Welcome back to another rousing edition of Horror History and this week we are covering part one of the first decade in the 1900’s.


If you’ve not gotten the opportunity to check out the introductory article where we cover the first series of known and available horror films, please check it out right here!


With the quality of film equipment only getting better and now more affordable, a lot more people had decided to try their hand at directing their own film. Today, although you will see a wider variety of what we put on display for the 1890’s retrospective thanks to these soon to be reintroduced filmmakers, you will notice that some of the things portrayed in these films are repetitive of what the 1890’s had to offer . You’ll also notice that not only are some of the films getting longer but some of them are beginning to be based off of popular novels and stories which were available at that time.

So hold onto your butts and enjoy the ride horror fans!


Faust and Marguerite

Directed by Edwin S. Porter


A demon attempts to command a gentleman to slit the throat of a seated lady. He refused forcing the demon to do the work himself. As he attempts to end her life, the lady and gentleman magically change places. This confuses the demon as he continues his attempt at not only killing the lady, but that man in the scene as well.

The film is slightly confusing and although it is based on a play, there is no context to why the demon is attempting to kill this woman.

The camera tricks are essentially the same as they have been over the past few years up to this point as were the theme of demons being the antagonist and the use of props such as a skeleton which appears for a brief moment. It does not offer anything unique or special unfortunately.


Barbe-Bleu (AKA Bluebeard)

Directed by Georges Méliès


Adapted from the well known story written by Charles Perrault, the “Bluebeard” film shows a woman being forced to marry the titular character. Following a happy ceremony, she is presented with the keys to the castle but angrily warned to stay out of one specific room. As Bluebeard leaves, his bride reluctantly enters the off limits room to find Bluebeards former wives, all of whom he had murdered.

I wasn’t expecting too much from this at first. I knew the story going in but with how tame Méliès’ films have been in comparison to what the book offers, I was not expect to see what I did.

After all the pleasantries and jokes are done, we are shown a much darker film. The former wives of Bluebeard are all hanging in the background, in a row, on full display. Slightly shocking to be honest. Following this, when he returns to his castle, Bluebeard confronts his new wife who makes a run for it. After a chase, he grabs her by the hair and violently thrashes her around, dragging her down a set of stairs and throwing her down hard.

This was a cutscene however and a dummy was used in the place of the wife but damn was it ever violent.


The Haunted Curiosity Shop

Directed by Walter R. Booth


The horror of this film comes from the word “Haunted” in it’s own title. There is a shop owner who is experiencing some issues with ghosts and magical elements. The owner does not look worried of frightened and just carries on with his day as if nothing odd had happened.

Some people have stated that this film was merely a showcase of the camera tricks Booth and his producing partner Robert W. Paul were able to produce in order to find additional film work.

In the version we have linked for you, the music used does make this quite a fun watch but offers barely anything new in the way of tricks or illusion with possibly the exception of the lower half of a body walking up to and connecting with it’s top portion. Otherwise we find the same old tricks with people disappearing, reappearing, changing into different beings and the classic add in of a skeleton.

Do not expect to find anything horror related in the “curiosity shop” but take it for it’s entertainment value.


Les Trésors De Satan (AKA Satan's Treasure)

Directed by Georges Méliès


The best I can tell from this film, the story follows a man who is trying to rob Satan ( judging by his name in the title) of his bags of gold which have been locked away in a box.

As the man breaks into said box to gather the bags of money, magic ensues and they start levitating. This is followed by several woman appearing one by one from the box, each taking a bag as they step out. The bags in question transform into spears and they all attack the man until Satan makes a return to take care of the thief himself by tossing him into the box and murdering him by way of fire.

The Méliès staple of comedy was once again prominent in this short but was easily overshadowed by the gruesome murder that takes place by the reels end. Something that is seemingly becoming more and more acceptable as time goes on. Of course, he was not murdered on screen and the act was just implied but It still has a very effective way of reaching its audience.


Le Diable Géant Ou Le Miracle De La Madonne (AKA The Devil And The Statue)

Directed by Georges Méliès


If you don’t understand what artistic vision means, this is a film you should watch. It’s crazy in the sense that I think I know what is happening but feel like I’m something went completely over my head and that I missed the true point of the film.

A girl is being serenaded by a young man at her window for a moment. Once he disappears, some satanic being pops onto screen and starts dancing around. The more he dances, the larger he grows which prompts the girl to become scared. She rushes over to a nearby statue and seemingly prays to it. As she is praying, the demonic being begins to shrink back down to his original size. This is when the statue comes to life with a giant sword, kills the being and reunites the young man and the lady for a happy ending.

The most notable thing next to the special effect of making the demonic being larger in size was the fact that he reminded me a lot of the rabbit creature from Donnie Darko which is just terrifying until he removes his robe and displays his dance costume. This is when he looks slightly ridiculous but still has on that creepy mask the entirety of his presence in the film.


Le Monstre (AKA The Monster)

Directed by Georges Méliès


This Méliès iteration takes us to Egypt where a man removes a corpse from it’s coffin and uses magic to make it dance around in a variety of manners, all the while showing off another series of fantastic looking effects. The twist in this story is that the magician turns the skeleton corpse into a beautiful woman but changes her back soon after she shows no affection towards a second man in the scene.

Gotta love to see someone get reanimated then sent back to hell within a matter of seconds.

But seriously, the set pieces here are beautiful and the dancing corpse was fairly entertaining but there was no real story happening at this point either. It seems at this point in his career, Méliès was more interested in showing off his illusions rather than sell a good story to the audience as he did with “Bluebeard” but he does have another three years to go before he makes his last horror themed film, so let’s see where he takes us with all those films in between.


Le Chaudron Infernal (AKA The Infernal Cauldron)

Directed by Georges Méliès


For this film, Méliès decided to go back to straight horror in place of using the film to show off his illusion skills. In the full forefront of the film, Satan and a demonic helper are kidnapping town folks and throwing them into a giant caldron. The result? Massive flames would spew out the top of the caldron in which Satan would dance around.

By the films end, those saracficed are brought back as ghosts, floating over top of the set until satan sets them all ablaze one more time before throwing himself into the caldron.

As opposed to most videos of the decade, there was no “happy ending” for this film and in place, evil prevails from beginning to end. A very unconventional approach to horror, especially for 1903 but very enjoyable even to this day.


Le Cake-Walk Infernel (AKA The Infernal Cakewalk)

Directed by Georges Méliès


If you’re not sure how this one relates to horror, I will try to explain.

There is a gathering of some very energetic dancers who try to engage in what we would typically call a “ summoning”. They laugh, they dance, they play around and eventually, what I could only describe as the Devil himself magically appears and does a jig of his own.

Nobody gets injured in this film, nobody is attacked or threatened but there is a small portion where a couple of demons are playing tug of war with one of the dancers over something which looks like a veil.

There is a version of this film available on youtube which is three minutes long but has a rap song playing in the background which fits perfectly with the dance choreography that you can’t help but enjoy it. On its own however it’s visually a good concept but without the addition of a soundtrack, it feel very dull and boring.


That’s all we’ve got for you this week in Horror History. I want to thank you once again for checking out what we’re piecing together here in reviewing as many horror films as possible from the start and eventually up to now!

Make sure you join us next week as we take a look at horror in the latter half of the first decade in the 1900’s. Also, if you enjoy these article, please feel free to comment and share your personal thoughts on any of the pieces we went over in this or any of our other pieces.

Finally, if you like what we do, please share or tag your friends to this article. The more people we reach the more production we can insert into it! Thanks so much for reading!



Kyle is an all around lover of horror. Mainstream, Underground and more! He's passionate about the community we all belong to. 



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