Topic: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

Hello, gang. I thought it would be a good idea to make a thread on horror's earliest film inputs, since these films do not get much attention despite their significant positions as one of the firsts of the genre, and their important influence on the films to come years later.

So, what is the first ever horror film? Many claim it to be "The Haunted Castle", a French film directed by Georges Melies in 1896. As far as I can tell, it's about some dude summoning demons, ghosts, and a vampire (perhaps even the first vampire on film, nonetheless). He also can't seem to be able to find a place to sit down, so it also has comedic elements. Because of that, I consider this to be the very first horror comedy, too. It's only 3 minutes in length, and can be viewed here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPmKaz3Quzo

Now, others say the first horror film came out one year earlier in 1895, a film produced by Thomas Edison titled "The Execution of Mary Stuart". It's only 18 seconds in length, and shows Mary Stuart being brought to the chopping block and beheaded. What do you think?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpNQJV8KblQ

Just some food for thought.

Here are some other early pieces that could be considered horror:

The Cave of the Unholy One (1898). Can't find any clips of this, so it must truly be a lost film.

Two Japanese films from 1898, Jake Bizo (aka, Jizo the Spook - a ghost movie) and Shinin no Sosei (Resurrection of a Corpse). These are long gone, either destroyed in the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923, or from the fire bombings of WWII, where a LOT of Japense films were supposedly destroyed, and no other copies were found. 

Esmeralda (1905), the very first adaption of Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. If Quasimodo is considered a monster, then I guess it is one of the first monster films. This is a lost film, but pictures of it can be seen here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOclcQDRSUo

~~~~

I also want to give a mention to the first adaption of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein in 1910. This is 12 minutes in length (or, from what I can find of it on youtube), it's not great but it is one of the first, true originals. Film quality starts out extremely poor, but gets a lot better one minute in or so:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcLxsOJK9bs

Boy, Frankenstein sure looks pretty weird, eh?


So, any thoughts, opinions, speculations, Etc? I would love to hear from you guys about this.

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

L'inferno (1911) has an awesomely bizzare scene with the devil eating a person, too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MU4q-ZGo_kw

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

List of horror films from the 1890s
Seems George Smith and Georges Méliès make all but 1 of them!

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

^ Good find, Az!

Georges Melies - first horror film director.

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

Cool thread. I was just thinking about this issue yesterday and considering making a post of it. I have been intending to watch Nosferatu and other early german films for a while now. Have any of u guys seen Faust (1915)

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

^ Nosferatu is my favorite silent film of all time - Max Schrek is creepy as all hell. I have the DVD that has the Type o' Negative soundtrack for the score.

Faust (1915) I have not seen, but I would really like to see F.W. Murnau's version from 1926. I guess the film was very innovative in terms of special effects and trying out different shooting techniques, which is interesting to me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faust_(1926_film)

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

The Creature wrote:

^ Nosferatu is my favorite silent film of all time - Max Schrek is creepy as all hell. I have the DVD that has the Type o' Negative soundtrack for the score.

Faust (1915) I have not seen, but I would really like to see F.W. Murnau's version from 1926. I guess the film was very innovative in terms of special effects and trying out different shooting techniques, which is interesting to me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faust_(1926_film)

proberly is the most scary vampire ever put on screen still.

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

The Creature wrote:

^ Nosferatu is my favorite silent film of all time - Max Schrek is creepy as all hell. I have the DVD that has the Type o' Negative soundtrack for the score.

Faust (1915) I have not seen, but I would really like to see F.W. Murnau's version from 1926. I guess the film was very innovative in terms of special effects and trying out different shooting techniques, which is interesting to me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faust_(1926_film)

I think i got mixed up with The Golem (1915). There is no Faust horror film from 1915. Sry about that

Last edited by Vasquez (2012-06-17 10:02:18)

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

^ It's all good. According to IMDB though, there actually is a Faust from 1915 directed by Edward Sloman, haha.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0311119/

Can't find any information on it though.

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

^
I dont think its a horror film though, but u are right apparently it exists

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

Vasquez wrote:

^
I dont think its a horror film though, but u are right apparently it exists

You, like, just thought it into existence!

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

I wonder what the reasons were for the origin of horror films. One interesting aspect as i have just remember as highlighted in The American Nightmare was that these early films were received as a form of immortality – images of people long dead (ghosts)."Death would no longer be total". There were among the very earliest films created(and perhaps therefore instrumental to films initial development?), again another fact that that Mainstream critics of film rarely recognise.

In fact listen to what professor Tom Gunning says at 4:04 where he directly references 1895 films
Very interesting.

Youtube link
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLcbgz1oJJs

Last edited by Vasquez (2012-06-17 15:24:18)

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

I don't believe I've ever seen The American Nightmare, it's a documentary I'm guessing?

Another one I need to watch I suppose.

I like your point about those early horror films being instrumental in the progress of films in general - probably very true. Back then, with films like The Haunted Castle, The Execution of Mary Stuart, a lot of those seemed a lot like 'test' films if you know what I mean. It's like, along with the story they tried to create, they were also focused on branching out the techniques and means in which they made the film. They were experimenting as well as making the movie - expanding film territory. At least, from the little I've seen of those early movies - that's what I see in them.

I sense this because this is the same thing that I did when I first started making short films with my brother and sister. Not only was it about conveying a story, but it was about exploring possibilities as far as what could be done.

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

Here's a little vid you guys may like-
Top 10 Lost Horror Films.
It's all early 1900's, no 1890's, but rather interesting.  Also, narration by the Angry Video Game Nerd!  (he's not Angry is this narration, lol )

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

The Creature wrote:

I don't believe I've ever seen The American Nightmare, it's a documentary I'm guessing?

Another one I need to watch I suppose.

I like your point about those early horror films being instrumental in the progress of films in general - probably very true. Back then, with films like The Haunted Castle, The Execution of Mary Stuart, a lot of those seemed a lot like 'test' films if you know what I mean. It's like, along with the story they tried to create, they were also focused on branching out the techniques and means in which they made the film. They were experimenting as well as making the movie - expanding film territory. At least, from the little I've seen of those early movies - that's what I see in them.

I sense this because this is the same thing that I did when I first started making short films with my brother and sister. Not only was it about conveying a story, but it was about exploring possibilities as far as what could be done.

Checkout it out on youtube(Part 1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLcbgz1oJJs

Last edited by Vasquez (2012-06-17 13:58:59)

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

Ah ha, so it is on YouTube. Excellent.
I watched part 1, it looks like it's going to be a pretty right on documentary. The Tom Gunning quote is def. good food for thought.

Azzy - that was an awesome video - lots of new things in there I didn't previously know! Thanks for sharing.

Last edited by The Creature (2012-06-17 17:53:16)

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

^^
"know"  tongue
No prob, I found by looking into things about your thread.  I don't come up with a lot of great threads here, but I love to do research for them!  big_smile

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

It's hard to believe Nosferatu was made only about ten years after the first dracula movie.  The Dracula looks like a stage play compared to Nosferatu. 

Azz- great video...I must look for that Vampire Book!

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

That 1910 Frankenstein is awesome

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

azathoth wrote:

^^
"know"  tongue
No prob, I found by looking into things about your thread.  I don't come up with a lot of great threads here, but I love to do research for them!  big_smile

Oopsy! Typeing error. I'll fix that - I hate it when people spell "know" wrong. lol

Last edited by The Creature (2012-06-17 17:52:54)

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

I took a horror film class as an elective a couple of years ago in uni and it was all about horror before psycho (as the class was called) so basically horror before 1960 and we watched a lot of early horror from the late 1800s through to the 1950s and there were some really neat things going on when they were first exploring film and what cameras could do and how it could be manipulated the way stage plays couldnt. I will have to dig out my outline for the course and see what some of those titles were. One of them I know was that George Melies film.

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

^ That does sound interesting, Vamps. I'd like to read that.

When I do decide on a college, I'm hoping I'll be able to take a class on horror movies, too. That would, of course, be right up my alley.

Re: Late 19th Century: The True Originals In Horror Film History

Oh man, id love to do a class on horror movies i don't think they do that in many British Uni, certainly not in Cardiff. hmm