Horror And German Expressionism

1707 Words 7 Pages
The horror genre has evolved drastically over time. When one mentions horror today, they might imagine the screams of poor teenagers as all their guts are ripped from their bodies, or the unsettling tension created by the knowledge that evil lurks around characters that are oblivious. Over the years, horror has had to keep audiences on their toes and switch up their scaring tactics to kept the adrenaline pumping. But is the horror film dependent on the scares it provides, or the topic within the film? Although the genre is flooded with gore and jump-scares, the films that are based in mystery and ideas can be equally as scary to the viewer. Considering horror films is rooted heavily in the German Expressionist movement, and specifically The …show more content…
It followed the avant-garde style movement before it, leading to the unique imagery it presents, but letting deeper meanings shine through. It was an outlet for the anger and depression that filled the German. By the time German Expressionism was introduced to the cinemas, it was already prevalent in the current culture around Germany, such as literature and art (Silberman). However, the films created reflected the unique art style, and melded everything together to present all the ideas put forth before it, using imagery similar to the paintings, and stories similar to the literature. Characters would have heavy makeup to emphasize expressions and harsh contrasts to impose mood. The sets create a world that echoes the characters’ mindsets and visually replicate the abstract visons of the time. Also, the viewpoints of the camera and general tactics used to film bringing out the essence of the film. Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is considered the finest example of German Expressionism in …show more content…
Caligari would be the scene when Cesare kidnaps Jane, and attempts to escape with her. Cesare’s appearance already gives the audience a sense of unease, he is incredibly thin and tall, clothed in skin tight black clothes that cover his entire body up to his neck, his black hair lays flat on his head, and his heavy makeup includes black under eye circles, black lips, and heavy black eyebrows that make his face almost clown like and gaunt. The buildup to this shows Cesare slowly creeping along the wall of Jane’s house, posing almost as if he is a tree with an arm outstretched. Jane is sleeping in her bed perfectly posed in an angelic fashion surrounded by white bedding, however the scenery around her, such as her windows, are at a slant, creating a sense of unease. We then see Cesare slowly crawl in through her windows with a knife in hand. The shot is filmed with a diamond shaped focus, also creating a disjointed feel to the environment. Cesare stalks up to Jane’s sleeping form and goes to stab her, however before he does his arm stops jerkily and his body stutters and pauses. He very slowly reaches down to grab Jane before she immediately lashes out against him and he manically grabs her face and then her whole body as she theatrically struggles. This whole sequence not only displays the artistic choices made that prove to be expressionistic, but also displays the movements made by actors to create the overall fragmented

Related Documents