Where Horror Film Began: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

In early 1920, Robert Wiene premiered in Berlin his silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Ever since, critics have lavished praise upon Caligari, calling it a model of German expressionist film, the greatest horror film of early cinema, and an important influence on directors later working in the film noir tradition. And, what’s more (spoiler alert), Wiene’s film introduced the ‘twist ending’ to cinema. Today, you can watch this groundbreaking film in its entirety above, download it from the Internet Archive, or find it permanently listed in our ever-growing collection of Free Movies. Thanks to Melissa for the good find…

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  1. Leisureguy says . . . | December 9, 2010 / 7:52 am

    I think spoiler protocol is well known and I’m surprised by your violating it. The idea is to state that a spoiler is coming up so that the reader can avoid the spoiler. I’m not sure what your purpose is to print a spoiler and subsequently note that it is a spoiler. Is this to ensure that the reader will remember the spoiler and thus do its bit to ruin the experience? You perhaps think that spoiling things is this way is amusing, but I for one detest it. In this case it was totally unnecessary—simply a kind of vandalism. I hope that you are sincerely ashamed.

  2. Mike says . . . | December 9, 2010 / 8:25 am

    A person notes that a 90-year-old film has a “twist ending”–but doesn’t say what the twist is–and that’s viewed as an act of vandalism? Now that’s twisted!

  3. Dan Colman says . . . | December 9, 2010 / 9:26 am

    Thanks Mike, my words exactly. The film invented the “twist ending,” and that’s partly what makes the film worth watching today. That needs to go in the description, or else readers will never understand the importance of the film. And, as Mike said, I didn’t say anything specific about the twist. Sorry to say it, but I’m feeling ok about myself today…

    Cheers,
    Dan

    PS I moved the spoiler alert up in the text. Not sure if it will make any real difference.

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