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Film / The Haunted Hotel

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The Haunted Hotel; or, The Strange Adventures of a Traveler is a 1907 short film (six minutes) by stop-motion animation pioneer J. Stuart Blackton.

The short opens with a shot of a house. Storm clouds pass and lightning cracks. Witches fly across the sky on bromsticks. The trees start to dance, and suddenly the front of the house becomes a leering, grinning face.

Cut to a traveler arriving at a "hotel" which appears to be only a single cabin. He sets down his bag and tries to enjoy a meal, but all sorts of bizarre things happen. The table moves. The furniture moves. Ghosts appear and disappear. The dinner serves itself, with a knife floating in midair slicing meat. The whole room starts to tilt back and forth...

Compare Princess Nicotine, another Blackton short leaning on stop-motion for surreal effects.

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Tropes:

  • Either/Or Title: The Haunted Hotel; or, The Strange Adventures of a Traveler
  • Flying Broomstick: Witches with broomsticks are seen flying overhead in the opening sequence.
  • Genius Loci: Apparently the case with the cabin, since it actually shows a face and grins evilly.
  • Haunted House: And how. Ghosts, spirits, tiny clowns, Satan...
  • Lilliputians: The tiny clown that crawls out of the pitcher of water and cavorts around the dinner table for a while.
  • Monster Clown: Just what the hell is that little clown that crawls out of the pitcher?
  • Satan: At least that's what the giant demon who appears at the end and snatches the man up seems to be.
  • Stop Motion: Used for some of the early shots of the exterior of the cabin. Then again for the scene where the dinner serves itself—plates moving about the table, knife slicing bread by itself, a coffee carafe levitating to pour coffee.
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  • Stop Trick: Used for some other effects like the weird crouching guy who just appears in the middle of the cabin.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: The wacky, trippy film ends with a gigantic demon appearing from the depths, ripping the roof off the cabin, picking the man up and taking him to hell.
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