The film contained many traditional pantomime elements and was intentionally meant to amuse people, rather than frighten them. Nonetheless, it is considered by many to be the first horror film, as well as the first vampire film. The Haunted Castle is now in the public domain.
The film starts off with a large bat flying into a medieval castle. Once in, the bat circles slowly while flapping its monstrous wings before suddenly changing into Mephistopheles (Georges Méliès). After preparing a cauldron, the demon produces skeletons, ghosts, and witches from its bubbling contents before one of the summoned underworld cavaliers holds up a crucifix and Satan vanishes in a blast of smoke.