The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and I have a long history together. We're pretty close you could say.That is, as close as a 26 year old American can be with a silent German film from 1920...Which is to say, super duper close, oh yeah.
I'm probably one of the few with fond memories of getting this film on VHS for my birthday when I was but a wee lad of only seven or eight....And I am also probably one of the few with fond memories of racing home each day from High School hoping to find Caligari (and others) waiting upon my doorstep in the first Kino Box Set dvd collection of Silent German expressionist films.
I was very much INTO this film, you see? I was entranced by its sharp angles and sharper acting...And I revelled in its spooky mood...Which was made all the spookier with the knowledge that since the film was so old everyone I was seeing in it were now DEAD.
Watching early silent films feels to me a lot like watching ghosts and I love that. Film creates a sort of false immortality which is baffling and strange.
(For a stranger still 'silent' film experience I'd suggest tracking down Bill Morrison's 'Decasia,' an experimental film comprised solely of rotting old nitrate film prints that have been slowed down and manipulated, all of which is set to the intense sounds of an untuned orchestra. Talk about intense and terrifying stuff, yes!)
Anyway, Caligari is truly a rightful classic and one which has influenced pretty much all horror that followed it...I know I am still influenced by its long sharp shadows (See my short 'Pulsifer the Noctivigant' for some shadowy similarities) and will probably always be....
And last but not least, here's the film itself, courtesy of Film Annex....So check it out why don't you?