“Le Manoir Du Diable” (1896) [World’s first horror movie]

Due to the fragility of early film stock and the means available of archiving, most of the earliest horror films have supposedly been lost forever. However, some have survived. In 1896 Georges Méliès created what is considered to be the first horror film ever made, “Le Manoir Du Diable”.

Gothic literature provided the inspiration for the first horror films. This was a popular genre in both books and theater at the time. However the term ‘horror’ did not come into use for film until the 1930s.

Famous Gothic writers included:

The first horror films are surreal and disturbing pieces. Their visual appearance relies on expressionist painters and spirit photography of the 1860s. Spirit photography was popular from the 1860s onwards among stage musicians and Spiritualists. This was achieved through the use of double exposures or superimpositions to dpict ghosts within a frame of film.

While the first moving pictures would have been action and comedy, early filmmakers also used photographic trickery as a way of portraying darker stories with psychological and supernatuaral themes.

Despite “Le Manoir Du Diable” lasting just over three minutes, it manages to include many of the genre’s typicalities such as bats, devils, witches, cauldrons, and ghosts, all appearing and disappearing in puffs of smoke. The characters seen were played by George Méliès himself. 

I think it’s amazing,fascinating, to see how the genre has changed from then and now.