I got an itch, a bee in my bonnet if you will, and so I started doing some research.
1. Evil is Seen
While what would later be dubbed “horror” had been seen on the stage for some time, it hadn’t been on film until 1895’s The Execution of Mary Stuart (produced by none other than THAT Thomas Edison). At 18 seconds long, this film depicts its namesake as a woman is beheaded…
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Chris, how can this be considered horror when it’s something of standard practice of those times?” I completely understand; I do. Sure, the effects are there but it doesn’t feel like what we would perceive as horror. Now, of course, horror is subjective so it surely was scary for its time. But this why I’ve decided to add 1896’s The Haunted Castle. This is a short film, though they weren’t called such at the time as its 3+ minute length was considered quite lengthy, that’s a vampire story that pre-dates even that of the great Nosferatu. An impressive film and not just for its time.
2. Evil is Heard
As film, silent thus far, was flirting with sound to become known as ‘talkies’, the first all-talking horror film, The Terror, was made in 1928. Though I tried, I couldn’t find any clips or trailers for said film. Based on a play of the same name, the film is described as a slasher where guests in an old manor are stalked by an unknown killer. It’s fascinating to me that something that was known to be the flavor of the decade in the 1980s was actually the first horror picture with sound. However, according to Wikipedia, the film wasn’t received well at all. Regardless, this is a film that I’d like to see.
3. Evil is Spoken
It may not be the first horror convention but Arcana was started in 1971 in Minnesota by fellow fans of the likes of HP Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard and more. It began as a gathering of fans of the horror genre, as well as fantasy, and soon grew as they found more like-minded individuals. It eventually became a full on ‘convention’ originally dubbed MinnCon but founders John J. Koblas and Eric Carlson soon changed the name to Arcana. Fans have been able to meet writers and artists as well as hear them speak on their favorite topic: horror.
Plenty of horror conventions such as Monsterpalooza and World Horror Convention have helped lovers of the genre come together connect. It’s a fantastic way for artists to speak with fans directly about their lives, their creative process, and projects; as well as a way to form new friendships. Of all of these, and I may be biased, but I can’t wait to see the 52 Weeks of Horror convention come around someday…