Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer
In the 1906 horror film The Merry Frolics of Satan two travellers are tormented by Satan from inn to inn, and eventually experience a buggy ride through the heavens courtesy of the Devil.
A decade after The House of The Devil and director Georges Melies has become one of the most famous and prolific filmmakers of his time. Officially named The 400 Tricks of the Devil (hey, stick with what you know right?) Melies skills are on full display here. From intricate and beautifully hand-crafted sets that instantly draw your eyes to them, especially since they chose to hand paint some of them (it was the only way to add color to a movie back then), to his extensive use of stage machinery that would’ve fooled the audience into thinking the stage was much larger than it actually is, this comedic adaptation of the Faust legend was enjoyable to watch from beginning to end.
Keep in mind, we’re still smack dab in the middle of the silent film era, so as per the norm, the actors pantomime their performances, which makes for a more slapstick version of horror, but the story was never difficult to follow. Satan, in the guise of an alchemist, meets our hero, Crawford, who wants to travel around the world. The alchemist creates magical pills that when dropped on the floor can grant any wish. In his excitement to begin his journeys, Crawford doesn’t read the agreement he signed, which turns out to be a contract for his soul. Of course since we’re talking about the big red dude himself, all of the wishes are twisted and the film ends with poor Crawford in hell, being roasted over a pit by demons, like the worst tasting rotisserie chicken you’ve ever eaten.
I can see why Georges Melies was considered a genius and I recommend watching this (like The House of the Devil, I found it on YouTube but sadly there were no copies with sound available), just so you can appreciate how innovative it was and how far the genre has come.
Sommer’s Score: 7 out of 10
You can check out the film for yourself below:
For part 1 of my 31 Days, 31 Horror Films series and my review of The House of the Devil you can click here. And for more classic horror movie reviews you can like and follow Redmangoreviews on Facebook here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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