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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

Credited cast:
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

Film historians argue that this is the first film depiction of a vampire. While director and actor credited his character as Mephistopheles, a legendary demon, many horror elements associated with vampires exist in the film and are exhibited by the character. These include the transformation from bat to human form, conjuring a harem of demonic brides, apparent mesmeric control, and the ability to conjure humans and creatures to serve him. Many of vampire stereotypes featured here remained tropes in early films about vampires. 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

Followed by The Devil's Laboratory (1897) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Innovative horror film-making
16 February 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

There really isn't much you can say about a silent, three minute short from 1896, is there? Must cinema buffs already know that Georges Melies was a cinema pioneer who single-handled devised many of the tropes that are now familiar to us as modern cinema-goers, and THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL is another example of his skill as a film-maker.

The story sees the Devil at work in his spooky old castle, summoning up various creatures in a bid to commit evil. Unfortunately he falls foul of an upright Christian, who uses the power of the cross to dispel his opponent.

The three minute running time is chock-full of the special effects work that Melies loved to put on screen, particularly the use of jump cuts to make figures appear and disappear at will. With a plethora of imps, spirits, bats, and ghouls, Melies single-handedly invented the horror genre, one which is still going strong all these years later.


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