13 Movies of Halloween Horror: #13 The Cabinet of Dr Caligari


The last silent movie I saw was "The Man who Laughs" which was a direct inspiration to The Joker from Batman infamy.  It was an amazing movie, that I recommend everyone seeing.  I mention this because, it set a difficult standard for "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" to reach.

And it did so in spades.  Visually this 1920 movies was still striking and has to be among the first to be shot with a psychological emphasis.  What I mean by that is, everything seen in the movie, from the actors' makeup to the set designs were all crafted to create a 'crazy' feel.  There were absolutely no squares or rectangles, and almost no right angles throughout the entire movie.

If you're wondering why that's a big deal, take a look around you now.  Not only is your screen a rectangle, most, if not all, of the windows around you are rectangular, as are the doors, and designs on the walls.  The walls themselves meet at right angles, as do most of the signs.  The creators of this movie took all of this into account and understood how disturbing it'd be to see none of this in everyday life.

All of which plays into the fact that the someone in the movie is crazy.  We're supposed to figure out what exactly is going on when two people in a quiet town are murdered.  Suspicion falls on a traveling sideshow attraction of a somnambulist (someone who sleepwalks under the control of another).  The blame is passed around a few people including the main character.

This has to be the first movie to ever include flashbacks, special effects using lights, and a twist ending.  (I'm by no means a movie historian and could be wrong, but it came out in 1920, couldn't have been much competition).

I highly recommend this movie for anyone who appreciates the roots of film.


 A bucket-o-popcorn! I really enjoyed this movie, and am glad to have ended my 13 movie marathon with The Cabinet of Dr Caligari.

If I'm being honest, I watched three other movies that didn't deserve a bucket rating so I didn't count them.  This one impressed me so much, the thought behind every detail the viewer saw, the production, makeup, acting, 'dialogue', everything was spot on and makes me wish movies were still this good.

My only complaint, and it has nothing to do with the movie directly, but the standard for beauty back then was so narrow, that every actress from the time looked exactly alike.

Be here next year when I tackle this again, with more forethought and actually have a plan.

Halloween Still?

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