Thursday’s Thirtenn: Early Horror Movies

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In honor of Halloween that’s coming up this month, here is a list of thirteen early horror movies you might not ever hear about.

Popular horror movies didn’t start in the 1940’s look these over and see if you recognize any (I got these from Wikipedia) .

  1. The first depictions of supernatural events appear in several of the silent shorts created by film pioneers such as Georges Méliès in the late 1890s, the most notable being his 1896 Le Manoir du diable (aka “The House of the Devil”) which is sometimes credited as being the first horror film[2].
  2. Another of his horror projects was 1898’s La Caverne maudite (aka “The Cave of the Demons”, literally “the accursed cave”).
  3. [2] Japan made early forays into the horror genre with Bake Jizo and Shinin no Sosei, both made in 1898.[3]
  4. In 1910, Edison Studios produced the first film version of Frankenstein, thought lost for many years, film collector Alois Felix Dettlaff Sr. found a copy and had a 1993 rerelease.[4]
  5. The early 20th century brought more milestones for the horror genre including the first monster to appear in a full-length horror film, Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre-Dame who had appeared in Victor Hugo‘s novel, “Notre-Dame de Paris” (published in 1831).
  6. Films featuring Quasimodo included Alice Guy‘s Esmeralda (1906), The Hunchback (1909), The Love of a Hunchback (1910) and Notre-Dame de Paris (1911). [5]
  7. Many of the earliest feature length ‘horror films’ were created by German film makers in 1910s and 1920s, during the era of German Expressionist films.
  8. Many of these films would significantly influence later Hollywood films. Paul Wegener‘s The Golem (1915) was seminal.
  9. in 1920 Robert Wiene‘s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, with its Expressionist style, would influence film-makers from Orson Welles to Tim Burton and many more for decades.
  10. The era also produced the first vampire-themed feature, F. W. Murnau‘s Nosferatu (1922), an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. [6]
  11. Early Hollywood dramas dabbled in horror themes, including versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Monster (1925) (both starring Lon Chaney, Sr., the first American horror movie star).
  12. His most famous role, however, was in The Phantom of the Opera (1925), perhaps the true predecessor of Universal’s famous horror series. [7]
  13. It was in the early 1930s that American film producers, particularly Universal Pictures Co. Inc., popularized the horror film, bringing to the screen a series of successful Gothic features including Dracula (1931).

6 comments on “Thursday’s Thirtenn: Early Horror Movies

  1. WOw there’s some interesting ones there. ONly ones I’ve heard of are the usual Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Phantom of the Opera, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Frankenstein.


  2. Actually, I have heard of many of these, but then again–I did take Film Criticism in college, in which many of the early movies noted here were mentioned. Great list!


  3. Hi Melsmag,

    It’s interesting how long ago the film industry had started and how far back the horror genre actually went. What we call the classic horror like Dracula and Frankenstien were actually Johnie come latelies of early film.



  4. Hi Stephanie,

    Oh me too.

    I actually had a break down when I saw the original ‘Fly’ at twelve or thirteen.

    I’m better now, lol.

    It took me three tries to watch ‘Aliens.’ But usually the early ones aren’t so gruesome as the new ones.



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