Today, cinema billboards are full of horror films and everybody wants to pay tribute to the genre with great Festivals.
As a reference of Horror Film Festival, we must pay attention to the past and honour those who gave relevance to this endlessly evolving genre within the film industry.
On this occasion we are going back to the beginning by introducing Georges Méliès’s short film Le Manoir du Diable which has been acclaimed as the first horror film in the history of cinema. This nearly three-minute long film was shot in 1896 and it introduces two knights who arrive at a castle to face evil Mephistophleles (Satan himself, if you are not into the genre).
Watching Le Manoir du Diable with present day eyes might seem hilarious but this was not Méliès’s intention. The film must be seen in the context of the moment it was made. In fact, the special effects that we can see there were a real revolution at the time.
Such special effects, along with the objects and persons who suddenly appear and disappear in front of your eyes were the result of a real chance. During the fall of that same year, while Méliès was shooting a scene in the middle of the street, the camera got stuck and stopped shooting for a few seconds. When the director checked the film, he was shocked when he saw that people and objects suddenly appeared. Then, he became aware of how possible it was to manipulate space and time in the cinema.
Enjoy this small jewel while we prepare the next issue introducing the birth of the genre which we love so much. Remember that you can only understand your times if you know the past.