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50 Classic Horror
Movie Posters Vol. 1

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Motion Picture Films were created during the end of the 19th century. In the beginning, commercial appeal was limited to Nickelodeons where patrons peered through a viewer to see a hand cranked short film of 30 seconds or a minute for the rate of a penny per viewing.

Movie theatres featuring films projected onto a screen in front of an audience began showing up in the big cities in the USA shortly after the turn of the century. The first cinema in the United States was Tally's Electric Theater built in Los Angeles in 1902.

left: A Nickelodeon from 1910. The poster out front is "Who Owns the Rug"

Generally the fare were travel films of some sort, but in 1903 the Great Train Robbery clocked in at 12 minutes and is recognized as the first short feature produced in the United States .

It would not be long after the creation of the cinema that horror and science fiction films would hit the scene. One of the most prolific fantasy film makers of the time was Frenchman, George Melies whose contributions include the historic "Le Voyage Dans la Lune" or "A Trip to the Moon" in 1902

right: A scene from George Melies' "A Trip to the Moon" 1902.

Melies, who was formerly a stage magician, knew that he wanted to "fool" audiences with his film subjects and his use of double exposures, time lapse, film disolves and overlays were revolutionary for the time.

The first Horror Film is reported to be Melies' Le Manoir du Diable from 1896. Though a comedy, some elements of the film are skeletons, ghosts and witches in a medieval castle and a bat that turns into the devil. In 1898 Melies released The Cave of the Demons

However the first major horror film is the Edison Company's "Frankenstein" featuring Charles Ogle as the monster. A lumbering creature created from chemicals in a huge bathtub, the monster was depicted as a foul, decripit being - something that would later become the proto-typical visage of the screen monster.

left: the Edison Kinetogram advertising the coming Frankenstein film

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