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Le Manoir du Diable (1896)

(aka Manor of the Devil, The Devil's Castle, The Devil's Manor, The Haunted Castle, The House of the Devil, The Manor of the Devil )

Public Domain Movie: Le Manoir du Diable (1896)

Written & Directed by Georges Méliès

What was the first horror film ever made? It depends on who you ask. Some experts will say that it is The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, made in 1920, and others will say that it is The Devil’s Castle, made in France in 1896 by Georges Méliès.

The Devil’s Castle was released on Christmas Eve, 1896, at the Theatre Robert Houdin, 8 boulevard des Italiens, Paris. It is only about 3 minutes long and although Méliès intended it to be amusing most people consider it to be a horror film. I do as well, and even to the present day horror and humour continues to be an effective combination.

The first thing the viewer sees is a large bat flapping about inside a medieval castle. The bat then turns into the demon Mephistopheles who only has to point his finger to make a cauldron appear. He then commences to summon up skeletons, ghosts, witches and all manner of other nasties.

You can watch the complete film below.

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