What was the first horror film ever made?

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Answered by: Larry, An Expert in the Horror and Suspense Category
The horror genre has been frightening audiences for over 100 years. Most would say the first horror film ever made was "Le Manoir du Diable" or "The House of the Devil" which was filmed by Georges Melies of France in 1896. The film runs about 3 minutes and was completely silent. It is a mess of fun camera tricks including skeletons that appear out of then air and a bat that turns into a man. Not to mention a lot of stabbing people in the bottom with wooden pitchforks.



But what if I told you that the first horror film ever made and your light bulb have a lot in common? Sounds strange I know but ironically it is the strange and unusual that attract us to the genre in the first place.

In 1895 the first horror film was made by none other then American inventor Thomas Edison. Yes you heard right my friends-- the same guy who brought you such inventions as the practical light bulb, the phonograph, and the motion picture camera. His movie was titled "The Execution of Mary Stewart" I guess you could say it was based on a true story since it is the historical depiction of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots who was executed July 24, 1567 for treason.



On that note, here's a little fun fact for all you gore fans out there: The executioner who carried out Mary Stuarts (Mary Queen of Scots) execution was so nervous that he missed his mark and chopped off only a piece of the queens head. This sight was said to have sent the once angry crowed into hysterics and the ex-queen (who was still alive) told him to finish the job. But unfortunately for the gore fans out there this is not shown in the film.

"The Execution of Mary Stewart" has a run time of a whopping 15 seconds. It shows a crowed of people gathered around the queen who willing kneels and places her head upon the chopping block. The executioner then raises his ax and in a fatal swoop chops off her head. The part that I found eerie about this film is at the end when the executioner appears to be confused and he looks straight at the camera for a moment as if seeking direction from Edison. He then reaches for the body then quickly corrects himself and grabs the head then raises it to the camera which ends the film.

I find it rather interesting that one of the greatest minds of all time decided to use his new invention to make a snuff like film about a queen being beheaded. Even more interesting--it appears he told the executioner to hold the head up to the camera so all could see. So it's safe to say that Thomas Edison stayed true to his word when he said "Anything that won't sell, I don't want to invent. It's sale is proof of utility, and utility is success." He made the first horror film and horror has proven it's utility by being one of the top grossing genres to date.

You can see the film by following the link below:

The Execution of Mary Stewart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpNQJV8KblQ

Le Manoir du Diable: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mw8bzC33CGY

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