Friday, May 19, 2017

A Terrible Night (1896)

DIRECTOR: Georges Méliès


Georges Méliès


A man trying to get some sleep is disturbed by a giant spider on his bed.

Being that I was born and raised in Australia. The amount of times that I have woken up in the middle of the night to feel a spider crawling on me while I was trying to get some sleep is somewhere in the double digits. Growing up in a country where most of the insects and creatures can kill or wound you, it's really not that creepy to me. This is the life of an Australian. It's just a common, everyday occurrence for us here in the land down under. Be thankful you get spiders in your bed and not a snake.

Going into my second Georges Méliès short film. I was sure that I would be getting a short film that was filled with fantasy and wonder. A short film that wasn't horror per se but touched on a simple fear of human beings and given the breath of life by one of cinemas earliest visual masters. I was sure there would also be a comedic side to his short and after watching A Terrible Night, it was exactly what I expected and for that, I had fun, once again.

A Terrible Night clocks in at just over one minute. A lot shorter than his first short film The House Of The Devil. This feels like a more contained short film. More simplistic. I thought that House Of The Devil was him just going all out on the props and tricks. It was Georges 
Méliès showing us what he could do with a film camera and a set in his backyard. I think A Terrible Night shows him reeling it in and giving us a simple story of one man and a spider.

The only thing in A Terrible Night that feels like a visual trick in this short film is the giant spider. Instead of using an actual puppet, they've just used a pasteboard prop of a spider and used wire to move the spider around the bed. For using wires and a prop, I thought the spider looked great. You can clearly tell that they've used a prop but I thought the visual side of it really worked. I'd say that it looks more believable than most crap that comes out on the Syfy network. A feat for being made in the late eighteen hundreds.

The performance by Georges 
Méliès is one of theatre. This is now the second time that I've seen him in a short film and he looks like a kid in a candy store on screen. He looks like he is having so much fun on screen even if we can't hear his voice or listen to any dialogue. He is so animated in his performance that it really does shine through. I'm excited to see what he does as the decades go on. I can't wait to see him actually star in something and hear him speak. I'm holding off though as I want to be surprised.



No blood or gore found in this short film.

A Terrible Night could really be the first short film based on the saying 'don't let the bed bugs bite'. At just one minute, seven seconds, this is now my second 
short film and again, I enjoyed myself. What he does well is that he gives us an early piece of cinema that shows the wonder of what cinema has to offer and what it will eventually become. I thought A Terrible Night was a lot of fun and deserves to be seen.

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