James Rolfe: Welcome to Cinemassacre's "Monster Madness". Here we will be covering the basic history of horror films in only 31 days. For our first review, let's go back to the year 1920 with the German Expressionist classic "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari".
The cabinet contains the sleepwalker, Caesar, controlled by the mad magician, Caligari, who commands him to kill all those he seeks vengeance upon. This theme of a mad doctor or a villain taking control of a monster has been recycled countless times throughout horror movies. Also the monster often falls in love with the girl, who he has no business with and this becomes his downfall. It's the classic beauty and beast story used in tons of monster movies, most notably "King Kong".
So, besides being one of the first horror films and having influenced a whole genre, it was also important to film in general for its surreal visuals and cryptic storytelling. The whole movie is told from the point of view from an inmate from an asylum, so not only is the story vague, but everything we see is distorted; shadows are painted across the floor, things bend at weird angles, windows are anything but square.
Watching the movie is like going into a dream world and up till then, movies usually depicted a setting in reality, but this is fantasy, and that happens to be an important aspect to the horror genre.