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Old 09-20-18, 09:42 PM   #1
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"Dr. Caligari" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge





Dr. Caligari (1989)



Selected by clckworang


Spoiler:



IMDB ENTRY

ALYXSTARR LINK

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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.
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2018 DISCUSSION | 2018 LISTS

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Last edited by Chad; 10-15-18 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 10-26-18, 04:48 AM   #2
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Re: "Dr. Caligari" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

Well, that was...Different.

Since the actress who played Dr. Caligari kept on reminding me of Siouxsie Sioux, I kept expecting her to break into song. And that's what this just felt like. A (Trippy) music video with no music. Still glad I saw it though
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Old 10-26-18, 10:11 AM   #3
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Re: "Dr. Caligari" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

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Originally Posted by Mondo Kane View Post
Well, that was...Different... A (Trippy) music video with no music. Still glad I saw it though
Good summary. I cannot say I enjoyed all of Dr Caligari as much as I had hoped for much of the run time but the visuals were epic yet it all came together in a surreal and exciting way. The theme that some sexuality is 'sick' while other is ok, which unfortunately remains resonant today, is a great one and Dr Caligari challenges it in some provocative but simultaneously subdued ways (this is maybe the least smutty sexuality film I've seen). Some of the incest suggestions take things to a delicious level of taboo challenging all sexual conventions, even those the viewer would not reasonably agree with.

Watching it I was reminded, a little, of Repo the Genetic Opera (not that Repo is a barometer for the absurd, unsure why) and I think more films (like Repo) could benefit from the level of absurd we see in Dr Caligari. I think Dr Caligari has some oddly dystopian elements that detract from it. DC is not a fun movie despite the colorful pop because of a pretentiously serious tone. I think I understand the theme of sexual or medical repression is dystopian and maybe for this reason it's especially successful in parading whimsy that is restrained - a metaphor for people holding back their sexuality (or being overly clinical about it) such as the couple early in the story. I liked the emphasis on sexuality but at the same time so much of the actual content just seemed more random lyrical than anything with depth like a parade of surface level sexualized horrors, until closer to the end. In an arena of camp it's hard to be critical of performance but some of the actors were so stilted even if thematic/intentional it detracted from the experience. If the film had been silent it might even have been better and the namesake expressionistic elements are a highlight, as is the overall theme that slowburns from wtf weirdness to more challenging thoughtfulness. I would be down for more tongue wall and forehead syringes but less talking for much of DC.

I am also reminded of Pee Wee Herman, a Pee Wee Herman stylized horror film would be great - but I'm not sure this did it for me being either too high brow or too intentionally campy (not sure how a film could be both but here we are).

The nepotism element seemed odd at first - Dr Caligari's father helped found the hospital, the director has two offspring who co-operate the hospital - it contributes to the surreal but not sure if there's more to that thread. I think one of the best scenes of the movie was the father cross dressing and expressing his unleashed repressed sexuality with Dr Caligari; maybe an example of overly elaborate setup for what ends up being a great payoff in this case but so staged (so this is either slow burn or maybe too slowly paced, I cannot decide). Dr Caligari imprinting herself with her father's syringe is another ripe payoff.
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Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-26-18 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 10-26-18, 04:26 PM   #4
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Re: "Dr. Caligari" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

I'm struggling with the version I downloaded from ALYXSTARR. The visual is pretty good but the audio is very muffled and there are no subtitles. I'm catching maybe 60% of the dialogue. Not Alyxstarr's fault. We knew this one was only on youtube.

ETA: OK, I got through it. I wish I could see the depths in it that UndeadCow sees. I'm afraid I just loathed it. It reminded me a bit of Eraserhead, which I also dislike. If there was a positive message about sexual identity here, it was drowned in too much low budget weird for me. I'll stop there in the spirit of "if you can't say anything nice...".

Last edited by jholmes; 10-26-18 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 10-26-18, 05:29 PM   #5
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Re: "Dr. Caligari" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

I’m impressed with Undeadcow’s ability to get that much analysis on it. I’ll just go with Mondo’s trippy music video with no music. I imported the DVD for this subset, and might regret it. But I’ll give it another go some future drunken night perhaps.
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Old 10-26-18, 07:26 PM   #6
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Re: "Dr. Caligari" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mondo Kane View Post
Since the actress who played Dr. Caligari kept on reminding me of Siouxsie Sioux, I kept expecting her to break into song.
I hoped for the same.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Undeadcow View Post
I am also reminded of Pee Wee Herman, a Pee Wee Herman stylized horror film would be great - but I'm not sure this did it for me being either too high brow or too intentionally campy (not sure how a film could be both but here we are).
I caught Pandemonium on Comet this week. I have not seen it since the '80s and I forgot Paul Rubens had a small part in it. He's pretty much Pee-wee so there's that.
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Old 10-27-18, 05:30 AM   #7
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Re: "Dr. Caligari" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

Got five minutes into it and had to call my weed guy.
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Old 10-27-18, 04:32 PM   #8
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Re: "Dr. Caligari" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

This was brilliant. As each year passes I find myself struggling to put my smart phone down while watching a lot of movies during the challenge, but this film kept my attention 100% of the time. I loved a scene near the beginning where a clip on television depicted an ankle sore and the viewer suddenly noticed one on their own leg. Almost like all of those ads that target insecure teens and convince them to buy something because they're not good enough.

So many loaded scenes in this movie. The scene where the woman masturbates to the tongue on television seemed especially prescient for a modern world with pornhub.

If this wasn't shot on video I'd love to see it get a remaster so I could revisit it someday, I have a feeling there are a ton of interesting details I missed.
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Old 10-28-18, 12:20 AM   #9
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Re: "Dr. Caligari" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

I noticed the mask similar to the 'Baby Face Killer' in Happy Death Day; I wonder if there's a story behind that mask or if HDD ripped it off from Dr Caligari.

A commentary on Dr Caligari would be interesting.
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Old 10-28-18, 02:19 PM   #10
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Re: "Dr. Caligari" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

WTF? i am more impressed with undeadcow's analysis then the film's story, acting, etc.

3/10
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Old 10-28-18, 06:57 PM   #11
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Re: "Dr. Caligari" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

Ha, ha. My pick here. I knew when I suggested it that it would be absolutely hated by most and enjoyed by some, and I was pretty much right on which people I thought would enjoy it and who wouldn't.

A little personal background about this movie. I have a couple of friends. They know each other but don't hang out (they actually don't like each other), and it just so happens that both of them name this as one of their all-time favorite movies. Both lamented no DVD release, so they were both excited when I found the one at Excalibur Films. One of the friends wanted to introduce the film to me, so we made plans for me to introduce him to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and him to show me this film. This was more than a year ago. My dog was still around but in rough shape. I remember having a rough night the night before, and I felt really bad that I fell asleep when we watched this. I was interested but too tired. I'd sort of wake up periodically and wonder what the hell was going on.

I was intrigued. I at least wanted to fully cross it off my watch list, and I thought this challenge was a great opportunity for that. Again, I didn't expect everyone to like it, but at the very least, I thought it would offer people something *different.* And it certainly was that! I have to admit that I took a certain amount of pleasure knowing that I was forcing some people to suffer through this.

It's also a film that I think has been neglected. It hasn't gotten a wide DVD release and no Blu-ray, but even those who hate it could probably acknowledge it's the type of film that's bizarre enough that it could develop a small but fiercely devoted cult following if given the chance. It's the type of film that I could see Vinegar Syndrome releasing.

As for my thoughts on the film itself ... I don't know exactly. I certainly didn't hate it. There were a lot of things that I liked about it. Did it all coalesce as a whole? Probably not, but it was an interesting journey to go on. I appreciated the random strangeness. Chincilla! Chinchilla! There were plenty of interesting visuals to take in. The acting was odd, but I also don't feel like I can really criticize it because they felt less like bad performances and more like what the director wanted. Maybe I'm wrong on that.

But what do I know. I've said before that Eraserhead might be my favorite Lynch film and am somewhat of a defender, though not a staunch one, of his last season of Twin Peaks. I'd rather watch something like this than another formulaic horror film. I can pretty much guarantee that I'll revisit it at some time. It's the type of film I know some of my friends will have fun watching even if they may not come away liking it.
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Old 10-28-18, 08:26 PM   #12
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Re: "Dr. Caligari" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

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Originally Posted by clckworang View Post
Ha, ha. My pick here. I knew when I suggested it that it would be absolutely hated by most and enjoyed by some, and I was pretty much right on which people I thought would enjoy it and who wouldn't.
I've reached the point where I can watch a subset pick and have a pretty good idea who suggested it. Personally, I love when a film challenges me and makes me think. Iean that's what art is all about. The early 90s was a great time for lo-fi surrealism. You don't see a lot of this type of movie these days.

Not only did this give me a Lynchian vibe but it also reminded me of the sketches on Kids in the Hall that would get really weird. They were one of the few sketch comedies that truly embraces surrealism and the overly theatrical performances were similar to this film.

I really enjoyed watching it, that's what I love about the subset challenge, it forces me out of my comfort zone and introduces me to films ai never would have heard of otherwise.
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Old 10-29-18, 12:04 PM   #13
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Re: "Dr. Caligari" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

i didn't hate it, i just it was amateur hour crap. Repo - I hated.
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Old 10-29-18, 04:11 PM   #14
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Re: "Dr. Caligari" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

Yes, I didn't really hate this one, but there were some really puzzling moments for me. I like how Undeadcow, mentioned Pee Wee's Playhouse, because that's what I was thinking.
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