Scary Movie Review: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Title: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Release Date: 26 February 1920
Director: Robert Wiene
Production Company: Decla-Bioscop

A character named Francis (Friedrich Fehér) narrates a strange tale of of the sideshow impresario Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss) who trains a “somnambulist” named Cesare (Conrad Veidt) to carry out murders. The movie’s frame story ends with a surprising twist. I didn’t find the movie all to scary or suspenseful or even unsettling, but I guess I’m jaded from watching it 100 years in the future. I did appreciate the “fun house” style sets and the scene where the name “Caligari” is superimposed on the the screen in multiple fonts. This movie is definitely worth watching as it is arguably the first horror form and had a great influence on German Expressionism and later Film Noir. I also think that directly or indirectly it must’ve been an influence on Robert Smith of The Cure (who resembles Cesare) and the entire oeuvre of Tim Burton.

Rating: ***