Weekend Horror Movie Wrap-Up

This weekend, Shawna and I mixed a little of the old with a little of the new.  Thanks to the kind folks at Netflix, we got to watch The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The Devil’s Backbone.

THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI

A silent film released in Germany in 1920, Dr. Caligari is a short, sweet, visual treat.  Here’s the synopsis from IMDB.com…

A man named Francis relates a story about his best friend Alan and his fiancée Jane. Alan takes him to a fair where they meet Dr. Caligari, who exhibits a somnambulist, Cesare, that can predict the future. When Alan asks how long he has to live, Cesare says he has until dawn. The prophecy comes to pass, as Alan is murdered, and Cesare is a prime suspect. Cesare creeps into Jane’s bedroom and abducts her, running from the townspeople and finally dying of exhaustion. Meanwhile, the police discover a dummy in Cesare’s cabinet, while Caligari flees. Francis tracks Caligari to a mental asylum. He is the director! Or is he?

Years before Hitchcock or Shyamalan made plot twists smething to expect, Robert Weine put a knife in your gut with the ending of Dr. Caligari.  The movie, of course, requires some serious suspsension of disbelief.  The idea of a person who sleeps a lot may have seemed terrifying in 1920, but it’s more than a little laughable now.  Still, the sets along (which seem to come from an Escher nightmare) are a feast for the eyes.  Check this one out.  There are worse ways to spend 70 minutes.

THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE

The name Guillermo del Toro might conjure up images of Hellboy, Blade II, or (heaven forbod) Mimic.  In 2001, however, del Toro helmed a truly creepy coming of age tale called The Devil’s Backbone.  I’d give you an IMDB plot rundown, but man, it was long.  I’ll hit the basics…

Near the end of the Spanish Civil War, ten-year-old Carlos is left at an orphanage in the middle of nowhere.  While making friends with other boys, he is terrorized by crueal caretaker Jacinto.  He also sees the ghost of a boy named Santi, who tells him many are going to die.  Events build up steam, and the boys soon discover what it will take to put Santi to rest.

The Devil’s Backbone isn’t really a horror movie, but it delivers the chill in spades.  The effects used on Santi are incredible, and the plot and acting roll you along to the movies finale.  Check this one out.  You’ll be happy you did.