Format: Internet video on laptop.
I’ve been avoiding shorts on the horror movies list for no real reason other than aesthetic ones. Getting rid of shorts from the list makes it feel a little like cheating; wanting to watch 400 movies per year is a lot easier to accomplish when one of the movies is three minutes long. But it’s time to get through a few of them, and I started with the oldest film on the list, arguably the first-ever horror movie, Georges Melies’s The House of the Devil (otherwise called The Haunted Castle and Le Manoir du Diable).
With a running time of three minutes, we’re not going to get a great deal of plot in this one. That said, this was a long film for the time—this running time was considerable for what people were used to before the turn of the century. Most of the film is Melies learning what he is capable of doing with film. He’s experimenting with making things appear and disappear, something that would be used to astound and amaze people at the time and would be eventually used for both horror effects and comic effects by other directors. In that respect, this is sort of a one-trick pony. We’re going to get a lot of things popping in and out of existence or moving around from spot to spot on screen.