31 Days of Hallowe’en, Day 31: Le Manoir du diable (1896)

Yeah,  you read that date right. Widely-cited as the world’s first horror movie, this dinky little three-minute short was actually intended more as a light-hearted bit of fun, rather than a proper chiller. Director and producer Georges Méliès filmed the movie on his own property, and it looks pretty cavernous.

First, we see a giant bat (honestly, it’s fucking huge, like the size of a small horse), who transforms into some demon, who then start a messing with two young soldiers.There’s some cat-and-mouse chase going on, but the action is confined to one corridor. There’s transformations aplenty, using a tsart-stop technique in which one actor stands still and the other runs off-camera and waits for the horse bat to show up.

I saw this on YouTube, and even though the picture quality is extremely blurry, I’m amazed it’s lasted this long. It’s a cute way to spend three minutes,  just so you can say you watched the first ever horror movie.

Happy Hallowe’en!!


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