Friday, December 13, 2013

Dr. Caligari (1989)

Director: Stephen Sayadian

Writers: Stephen Sayadian, Jerry Stahl

Composer: Mitchell Froom

Starring: Madeleine Reynal, Fox Harris, Laura Albert, Jennifer Balgobin, John Durbin, Gene Zerna, David Parry, Barry Phillips

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The MAD doctor is in.

Plot: Mrs. Van Houten has shown signs of losing touch with reality, and her husband discusses possible treatment with Dr. Caligari, who says Mrs. Van Houten has a disease of the libido. The staff want Dr. Caligari removed from their facility due to her controversial experiments with electroshock and hypothalamus injections. As Dr. Caligari continues experimenting with her patients, her daughter and son-in-law attempt to stop her.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Probably not.

It was probably 1990 when I discovered this.  Working at a mom and pop video store, the VHS cover caught my eye.  At the time, I told everyone that it was the strangest movie I had ever seen.  That was over twenty years ago and I've seen a shit ton of strange movies.  It's still pretty fucking bizarre but not tops on the list.  It can be a difficult film to get into but if you allow yourself to soak it in and try to follow the plot you might just find yourself being entertained by more than just the outrageous imagery, dialogue and performances.

Laura Albert (Mrs. Van Houten) and John Durbin (serial killer, Gus Pratt) take the cake as the MVPs for this flick. They're fantastic and I LOVE the look of Dr. Caligari (Madeleine Reynal).  Smokin'.  It is a strange trip and it's definitely style over substance but it's worth a look.  The set design (Stephen Sayadian) and the makeup effects (Ken Diaz) are outstanding and deserve attention all to themselves. Take a look at Diaz's credits.  It's impressive.  If all of this isn't enough to entice you to try something different, there is ample nudity and some great laughs.  And for 80 minutes Sayadian is able to keep this up and stay fully committed.  I respect that.

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