Wednesday, 26 October 2016, 7:30 pm
Commissioned by Abertoir, this collection of silent horror shorts celebrates the inventive and imaginative in early cinema with a selection of rarely seen films on the lighter side of horror and, forming the programme’s centrepiece, one of the truly dark but little known masterpieces of the avant-garde in silent cinema.
All the films will be introduced and accompanied on the piano by Paul Shallcross, presenting his own brand new scores.
Those Awful Hats
1909, USA, 3 minutes, (NR)
Director – D.W. Griffith
Possibly the earliest example of a public announcement film and from none other than the director later famous for Birth of a Nation, a film which features some very unexpected happenings in a cinema audience.
IMDb – Those Awful Hats
Rotten Tomatoes – Those Awful Hats
The Invisible Thief (Le voleur invisible)
1909, France, 5 minutes, (NR)
Director – Segundo de Chomón
The darker undertones of H. G. Wells’ story are transformed into a delightful skit on crime with Chomón’s camera techniques exploring every possibility of stop-motion and double exposure photography. This is the earliest recorded film to make use of the renowned author as source material.
IMDb – The Invisible Thief (Le voleur invisible)
Rotten Tomatoes – The Invisible Thief (Le voleur invisible)
An Over-Incubated Baby
1901, UK, 1 minutes, (NR)
Director – Robert W. Paul
Robert W. Paul was a pioneering engineer of movie cameras and a filmmaker with a keen eye for the fantastic and the bizarre. His films, such as this one and Undressing Extraordinary, are often cited as being some of the earliest manifestations of horror in film. A cautionary tale of what happens if you leave a baby cooking for too long…..
IMDb – An Over-Incubated Baby
Rotten Tomatoes – An Over-Incubated Baby
The Man with a Rubber Head
1901, France, 3 minutes, (NR)
Director – Georges Méliès
The inventor of inventive cinema applies his teeming imagination to his own remarkably distensible skull.
IMDb – The Man with a Rubber Head
Rotten Tomatoes – The Man with a Rubber Head
The Fall of the House of Usher
1928, USA, 13 minutes, (NR)
Director – James Sibley Watson & Melville Webber
This is unusual in being the work of a group of amateur filmakers with both financial and artistic clout. The use of prism photography suffuses the whole film with an eeriness and claustrophobia which lead inexorably to the truly horrific catharsis. In many ways the definitive cinematic version of the Edgar Allan Poe short story.
IMDb – The Fall of the House of Usher
Rotten Tomatoes – The Fall of the House of Usher
There It Is
1928, USA, 22 minutes, (Unrated)
Director – Charley Bowers
One of the now almost forgotten comedians of the silent era Charley Bowers is both actor, animator and inventor in this film. A thinly veiled ghost-house story is the vehicle for some extraordinarily surreal humour, for elaborate sequences of stunning camera effects rarely if ever seen in silent comedy, and for an eye-boggling array of Heath-Robinson-like contraptions which continually thwart the efforts of the two detectives (Charley and his midget assistant) to apprehend the malevolent spirit in the Daffydil Sanatorium.
IMDb – There It Is
Rotten Tomatoes – There It Is
AUDIENCE SCORE: 95.71%
And the comments as follows
- Magical. Perfect piano. Timeless and delightful. I felt delighted, amused and entertained
- Another wonderful selection of silent era films
- Loved the piano accompaniment
- A rare treat excellently delivered. Will be back next year. Paul’s enthusiasm makes the evening
- A real treat to see the films and to hear Paul play along in just magic
- Very enjoyable. Never knew that there were such interesting early films. Excellently presented
- Brilliant as usual
- As always very entertaining, and also informative. Music is inspired. Paul is obviously very passionate about what he does
- Charming, quirky and uniquely entertaining
- The music suited the films very well. Very entertaining
- An atmospheric session of cinematic treats. Live piano music extremely effective.
- Entertaining Shallcross’s music great and his selection of knowledge of the films is rare
- Erudite, informative and entertaining introductions. Please let us have more of the genius that is Paul Shallcross
- I really enjoyed the evening. Info, films and music were fantastic. I’m going home to read some Poe
- Quirky as ever and very entertaining
- Wonderfully entertaining and well presented
- Very informative and some hilarious moments
- Wonderful glimpse at history, and the music and talk were fantastic. As a film novice and first timer at film club I was very impressed and will definitely be returning
- Both educational and entertaining. A most enjoyable evening
- Really enjoyed The Fall of the House of Usher. Inspirationally shot
- Fabulous. Great music, entertaining presentation, educational and interesting and fun.