(I apologize if I already posted about this before, but does that really even matter?)
Dating back to 1901 and directed by Walter R. Booth, “The Haunted Curiosity Shop” certainly is a glimpse into the time when filmmaking was still in its infancy. Its producer, Robert W. Paul, was also a British electrician and inventor. Paul’s innovations included Britain’s first 35mm camera, film projection technology, super-positions, and multiple exposures, and creating interest in the cinema generally. In addition to “The Haunted Curiosity Shop,” he and Booth are responsible for the first film adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, titled “Scrooge, or, Marley’s Ghost.”
Of course, other film innovators of the era included the French Lumière brothers, George Melies, and Thomas Edison in the U.S. Though not what we’d consider a full-length feature, “The Haunted Curiosity Shop” certainly packed enough action to inspire further interest in storytelling on the screen. Booth directed several films in his lifetime, but “The Haunted Curiosity Shop” is probably the closest he ever got to the horror genre (though, frankly, it’s arguably more of a comedy piece). To be honest, it looks like it could have been filmed in somebody’s living room with added props. In any case, it was an early example of film trickery making the implausible look plausible.