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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Video of the Day: The Silent Era's Best Horror Movie

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge They're watching you.
  • They're watching you.

The uninitiated moviegoer might toss out a dig at silent films, and be heard speaking dismissively of black-and-white movies. It's a juvenile offense. But nobody jokes about The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Robert Weine's 1920 horror film and an early gem of German Expressionism. That influential movement sought to convey mood, emotion, and psychology through the lighting and sets, an approach that directors of film noir copied a couple decades later.

See also:

Mrs. Doubtfire (The Horror Film)

Siouxsie and the Banshees' Steven Severin Scores Horror Classic Vampyr

The designers of Dr. Caligari understood light and shadow -- filmmaking, in other words -- as well as anyone in the history of cinema, and they applied their talents to devising a distorted, disorienting, devious, and deeply disturbing nightmare. An innocent carnival act -- the doctor elicits prophecies from his sleepwalking assistant -- conceals far darker deeds. Iconoclastic organist Cameron Carpenter can be counted on to wring maximum dread and terror from the feature attraction, as well as provide witty accompaniment to the curtain-raiser, The Cameraman's Revenge (1912), the great animator Ladislaw Starewicz's stop-motion short about married-but-unfaithful beetles.

The Cameraman's Revenge and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari begin at 7 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness (at Grove), S.F. Admission is $10-$60.

Here's Cameron Carpenter, the "bad boy of the organ" on CBS Sunday Morning:

And here's The Cameraman's Revenge:

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.
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Michael Fox

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