LE MANOIR DU DIABLE
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A trick film with elements of comedy and horror.
LE MANOIR DU DIABLE (The House of the Devil) is a 1896 three-minute-long French film by Georges Méliès. It is number 78-80 on the catalogue of his Star Film company. The film contains many traditional pantomime elements and was produced to amuse, rather than frighten. Nonetheless, it is considered by many to be the first horror film, as well as the first vampire film. LE MANOIR DU DIABLE is now in the public domain.
In English, this film has been known as The Haunted Castle, The Devil's Castle, The Devil's Manor, The Manor of the Devil, and The House of the Devil.
Narrative: The film begins with a large bat flying into a medieval castle. Once in, the bat circles slowly while flapping its large wings before changing into Mephistopheles (played by Georges Méliès). After preparing a cauldron, the demon produces skeletons, ghosts, and witches from its bubbling contents. Finally one of the summoned underworld cavaliers holds up a crucifix and the Devil vanishes in a blast of smoke.
It was released on Christmas Eve, 1896, at the Theatre Robert-Houdin, 8 Boulevard Des Italiens, Paris, France.
This, the only surviving copy of the film, was purchased in a junk shop in Christchurch, New Zealand in the 1930s or ‘40s, but not identified by a film archivist until 1988.
Reference number F4988
Collection Film and Video Collection
Media type Moving Image
Place of Production FRANCE
Production company Manufacture de Films pour Cinématographes
Cast: Jehanne D'Alcy
Producer: Georges Méliès
Cast: Georges Méliès