Robert Wiene

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) - Robert Wiene

download (6).jpg

My next installment of reviewing every Horror movie ever made is The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Caligari is a Horror/Thriller film directed by German expressionist Robert Wiene. The film shows us some really spectacular art work. Again like before, this film is from 1920. To us today, on the outside, It is nothing more than a mere art film. But Caligari proves to be more than that. Wiene shows us a side of film making that hasn't been seen before. The sets and the makeup should be just enough for you to enjoy this classic. If that isn't all that sits with you, stay tuned to the end of the film for a "TWIST" ending! That's right a full fledged "We are Tyler Durden" twist ending.

The film shows us the deranged Dr. Caligari (played by Nazi actor Werner Krauss) and his sideshow act, The Somnambulist Cesare (played by acclaimed silent film star Conrad Veidt). Caligari finds pleasure in sending his Somnambulist (Sleepwalker) out to take the lives of those in the town of Holstenwall. The film is narrated by Francis, who also stars as the hero in this picture. Our Damsel in distress is Jane, played by the beautiful Lil Danover.

Watching this film it is hard to not notice the beautiful sets and art, put in to making this production. You will notice while watching this that many artists and filmmakers to this day pay a great deal of respect to the style in which this was filmed. It definitely held my interest for the 61 min that it ran, and when it was over i found myself looking back on key scenes just to figure the design.

Impeccable art and design. Great acting and an even better story line. There was talk for a while that David Lynch might be doing something with this either a remake or just something to pay homage to, but i can definitely see this film being remade. Unfortunately.

Du mußt Caligari werden!


  • The sets were made out of paper, with the shadows painted on the walls.
  • The film used early viral marketing, the phrase "Du mußt Caligari werden!" was posted all over Berlin as promotion. 
  • Made before "horror" was a designated genre, this is sometimes cited as the first true horror film (although films with elements of the macabre were certainly made earlier).