Caligari. Our first horror movie. Possibly the first horror film.
There were some scary/horror shorts made earlier, like The Haunted Castle, and a 1910 version of Frankenstein, but in terms of straight up horror features, nobody had the ball rolling quite like ze Germans did. German Expressionist filmmaking is not only the basis for all horror movies of the next few decades, but also of other genres, like noir. And 1920 was really the year where horror movies took off, mainly with Caligari as well as Der Golem. (I could say THE Golem, but, no I can’t.) And of course, Nosferatu, two years after this as well, is another very famous early horror film.
Mostly I’m here to talk about the impact of German Expressionism on later film. Caligari is a great film in its own regard, but it’s really its style that would resonate most throughout film history. (more…)