“March 12th – At last — at last! Today I have been notified of the case of a somnambulist. Now I shall be able to prove whether a somnambulist can be compelled to do things of which he knows nothing, things he would never do himself and would abhor doing– whether it is true that one in a trance can be driven to murder.”
Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer met in Berlin after World War I and both held pacifist views of authority as a result of the war. The two wrote a script intending to show a symbolic scrutiny of military figures who draft men into war for the sole purpose of becoming killing machines. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was released in Germany in 1920. READ MORE
Lesser-known among silent German classics, Waxworks is a carnival of a movie inviting you to visit three distinct freak shows and sample the thrills and peculiarities each has to offer. A young poet (Wilhelm Dieterle, who became Hollywood director William Dieterle) is hired to pen “startling tales” about three figures on display in the Wachsfigurenkabinett. Somehow he and his boss’s daughter (Olga Belajeff) win plum roles in each fantasia he concocts. The Arabian Nights episode, featuring Emil Jannings hamming it up as Caliph Haroun al-Raschid, boasts demented architecture and a blend of comedy and surrealism that inspired Douglas Fairbanks’s Thief of Bagdad. Conrad Veidt, making a memorably mad Russian icon of Ivan the Terrible, towers amid episode 2′s fiercely angular compositions. Then, still-unnerving double-exposure cinematography is used to bring “Spring Heel Jack” (Werner Krauss’s version of Jack the Ripper) out of the realm of fantasy and menacingly into the real-world framing story. Get your ticket right here.
A horror film that surpasses all others. Alan relates the story of traveling magician Dr Caligari and Cesare. Their arrival in a town coincides with savage killings. Secretly Caligari was an asylum director who hypnotizes Cesare to re enact murders. But the final reel contains something which will leave an audience shattered. It blows away all your moral certainties and beliefs. This is the true power of its horror. To leave you vulnerable and uncertain of what you feel was secure and certain.