoir du Diable. Albeit shorter than his prior voyage into horror film. This is at least a different story. Instead of this being a period piece, it appears to be a modern one.

The film shows George Melies, himself, having One Terrible Night with a creepy, crawly, spider. The film is one of dozens of shorts released during the era that focused more on drawing crowds biased on technology rather than the plot of a film. It is still going to be a few years before Horror is fully shaped and functioning.

If you are curious to see what film looked like in the 1800's then check out below where I have included the short.

Georges Méliès stars as himself in this one man performance.The Film is called One Terrible Night in English.

Le Manoir du Diable (1896) - George Melies

According to Wikipedia in August of 2011, Le Manoir du diable by Georges Melies is the first horror movie. Well, actually its a short film (about three minuets or so) but film was really hard to come by in that time so this counts as a film to me.
The plot of the film is basic, you have your hero being tormented by demonic things in a crazy castle room... However, that plot isn't what brought the crowds. The thing that drove the popularity of these films was the fact that you were seeing motion on screen. I suggest going and seeing Hugo. That film is spectacular. It answered so many questions that I had. It really sets the scene and the tone.
The film has strong christian overtones and actually ends with Christianity prevailing over the "tides of darkness". I provided a link at the bottom of this review for anyone that would like to see this pioneer in Horror Film. The movie uses very, very early "movie magic" that is an abundance of smoke and mirror tricker…