WHICH WAS THE WORLD’S FIRST HORROR MOVIE?

The first recorded horror movie was a home movie shot with a Bolex camera, and film critics hesitate to classify it as a horror movie or a slapstick comedy. Its author is known to be a Texas housewife named Margaret Lockwood. The movie lasts seven minutes and has no title. The first sequence is a chase peppered with blows. A man wearing nothing but a poncho and a cowboy hat (probably Mr. Lockwood) is being chased around a table by a harum-scarum elderly woman (probably Mr. Lockwood’s mother-in-law). The woman brandishes a rolling pin with which beats the man up every time she reaches him. The man laughs at the comical situation. His laugh is contagious and the viewer can’t help but laugh too. Everyone laughs, even the old woman. But suddenly the viewer’s laughter freezes when seeing the old woman stopping, reaching into her petticoats, and pulling out a revolver. The next second, the laughing man is riddled with bullets. In the following sequence it’s seen how the old woman cuts the corpse into very thin slices. Then she inserts each slice into an envelope and in each envelope writes a different address that she copies from a large address book. Then a horse-drawn wagon from the post office stops in front of the house and carries the letters sack away. In the following sequence there is a knock on the door. When the old woman opens it, she is faced with her son-in-law (resurrected?) who laughs his head off and gets everyone laughing. However, in a flash the general mood changes and everyone becomes serious. The old woman grabs an ax that was leaning against the wall and cuts off the man’s head with a single blow. The man runs off headless but soon his strength fails him and he collapses. The old woman laughs and everyone starts cracking out, including the man’s head which lies on the ground in the middle of a large pool of blood. In the last frame we are shown a poster where a penguin appears.
There has been much debate about the nature of this film. Comedy? Horror movie? Family drama? Western? A lunatic’s opera prima?

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