Matt Clark and Phil Smith, regulars on the Brighton avant garde music scene, perform a live, improvised, score the film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari – “the first true horror film”
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (German: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari) is a 1920 German silent horror film, directed by Robert Wiene and written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer. Considered the quintessential work of German Expressionist cinema, it tells the story of an insane hypnotist (Werner Krauss) who uses a somnambulist (Conrad Veidt) to commit murders. The film features a dark and twisted visual style, with sharp-pointed forms, oblique and curving lines, structures and landscapes that lean and twist in unusual angles, and shadows and streaks of light painted directly onto the sets.
One hundred years on from its original release, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari remains a landmark of silent cinema, and a milestone in the development of film as a medium. One of the most discussed pictures of all time, Robert Wiene’s classic, which premiered in Berlin on 26 February 1920, has been called “the first true horror film” (by no less than US critic Roger Ebert). It has also been heralded as one of cinema’s earliest ‘art’ films, helping the fledgling medium to be taken seriously as an art form.