The Manor of the Devil

The Manor of the Devil

(pop culture)

The Manor of the Devil (La Manoir du Diable), also known as The Haunted Castle and The Devil’s Manor, is the very first vampire film. The first practical motion picture camera was produced by Louis and Augustus Lumière in the 1890s, and at that time the average movie lasted slightly over one minute. In 1896, the Lumière brothers worked with George Méliès, a magician fascinated with the new medium, to produce an original vampire film.

Using some 195 feet of film, The Manor of the Devil was over three minutes long. The Devil in the form of a vampire bat flies into the window of a castle. He circles the room and then transforms into Mephistopheles (portrayed by Méliès). He produces a large caldron and a number of people (from witches to beautiful young girls) pour forth until suddenly a man appears brandishing a cross. Mephistopheles immediately vanishes in a puff of smoke.

Méliès continued to make numerous pictures, only a few of which have survived. He is best known today for his film picturing a rocket heading to the moon.

Sources:

Flynn, John L. Cinematic Vampires: The Living Dead on Film and Television, from the Devil’s Castle (1896), to Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 1992. 320 pp.

Mara see: Scandinavia, Vampires in

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