Friday, March 29, 2013


In this silent, classic example of early German expressionism, this cinematic landmark relates the stylized tale of a Dr. Caligari, a fairground showman who hypnotizes an innocent villager--turning him into a sleepwalking "zombie"--and compels him to carry out fiendish murders. A landmark in world cinema, Robert Weine's one-of-a-kind thriller features fantastical, heavily stylized sets, anti-realist acting, and evocative subjective camerawork.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

DER GOLEM (1920)

 Widely recognized as the source of the Frankenstein myth, the ancient Hebrew legend of the Golem provided actor/director Paul Wegener with the substance for one of the most adventurous films of the German silent cinema. Suffering under the tyrannical rule of Rudolf II in 16th century Prague, a Talmudic rabbi (Albert Steinruck) creates a giant warrior (Paul Wegener) to protect the safety of his people. Sculpted of clay and animated by the mysterious secrets of the Cabala, the Golem is a seemingly indestructible juggernaut, performing acts of great heroism, yet equally capable of dreadful violence. When the rabbi's assistant (Ernst Deutsch) takes control of the Golem and attempts to use him for selfish gain, the lumbering monster runs rampant, abducting the rabbi's daughter (Lyda Salmonova) and setting fire to the ghetto. With its remarkable creation sequence (a dazzling blend of religion, sorcery and special effects) and the grand scale destruction of its climax, The Golem was one of the greatest achievements of the legendary UFA Studios, and remains and undeniable landmark in the evolution of horror film.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


With Vampyr, Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer's brilliance at achieving mesmerizing atmosphere and austere, profoundly unsettling imagery (as in The Passion of Joan of Arc and Day of Wrath) was for once applied to the horror genre. Yet the result-concerning an occult student assailed by various supernatural haunts and local evildoers at an inn outside Paris-is nearly unclassifiable, a host of stunning camera and editing tricks and densely layered sounds creating a mood of dreamlike terror. With its roiling fogs, ominous scythes, and foreboding echoes, Vampyr is one of cinema's great nightmares.