Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Silent Screams - Puppet Masters | The Merry Skeleton (1897)

While Le squelette joyeux (The Merry Skeleton) is more lighthearted fun with little-to-no scares [to us modern viewers], with it the Lumiere brothers lay the groundwork for using special effects to create monster movie magic, which has advanced a tad in the 100+ years since.

In fact, only 3 years later, Frederick Armitage successfully transported the skeleton away from the static black background and onto a pirate ship at sea for Davey Jones' Locker. The next thing you know, Davy Jones is raising hell in a Disney movie setting sail towards $1 billion dollars, literally. Thanks, Lumiere brothers!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Silent Screams - The Road to Elm Street | A Nightmare (1896)

Georges Melies -- our defending champion -- wins spot #2 in the series as well, this time for Le Cauchemar (aka A Nightmare).

It's not exactly Wes Craven material as the presentation is more humorous than horrific (though Freddy can be a pretty funny dude at times). However, scary movies are so deeply rooted within nightmares that this work by the cinemagician cannot be ignored. It also happens to be highly entertaining and contains excellent stop-motion substitution tricks especially innovative for the time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Silent Screams - World's 1st Horror Movie | The Devil's Castle (1896)

Considered the first horror movie -- and arguably the first vampire movie -- Le manoir du diable (aka The Devil's Castle) is an 1896 Georges Melies film that runs for over 3 minutes, an astonishing length for the time.

The film has been known by a variety of alternate names -- The Devil's Manor, The Manor of the Devil, The House of the Devil, and The Haunted Castle -- the latter is actually a different movie by Méliès, made 1 year later on the same set and with many of the same costumes. It is also notable for containing some of the earliest hand-tinting of images.

Monday, October 1, 2012

From Muted Mayhem to Silent Screams

Way back on the first day of Summer, I began a "Slapstick Series" to explore the earliest days of that comedic genre within film. Along the way, I took a break to focus on THIS -- which still takes up much of my time and attention (please help!) -- and didn't quite make it all the way to my intended grand finale double-feature.

Speaking of which, I'd planned to end with the 1st Harold Lloyd appearance as his "Glasses" character, followed by the 1st movie written, directed, and starring Buster Keaton. Looks like now I've got a pretty strong opening bill lined up for next Summer instead.

But now it's October and my favorite time of year. The days shorten, the leaves are dying and falling to the ground where they'll decompose. Soon it'll be Halloween. And thus the perfect time to explore Horror movies in their infancy, which I plan to do in a "Silent Screams" series starting tomorrow.

As for the 2012 Summer Slapstick Series -- R.I.P., you were loved. Below are each of its entries, listed alongside the silent film spotlighted within:
  1. The 1st Movie Comedy - The Sprinkler Sprinkled (1895)
  2. Wrestling w/ Melies - The Fat and Lean Wrestling Match (1900)
  3. The 1st True Slapstick - An Interesting Story (1904)
  4. Pre-Iconic - A Story Well Spun (1906)
  5. Exhibit E. Porter - Getting Evidence (1906)
  6. Key Stepping Stone - The Policemen's Little Run (1907)
  7. A Killer Joke - That Fatal Sneeze (1907)
  8. The Original Queen of Comedy - Laughing Gas (1907)
  9. Dark Comedy - The Thieving Hand (1908)
  10. A Step Back - The Runaway Horse (1908)
  11. Timeless - A Very Fine Lady (1908)
  12. Outside The Tableau - Chimney Sweep (1906)
  13. Key Foundation Cornerstone - The Bricklayers (1905)
  14. Vaudevillians - Robetta and Doretto, No. 2 (1895)
  15. The 1st Pie Face - Mr. Flip (1909)
  16. Ladies, Please! - Those Awful Hats (1909)
  17. Multilevel Comedy - The Irresistible Piano (1907)
  18. Semi-Meta - A Fall from Five Floors (1906)
  19. Don't Sleep on These - The Rolling Bed (1907)
  20. A Vehicle for Comedy - The '?' Motorist (1906)
  21. Passing the Torch - The Race for the Sausage (1907)
  22. Laugh Olympics - An Obstacle Course (1906)
  23. When Harry Met Zecca - Slippery Jim (1910)
  24. Character Development - How Bumptious Papered the Parlour (1910)
  25. Moving On - Alkali Ike's Auto (1911)
  26. Comedic TimingOnésime, Clockmaker (1912)
  27. Before The Fame - Troublesome Secretaries (1911)
  28. Laugh With Linder - Troubles of a Grasswidower (1912)
  29. Keystone Mack [Sennett] Daddy - The Water Nymph (1912)
  30. Keystone "Cops" - The Bangville Police (1913)
  31. Villainy Defined - Barney Oldfield's Race for a Life (1913)
  32. The 1st Fatty - Peeping Pete (1913)
  33. Chaplin's First Film - Making a Living (1914)
  34. The Tramp Appears - Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914)
  35. Creating The Tramp - Mabel's Strange Predicament (1914)
  36. The Movie Dick - Pool Sharks (1915)
  37. The Super Friends - A Film Johnnie (1914)
  38. Two of a Kind - Fox Trot Finesse (1915)
  39. Laurel before Hardy, Hardy before LaurelThe Servant Girl's Legacy (1914)
Hope you enjoy, and thank you!