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Let us introduce you to the Listicle Liege, the Article Aficionado, the one and only Nathan. Since creating his first photo collage at the age of five with images clipped from his mom’s Chatelaine magazines (all of them), it’s been nearly impossible to stem this one’s tide of visual learning. Be it the annals of history or the latest celeb gossip, Nathan has probably researched it, likely already has a folder of relevant photos on his desktop, and definitely learned a lot of interesting facts to go with those images. Whereas most well-read adults have bookshelves full of classic literature, Nathan’s stacks are composed of National Geographic and TIME special editions and a curated section of first-grade readers (for inspiration). If you prefer picture books to wordy novels, listicles by Nathan are right up your alley.
That’s because it was a silent film! It was called Le Manoir du Diable, or The Haunted Castle (Or Devil’s Castle) and it originated in France. Back in 1896, there was no such thing as a horror movie. Using silent films to get the heart jumping in that manner was nonexistent. It wasn’t until a man named Georges Melies, the film director, though that an encounter with the devil would bring in the cash. The three-minute movie was supposed to be amusing, but viewers were spooked!
It begins with a bat flying around a medieval castle and morphing into an incarnation of the devil. He conjures up a cauldron and an assistant. Together, the two conjure a woman from the cauldron. Soon, two men walk in, but they are soon tormented and warped to another room. In fright, one runs away while the other stays and is tormented further. Furniture would disappear, and skeletons would move around, trying to frighten him. He appears to be forever tormented with the cauldron women and specters.
The last scene shows the other man return and makes the devil vanish by overpowering him with a crucifix.
This strange “first horror film” was lost and forgotten for over 100 years. No copies were found until 1988 when scavengers dug some up in New Zealand. For those wanting more, the video is available to watch for free all over the internet! So enjoy the first horror movie and just how far they have come.
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