Halloween Movie Marathon
The wind blows through the trees and rustles the once green leaves which now display their bright colors before they fall to the ground. The air has started to turn cool, and people are now taking their once forgotten sweaters and long pants out from their closets. Fall has arrived, and in movie time that means ghouls and goblins will grace the silver screen once again.
The month of October for many people symbolizes the time of year where they can watch old and new horror films to be frightened. What’s more fun than turning all the lights off, crawling underneath a blanket on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn and watching a scary movie?
For this month, this section will be dedicated to horror movies. Old and new, monsters and ghosts, werewolves and vampires, these reviews will go through them all. Starting with….
“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”
Even back in the early 1900s, people loved being scared. Horror films in the silent film era were a common place, and clever make-up made the monsters. Just look at any Lon Chaney film.
One horror film that stands out from others in the silent era is “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.” It was made in 1920 and the film set the mark for a unique visual style and a twist ending in horror films.
In short, the film is about a mad doctor named Dr. Caligari who is in the possession of a somnambulist named Cesare. A somnambulist is a person that engages in sleepwalking, but in the film Caligari has complete control of what Cesare does. Cesare does Caligari’s bidding, like kidnapping, and it is up to a man named Francis to stop him.
The first thing anyone notices about this film is its mise-en-scene. The visuals for this film are very striking and odd. The film was directed by Robert Wiene, who was a German Expressionist filmmaker. German Expressionism was known for having everything in the frame be distorted and out of proportion. For example, there is basically no such thing as a straight line in the film. All of the houses, roads, street lights, signs and even the characters seem to be crooked or slanted. One look at the film and the viewer immediately knows that the world this film is set in is not normal. This was the style that many Expressionist films were made in, but “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” is the most visually striking.
While the film may seem pretty tame for today’s standards of horror, as in no gore and no jump scares, it still has a creepy villain with wild hair and enormous spectacles. Someone looking for a monster movie can watch this and see Cesare, a rail thin, pale man who does his master’s bidding. He is close to a zombie, but his erratic movements and somewhat normal face make him more human than one would want to admit.
Since this is a silent film, some people may not have the patience to sit through it and read the text. But if you can, you will be rewarded with a film that looks like none other and a suspenseful story.