Saturday, May 17, 2014
#182: The Haunted Castle (Georges Méliès, 1896)/Frankenstein (J. Searle Dawley, 1910)
Fourteen years after the first horror film, Thomas Edison produced the first Frankenstein film. In classic Edison fashion, his name appears on every title card, but the director and actors never received a credit until the film was restored years later. Though this 12-minute sprint through Mary Shelley's novel captures little of the spirit of that classic book and is pretty silly besides, the depiction of the creation of the monster has an eerie power, and the creature itself looks more like what you'd expect a being created from the parts of dead people would look like than the more familiar Frankenstein template. He's a messy, shambling, misshapen thing, and a scene of him hovering over a bed has a genuine spookiness.