In what Roger Ebert called "the first true horror film", The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, transports us into a nightmarish delirium- rife with distorted perspectives and unnerving shadows- to tell the story of an insane hypnotist who uses a somnambulist to commit a series of murders.
In one of the most influential films of the silent era, Werner Krauss plays the title character, a sinister hypnotist who travels the carnival circuit displaying a somnambulist named Cesare (Conrad Veidt). In one tiny German town, a series of murders coincides with Dr. Caligari's visit, implicating the mad hypnotist and his somnambulist. Caligari's Expressionist style ultimately helped inspire the dark shadows and sharp angles of the film noir urban crime dramas of the 1940s, many of which were directed by such German émigrés as Billy Wilder and Robert Siodmak. The haunting synth-heavy score provided by The Invincible Czars' for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari helps to craft the atmosphere of a warped world of fear and menace. (Germany, 1920, 76 Mins, Silent w/ English intertitles | Dir. Robert Wiene)