John D’Amico’s Horror on YouTube #26 – Dr. Caligari


Dr. Caligari (1989) | Dir. Stephen Sayadian | 80 min.

Every day in October, a recommendation from John D’Amico of a horror movie or TV episode available for free on YouTube. Enjoy:

The premise here is that Dr. Caligari’s granddaughter is continuing his experiments except with more bangin’. Porno director Stephen Sayadian’s sequel/parody/softcore remake of the expressionist classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari has a lot of outsized dream imagery to live up to, and its high-contrast neon minimalism is, if nothing else, memorable.

It’s pure camp but unlike, say, Rocky Horror, it has enough unpredictability and grisliness in its veins to stick the landing as an actual horror movie as well. Parts are as effectively dreamlike as anything I’ve seen, living in that sweet spot between the ambitious but unwatchable Begotten and the safe Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s not just visually unusual, either – the gender inversion and power games make for some captivating operatic cinema.

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