Once again, we’ve teamed up with the wonderful silent film pianist Paul Shallcross to mine the seemingly inexhaustible realms of Silent Horror to produce a programme featuring the best of the malevolent and macabre from early cinema. Each of the four films will be accompanied on the piano by Paul whose scores have been specially written for Abertoir. As usual Paul will give illustrated introductions to the films and these will include some of the unintended and amusing happenings which escaped the directorial eye. This will be the first time in the world that Silent Short Vol IV will be presented!
The Monster (Georges Méliès, 1903)
The ever inventive and irrepressible Georges Méliès returns to the screen at Abertoir with a three-minute trick film of Egyptian mystery and magic featuring a dancing skeleton, a houri and a gullible tourist.
Suspense (Lois Weber, 1913)
A remarkably taut and tense thriller from Lois Weber, who in 1916 was described as “one of the forward-looking directors who has helped make the fight to give intellectual athleticism a place on the screen instead of reserving it entirely for comedy gymnastics and sob slush.”
Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren &Alexander Hammid, 1943)
A surrealist and experimental film made independently in Hollywood by two emigres from the fascist Europe of the 1930s. A slowly unfolding psychological drama in which repeated visual motifs perplex and suggest, and lead inevitably to the harrowing conclusion of this study in sex and death.
Dr. Pyckle & Mr. Pryde (Joe Rock & Harry Sweet, 1925)
Before his collaboration with Oliver Hardy in 1927, Stan Laurel had a brief but very successful solo career in Hollywood. Here he gives a splendid send-up of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde duo, notable for its nigh-on scurrilous mimicking of John Barrymore's classic – but very serious – earlier protrayal of the Robert Louis Stevenson characters.
The commission of these scores was made possible in part by a generous donation by The Mecca Tea & Coffee Merchants, Aberystwyth.