1 to 3 min., 1896
Written by Georges Méliès
Directed by Georges Méliès
My rating: Various
Going back to the very beginning.
Le Manoir Du Diable (aka The House Of The Devil)
3 min., 1896
This one starts with a bat flying in and then it turns into a man (he appears to be a vampire) who then conjures up a cauldron. He then makes a man appear out of a puff of smoke and then the man starts stoking the fire under the cauldron. A woman appears from there and after that two men start talking. The man makes three ghosts appear and they scare the other man. After more ghosts and the woman reappears, the man scares away the vampire with a giant cross.
The story is really what makes this one really fun. Without any form of dialogue you just have to make it up for yourself and it was actually fun re-watching it and thinking about what else they could be saying.
Une Nuit Terrible (aka A Terrible Night)
1 min., 1896
A man is trying to sleep when a giant bug starts crawling on his bed. He flips out and kills it with a broom, his foot and by jumping on it. He then puts it the end table next to the bed. Now he can’t sleep because of the bug.
The best part is the bug effects. Very simple but very well done, but it does come off as too comical.
Le Cauchemar (aka A Nightmare)
1 min., 1896
A man is sleeping and he has a really strange nightmare about a princess, a banjo player, a clown and the moon. He punches the moon and the three people torment him until he wakes up.
This is a simple but very entertaining short. The effects are pretty good and the story is actually very neat.
For the longest time I never realized that there were horror films older and 1930, then I actually did a little research and found out about Georges Méliès and that he is the first horror movie director. Looking at his work is a very bizarre and eye opening experience. Yes most of them are only about a minute or two long, but each one is very well crafted. There are some camera tricks that are still used to this day, especially by people on YouTube, a he really puts other directors of that era (and even beyond) to shame. Are they great movie that will wow modern audiences? No. The main reason for this is that a lot of the “horror” that is portrayed does come off a pretty silly and goofy, but at the time they were probably extremely terrifying. I would suggest to anyone that is a horror fan to at least check out a few of his and these three are really good ones to start with. They might not scare you but you can respect the work that this guy set in motion.Have You Read...?