What was the First Horror Film Ever?
The Answer To This Question Often Ends In Conflict
When asking the question, what was the first horror movie ever made, there are bound to be a number of different answers thrown your way. It really depends on what your definition of horror is, then once you have that figured out you have to ask your self, just what exactly qualifies as a movie?
Can a movie be only 20 seconds long? Does it have to be on actual film to be considered the first movie? Can it be a silent film and yet still be considered a movie? Everyone is going to have their own opinions on these question and seeing as how I'm not one to argue I'll just try to cover all the bases.
The idea of acting or performing for entertainment is not a new one though comparatively, filming it is. People have been entertaining in the public eye for nearly as long as civilization has existed, but it has only been during the last 115 years or so that we've had a way of recording it.
It was through the remarkable minds of men like Thomas Edison that we have the ability to capture the antics of humanity and nature, to enjoy whenever we feel the urge, despite the day or hour. The next time you pop in a DVD be sure to send the great inventors of the 19th and early 20th century a shout out for getting the ball rolling on what we now know as the movie industry.
The Execution Of Mary Stuart
The Very First Horror Film Was How Long?
The very first horror flick known to be recorded for viewing was "The Execution Of Mary Stuart", produced by a man named Thomas A. Edison, in 1895. The entire film consisted of Mary being beheaded and nothing more. The duration of the movie is actually only 18 seconds long so there wasn't much time to give any kind of plot, but none the less this was the first known attempt at visually recorded horror and a major start for the film industry.
The next big hit to hit the projector screen was from a French producer by the name of Georges Melies and was called "Le Manoir Du Diable" or "The House Of The Devil". This portrayal of horror lasted somewhere between 1-2 minutes but was still greatly lacking on a plot.
Bring In The 20th Century.
When the 1900s rolled around the movie industry started to be born. Along with a new century came enlightened outlooks of the possibilities of the movie industry. Joining alongside Edison and Melies were an ever growing army of future film makers, all waiting to take their own personal slice of this brand new industry.
Depending on your definition of horror, the first of the longer length movies to be released would be either Alice Guy's 1906 full length production, "Esmeralda" featuring Quasimodo, though not everyone considers this horror, or Edison's 1910 thirteen minute production "Frankenstein". Also filmed in 1910 was German producer Paul Wegener's full length film "The Golem".
In your opinion what was the best era for horror films?
Can You Hear That?
In 1931 Universal Studios produced the first horror movie with sound, and simultaneously introduced the world to, the soon to be horror legend, Bela Lugosi in Dracula. Dracula was far from being top notch horror but its release opened the doors a wide assortment of movie monsters including the wolf man, the mummy and a redesigned Frankenstein monster.
It didn't take long for Universal Studios to become the number one producer of horror for that era. The original movies that first started that journey through sound are credited as the beginning of modern day Hollywood and are still shown in select theaters world wide.
I knew grass was really green!.
Bringing color to the big screen was not an easy or speedy task, it was developed and seemingly perfected over many decades, and in a many ways is still being improved today. The first horror film to sport the fancy new "two strip technicolor" was director Michael Curtis' 1932 film "Doctor X" and was followed the next year by the very similar "Mystery Of The Wax Museum" which was distributed on a much larger scale.
Color in movies didn't pick up on a grand scale until the 1950s but by the 1960s viewers could hardly remember what life was like without it. With every new advancement in filming technology came a surge of new movie goers intent on checking out the latest and greatest trends, convinced that it just can't get any better, and yet somehow it always does.
Wow! I Didn't See That Coming
The first 3D horror film would most likely be a 1941 MGM short film called "Third Dimensional Murder". Not a huge success but it definitely spiked the viewers interest in this alternative filming style. The first horror film to make a big dent in the 3D world would be the 1953 Warner's Bros. picture "House Of Wax" not only was it a pioneer in 3D movie magic but it was also the first 3D film to be recorded in stereophonic sound.
The 3D boom would eventually fizzle out after only a few years, due to high production costs and a lack of interest on the producers part. It really wasn't until the 1980s that 3D began to make a recovery but by the new millennium it had grown into a class of it's very own. I'm sure there are at least a few first horror movies scenarios that I've forgotten to mention, feel free to leave a comment below if you think of any I missed