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The House of the Devil (1896)

Le manoir du diable (original title)
| Short, Horror
With the help of a magic cauldron, Mephistopheles conjures up a variety of supernatural characters.

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Cast

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Jeanne d'Alcy
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Storyline

A bat flies into an ancient castle and transforms itself into Mephistopheles himself. Producing a cauldron, Mephistopheles conjures up a young girl and various supernatural creatures, one of which brandishes a crucifix in an effort to force the devil-vampire to vanish. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

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Short | Horror

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The Haunted Castle  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

May be the first horror and "vampire" film. See more »

Goofs

One of the ghosts (all of whom are wearing a white sheet over their head) cannot see where he is going, and walks right into a wall. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The American Nightmare (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

The first horror film...
9 July 2011 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

"Le manoir du diable", which translates to "The House of the Devil", ironically was produced with the intention to amuse people, not to scare them. But when it was released on Christmas Eve 1896 in Paris, scare people it did, granting it the title of the first horror film to ever be produced.

Running just over three minutes, the short begins with a large bat flying into a medieval castle where it transforms into a demon. The demon prepares a cauldron from which it produces skeletons, witches and ghosts before a man is summoned up to produce a crucifix to chase the demon away.

Georges Méliès, the director of this short, was the first ever titled cinema genius. He pioneered many technical developments in the 19th century and was very innovative in his use of special effects. He would go on to make the infamous "A Trip to the Moon" in 1902, where a spaceship incredibly flies straight into the eye of the 'man on the moon'.

"Le manoir du diable" is actually pretty amazing for it's time. The special effects that Méliès uses are very ahead of their time, making the belief that objects are appearing and disappearing on the screen. A landmark in film, and while it's attentions were not to be, it has acquired the title of being the first horror film ever to be produced.


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