Spooky Movie Month Day #28 – The House of the Devil (1896)

October 28th

Today was the recovery day after the Zombie Pageant but only for a quick cup of coffee in the early morning, because I had to be up early to start on everyone’s Halloween costumes while also being prepped, warmed up and ready for the Inland Master Chorale Dress Rehearsal. 

It was a crazy day and I honestly don’t remember most of it. After rehearsal, Lion and I went to shop for Halloween candy in a store full of Christmas decorations. While my 11 year old hissed and cried about how it’s far too early for that, we picked up what we needed and headed home. When we got back, we decided a quick history lesson was all we had the energy for, so we watched the first horror movie of all time; The House of the Devil, a silent film from 1896. 

A fantastic piece of history, this French short film, The House of the Devil, or, “Le Manor Du Diable”, showcases all we have come to know and love about scary stories. Unassuming passersby happen upon a castle that is is not only haunted, but inhabited by the Devil himself. Full of ghosts, witches, disappearing then reappearing skeletons, minions and more – “Mephistopheles” conjures up spooky frights from his magic cauldron to terrorize! 

The House of the Devil was directed, written and starred in by Georges Melies who is considered the godfather of film and special effects. With such credits as his 1902 “A Trip to the Moon”, The Impossible Voyage” and so many others, his influence and masterful creativity truly laid the foundation for everything that came after.

What a joy to watch – and it was only just over three minutes long! Perfect for the closing of a very busy day. Lion and I both passed out pretty much the second it was over. 

Lion loved it and thought the special effects were super cool and genius to watch from a 2023 standpoint. They observed how so much of what they did was like how we do things in live theatre. 

Dragon was mesmerized and has since begged me to watch more silent films immediately! 

Tomorrow is going to be crazy, so stay tuned to see me juggle between the last few pre-Halloween tasks on The Mothership!