The thing about pop culture (and film in general) is that it’s just too big a subject. You can’t know everything. Well, maybe you can–I know I sure as hell can’t. And I get excited when I see things I’ve never seen before. For example, since we’re at Day 24 now, which has morphed into the day we showcase short silent horror films. And that led me to 1903 and a couple of films by Georges MÃ©liÃ¨s. You know MÃ©liÃ¨s even if you don’t know him, since “A Trip to the Moon” was his in 1902. Or, as it’s known to most folks, “That weird silent movie in which the moon gets a rocket in the eye” (I think that was the literal English translation of the title.)
I had never seen the two short horror flicks I’m about to share, however. But what I can’t get over is that these were both from 1903. We have 3D digital FX that would make MÃ©liÃ¨s salivate today, but back then this was all new. How must audiences have reacted? The first film of a train speeding at the camera may or may not have freaked everybody the hell out when first shown, but still, it must have been amazing. So let me just add these two films as an addendum to my moments in cinema history I wish I had been there to see list.
And honestly, am I the only who when watching these can’t stop thinking over and over again: These films are 108 years old! Seriously, Willard Scott would have said happy birthday to these films in 2003, for crying out loud.
First up, “The Monster.” Slow to get started, yes, but just give it a minute. Or, in this case, three:
And this is badass even today. 108. Jesus. “The Infernal Boiling Pot”:
Hard to tell what boxed set these films come on–because the first set alone has 173 films on it. But all the MÃ©liÃ¨s stuff on Amazon can be found here.
Other silent horror we’ve explored: the 1910 version of Frankenstein and D.W. Griffith’s “The Sealed Room.” And before that, we had explored the “I Was a” and “I Married a” sort of films along with I Walked With a Zombie.