George Méliès

film 48 of 70

The Terrible Turkish Executioner

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 19, 2015

The title gives you a sense of things to come, doesn’t it? There’s going to be a decapitation! Méliès applies his (fabulous!) floating head trick to an actual narrative, with very good results.

I’m trying to see up his sleeve. There’s a black backdrop, and a number of black masks that blend in to it. I’m admiring. That reunion is fun. They top what you would think would be an untoppable quadruple beheading (!) by cutting the executioner right in half! It’s shocking/delightful that after this appalling turn events, the two sundered halves continue on in cheerful animation. Not a cloth this time! How delightful to apprehend that the bottom half turns out to be a little child, a la the conclusion of the Harold Lloyd film, Haunted Spooks (1920). At the end, resonance (even a frisson?), and more than just completing the gag, when that torso grabs at those churning legs.