31 Days of Halloween – 031: Le Manoir Du Diable (The Devil’s Chateau) (1896)

And so, here we are, and the end of the countdown. I’ll be honest, there were days this month that I wasn’t sure we were going to make it. Not that I didn’t think Halloween would come, that was going to happen no matter what, obviously, just that I wasn’t actually going to make my post-every-day goal. Of course, it’s meant back-burnrering a couple of the other regular features, but worry not, faithful readers they will be returning. (Well, for the most part, anyway There may be a few changes coming up, but more on that another time.)

hc3So, let’s wrap things up in a big way, shall we? How? By going back to the start.

Le Manoir du diable (variously known in English as The Devil’s Chateau, The Devi’s Castle, and The Haunted Castle) is only 3:16 long, but it holds a special significance in the history of cinema as it is recognized as the first horror/vampire film.

Created by silent film pioneer Georges Melies, the film, though short, is full of his trademark camera tricks, and is easily recognized as the work of a master at play, seeing exactly what he can do with his camera, and trying new tricks as he went along.

Obviously, it’s not really meant to terrify, but it does have some interesting moments, and uses its short duration to its fullest. And in many ways,, it foreshadows all of the many many vampire movies that would follow in its wake, including even those made today.

It’s a truly fascinating little film, and one that deserves to be seen and loved as much as Melies’ later and much more famous A Voyage To The Moon.

So, in honor of one of film’s great pioneers, and in celebration of All Hallows Eve, here is Le Manoir du diable:


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