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Feb 6 12 4:40 AM
And that settles that! I was
thinking specifically of the English phrase "Horror Film". This makes the loss of ABB even more regrettable.
Feb 10 12 5:03 AM
Feb 10 12 11:38 AM
>The curtain speech given by Edward Van Sloan in the character of Professor Van Helsing starts out reassuring the audience and then he adds "There really are such things as Vampires!" What a trick to pull on the audience<
Not to be credited to the Laemmle film though, but to the stage script.
Feb 11 12 5:58 AM
But the first horror film need not be supernatural. And again, there is the supernatural in A STUDENT OF PRAGUE (1913). DRACULA is nowhere near being the first horror film. Not even the first talkie horror film. It did start the trend, but it was surely preceded by quite a few sound films. Consider MURDER BY THE CLOCK with its very creepy fog horn in the crypt and which was released toward the end of July of 1931. William K. Everson stated in a pre screening lecture I attended, that people were filled with horror at just the sound of it. I wonder if it was produced because of DRACULA's box office? More likely it was because of the success of things like THE BAT or CAT AND THE CANARY. Yet it is cold and clamy with not nearly as much humor as those two. It is more Poe- Premature Burial" influenced to me. And was it possibly the first use of sound producing a horror effect? Most people give that credit to Lewton's bus.Also, to get back to the VERY first horror film, I don't think it is in this thread, but Melies' LE MANOIR DU DIABLE (1896) was mentioned elsewhere as being a possibility. I need to watch that one again to see if it is more than just a trick film. I've got my excellent Flicker Alley box out and am ready to give it a go later today.Speaking of firsts, I just watched the Kino collection called THE LUMIERE BROTHERS' FIRST FILMS. Bertrand Tavernier, the narrator, makes the claim that they were the first filmmakers. He goes on to say that they were also responsible for the first commercial, tracking shot, comedy, home movie, remake, etc, and that they even used the first actors. I'm not sure who he is, but his enjoyment of the short films is really infectious and I quite enjoyed his commentary. I think I agree with some of his statements, as film was only experimental until they came along. The brothers actually directed the films making sure that the action and subject matter were staged properly in order to produce a film that ran for 50 seconds. That was the total amount of footage that could be shoot when they made their first films. The very first film that they shot, he figures, was on March 19, 1895. It's the one we have all seen with the workers coming out of the studio supposedly at the end of a day's work. Since they appear aware of the camera Tavernier says that they are the first actors and that, since it is staged, the Brothers Lumiere are the first directors. He does make a pretty convincing argument although, I think Edison’s early experiments used actors and those films were definitely earlier. I think most historians agree the very earliest existing film on celluloid is ROUNDHAY GARDEN SCENE of 1888.
It is so short that you can’t tell if those people are acting or if it was shot without their knowledge. I’ve watched it a whole bunch of times and I can’t tell.Anyway, about 6 minutes into this collection of films, Tavernier makes the claim that the Lumiere Brothers also made the first horror film! He never explains why, but on screen is that famous ARRIVAL OF A TRAIN AT LA CIOTAT (1895)I am assuming he means because the audiences who first saw it thought the train was going to run them down causing a horrific sensation in the audience. I think I read somewhere that some people fled the theater in shock. (Good thing it wasn’t in 3D!!) I am not sure if this story is apocryphal, but, even though his accent is pretty heavy, at about 6 minutes into the documentary he does sound like he says that this is the first horror film. I, of course, do not agree, because of our definitions of what constitutes a horror film. You can see this fascinating documentary in 7 parts on You Tube here:
This has noting to do with anything, but I thought this last clip that I’ll post was amazing. I’ll bet that no one ever imagined that there was actual lost film footage of President Lincoln! Here it is:
It looks to be filmed by Roger Patterson’s great granddaddy!
Feb 11 12 11:31 AM
But the first horror film need not be supernatural. ...Also, to get back to the VERY first horror film, I don't think it is in this thread, but Melies' LE MANOIR DU DIABLE (1896) was mentioned elsewhere as being a possibility. I need to watch that one again to see if it is more than just a trick film. I've got my excellent Flicker Alley box out and am ready to give it a go later today.
But the first horror film need not be supernatural. ...
Also, to get back to the VERY first horror film, I don't think it is in this thread, but Melies' LE MANOIR DU DIABLE (1896) was mentioned elsewhere as being a possibility. I need to watch that one again to see if it is more than just a trick film. I've got my excellent Flicker Alley box out and am ready to give it a go later today.
Feb 11 12 12:38 PM
Feb 12 12 1:43 AM
Feb 12 12 4:48 AM
MYST0 wrote:I pulled out the Melies Flicker Alley set and I couldn't believe it. The first disc in the set with LE MANOIR DU DIABLE won't play anymore! All the other discs are fine. While I am waiting to see if they will send me a replacement, I will try to see it on YouTube. Anyone else have a problem with the Melies set? I know I played it a bunch of times when it first came out. Today is not my day!
Since the Baggot film is 1913, do we have a tie with Student of Prague from the same year? I guess now we need to know which month each was released!
Feb 12 12 6:58 AM
Feb 12 12 10:21 AM
Guide to Resources on CHFB
Feb 12 12 10:33 AM
Feb 14 12 11:35 PM
Feb 15 12 11:00 AM
Feb 15 12 11:19 AM
Feb 15 12 12:57 PM
The Phantom wrote:
Any one of the titles mentioned on this thread could be the "first horror feature" However if we're talking about the first horror film ever then I'd have to cast my ballot for Thomas Edison's FRANKENSTEIN (1910)Chills!~~The Phantom
Feb 15 12 1:16 PM
I didn't notice any bickering here. I see people having some fun kicking around some questions, one of which will probably never be answered to every one's satisfaction. I don't think we will ever put a definitive definition on "What IS a horror film?"
However, I, for one am having some fun here and am learning something about our favorite sport: Hunting and discussing our beloved genre films.
Besides, Si, I seem to think you wrote that with tongue in cheek, no?
Feb 15 12 2:32 PM
SiBurning wrote:The difficulty of classifying these stories is compounded by our different backgrounds, beliefs, and philosophies. A person's beliefs and world view dictate what they understand as supernatural or cosmic. The supernatural element in a story can vary from overt to sublimely, even unconsciously subtle. This naturally leads to different opinions. (Need I say more than--Jaws?) And it's no use discounting opinions because the effectiveness of these stories is strictly emotional.
Feb 15 12 3:39 PM
PhantomXCI wrote:SiBurning wrote:The difficulty of classifying these stories is compounded by our different backgrounds, beliefs, and philosophies. A person's beliefs and world view dictate what they understand as supernatural or cosmic. The supernatural element in a story can vary from overt to sublimely, even unconsciously subtle. This naturally leads to different opinions. (Need I say more than--Jaws?) And it's no use discounting opinions because the effectiveness of these stories is strictly emotional. So, I guess the best definition of a horror film would be "I know it when I see it."
Feb 15 12 10:50 PM
Feb 16 12 2:12 AM
I agree with Si that it is a vocabulary problem. I actually do not like the label "Horror
Film" either. If you mention that
term to the current generation they think of SAW or things of that ilk. The
term always seems to connote the lowest common denominator in the minds of the
uninitiated (read: non horror kid).
I prefer the term "Genre Film" or “Genre of the
Fantastic” as it is pretty much all-inclusive of the films we are interested
in. Being used on this forum, it would
include fantasy, horror, science fiction, etc.
That is why I titled this thread as I did.
I think this term would cover what PhantomXCI and others
have quoted: "I know what it is when I see it."
Using those words, it may be easier to pin down what a film
of our chosen genre actually is.
For example, I finally got to see the Melies film on the
suplement disc, Le Manoir du Diable
(1896!), and it IS a film of our genre in my eye. Here is a description of this short film:
It opens in a fairly
creepy castle room setting with a rather large bat flapping around. It almost looks like a Mexican vampire film
bat. It suddenly transforms into a
devil-type character. This must be the
first transformation scene ever.
The devil then
produces a servant/slave-type character (a Renfield/Fritz pre curser?).
He also conjures a
beautiful woman who is sent into a room to the left of the screen.
He pulls a cloak over
himself and disappears (Invisible man pre curser?…well that IS stretching
it.) Then two seeming non-supernatural
men enter the haunted chamber and the devil’s slave scares one off.
The remaining man,
who seems to be the master of the one who fled, is suddenly confronted by a
skeleton sitting on a stoop that had been appearing and disappearing in
different locations of the room. He
pulls a sword and strikes the skeleton.
It transforms into the large bat.
He grabs the bat and it again transforms into the devil. The imp-like servant reappears along with a
group of menacing veiled creatures that seem to be feminine. These reminded me a little of Dracula’s
wives in the ’31 film.
The beautiful woman
who was created in the first part of the film enters and the man is attracted
to her. He kisses her hand and she
becomes an old hag with a walking stick.
He throws himself aback in horror.
The veiled women re appear and are revealed to be witches with
brooms. The second man returns with
sword in hand, sees the witches, runs away again and throws himself to his
death off the balcony in the rear of the set.
dissappear and the first man is confronted by the devil who attacks using
gestures of evil intent. The man is
about to succumb to the evil power when he jumps up and finds a crucifix. The power of the holy cross sends the devil
cringing off in defeat. THE END
It is a trick film for
sure, but every element in the film is a staple of the horror film. I think the intent of Melies was to not only
amaze the audience with his trickery, but to also scare them. The bit where the beautiful woman turns into
an old crone still has a bit of creepiness so I can imagine how audiences in
1896 must have reacted to it.
My vote for first
ever horror film is this one.
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