A Tale So Strange It Must Be True: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005)


The Cabinet of Dr. CaligariI must know everything. I must penetrate the heart of his secret! I must become Caligari!

So I checked out this movie from the library, thinking that it would be weird, but I was not prepared for how strangly horrtastic it was. This was an extremely well done horror film, that really does the orginal film justice.

So this is a remake of the 1920s silent film. It was revolutionary for its time, and inspired countless others. What David Lee Fisher wanted to do in his remake; is still have the orginal story, but redo it in a way that it would connect to the modern generation.

It was truly amazing. I recommend that all watch it; for multiple reasons.

  1. This is one of the very, very few remakes that is as amazing as the original. They hardly changed anything, and took nothing away from the story.
  2. The background is amazing. Using a green screen they took the backgrounds from the original film, truly giving the film a demented and creepy space. It was seamlessly done, with the only times the fore and background being disconjointed is when you are at a point of the film that cannot tell what is really happening and what is in the mind. These out of sync scenes really help support the questioning of the characters’ insanity. 
  3. The cinematography is beauttiful. Almost every scene takes your breath away at how beautifully it is set up.
  4. The actors are amazing! (Judson Pierce Jones & Neil Hopkins are very attractive! :D)
  5. The end is magnificent. They just twist everything that you are not sure what is reality and what isn’t.

So the film starts off at the end. The main character, Francis is speaking to an old man about his fiancé, and how she has been through such a strange event that she will never be the same again. She walks every night in a trance, and does not speak anymore. Francis starts to recount his story, warning the man that he probably won’t believe a tale so strange, it must be true.

We go back in time to a city and place that we don’t know where it belongs. Is it past or present? All one can tell is that the buildings slant, everything is triangular, misshapen, and strange.

Strangely beautiful

A man comes to the main hall to get a permit for his carnival. He calls himself Dr. Caligari, and speaks of having a psychic who can reveal all’s future. The clerk is rude to Dr. Caligari and forces him to pay an exuberant amount of money. Caligari does and walks away, but all does not seem to bode well for this clerk.

The next day he is dead. Murdered.

Then we are introduced to Alan, who is stopping by to visit his friend Francis and is begging him to partake in some kind of adventure. We learn that Alan has been combating depression and has been holing himself away these past months, even having to visit an asylum. He however, is feeling much better and convinces Francis to see the fair with him, “for old times sake”.

They start getting drunk, and then stop to see the psychic Cesare. Cesare is a “living dead” man who can fortell all. He lives in a coffin, only being released every once in a while, Cesare has a truly creepy wake up scene. There is just something about how Doug Jones jerks and twists his body that frightens you.

Francis wants to leave, but Alan is rooted to the floor. When Dr. Caligari calls on him to ask a question, Alan is compelled to answer. He is physically incapable of leaving or turning away. He asks Cesare his question, but all does not go well.

Alan: How long shall I live?                                                                                                                                      Cesare: The time is short. You die at dawn!”

Francis quickly grabs Alan out of the tent and fearing a relapse in his friend, reassures him that Cesare’s tricks are stupid and do not mean a thing.

On the way they meet up with Jane Stern, a girl they are both madly in love with. (It is a reoccuring theme in movies. Out of all the women in the world the best friends always fall for the same one). Both are eager to get an answer from her as to who her choice will be, but she manages to slip away and into the night. The friends say good-bye and go their seperate ways.

The next day Alan is dead. Murdered.

This horrible tragedy leads Francis on a path of reality so intermingled with insanity that one can hardly tell the fact from fiction. Francis is so sure that Dr Caligari killed his friend, that he becomes obsesed with finding proof. Will this quest for vengence and justice end well? That I cannot tell you as you must see it for yourself. The film is so good, that like The Bad Seed, I cannot tell you the ending. You must view it yourself.

This marks the seventh post of scary tales. More to follow.

Here’s a poster/cover page I made for my facebook page as a countdown to Halloween.

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To start Horrorfest from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World

To go to the previous post, go to Secrets are Great, Unless You Get Caught

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For more on psychics, go to That Video…is Not of This World

For more posts on films that have been remade, go to Anything Can Happen

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