Like them or leave them, horror movies are enjoyed by countless people across the world. Some people actually enjoy getting scared out of their wits. A good horror movie allows us to experience the fear we wrestle with deep inside without actually being put in danger.
But where did it all start? Who can we thank for first horror movie?
As far as we can tell, the first horror movie was entitled Le Manoir Du Diable aka The Devil’s Castle or The Haunted Castle and is credited to filmmaker Georges Méliés. It was only two minutes long. Being made in 1896, there was no sound, but that didn’t stop audiences from enjoying it. The story features a bat, a cauldron, ghosts, skeletons, an old creaky house, and (thankfully) a crucifix to destroy all that evil.
But, as we know, the horror didn’t stop there. It went on to include some, by now, well known monsters.
The First Monster Movie
Much of classic horror features the monster. From Frankenstein’s monster, to Dracula to the wolfman, a good monster can scare your pants off. If monster movies are your thing, you can look to The Golem as the first. This movie, directed by Paul Wegener in 1915/1920, was based on the same Jewish legend that inspired Mary Shelly to create Frankenstein’s monster. The movie is set in Prague and features a clay man who is brought to life by an amulet-wielding rabbi. The monster’s job is to protect the Jewish ghetto, but it turns on its creators when the job is done.
First Feature Length Vampire Movie
Even though, thanks to Bram Stoker, Dracula is probably the most well known vampire, the first feature length vampire movie was Nosferatu. It was made in 1922 thanks to director F.W. Murnau. The story features a hideous vampire named Count Orlock, a balding vampire that was followed by rats everywhere.
Interestingly enough, copies of the movie were destroyed because Bram Stoker’s widow sued over copyright infringement. It turns out that Nosferatu is a flagrant copy of Stoker’s work, though the name of the vampire and setting of the story were changed.
The First Talking Horror Movie
Of course, no list could be complete without a visit from the first talking horror picture. In 1928, director Roy Del Ruth brought us the Terror, a movie based on Edgar Wallace’s play about a killer in an old house turned inn. Thanks to Vitaphone, audiences could hear the sound effects and the characters speaking for themselves.
The horror film genre has gone through many changes throughout the years. From thrillers to monster movies, the genre has morphed from a two minute silent, black and white film to the full color, full surround sound scare-fests we know today.
So the next time you turn on a horror flick, think about where the genre came from. Then enjoy scaring yourself silly. Just be sure to sleep with the light on.
When she’s not scaring up stories about horror movies, M. R. Anglin writes YA fiction with a fantasy twist. In “Lucas, Guardian of Truth,” an eleven year old boy with a vivid imagination must trust a mysterious creature that transports him to Kalaria, a place where nothing is as it seems. There, Lucas learns that he is the Guardian of Truth, destined to save Kalaria from the Mind Master, a creature bent on destroying the planet, and his imagination as well. Visit MR at http://www.lyeland.com
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