October 30, 2010

MACABRE MYSTERY WEEK: CALIGARI

With the recent release of the Fantomas collection from Kino International, Halloween coming this weekend, and a new Richard Sala book around the corner, It's been macabre mystery mania here at the Spy Vibe lair. I unfortunately missed the debut of the new Sherlock Holmes, but I have been busy enjoying the thrills and intrigue of classic French characters like Fantomas and Judex. Fans familiar with the penny dreadful tradition of serialized pulp fiction will hopefully recognize this rogue's gallery of mystery villains and avengers. If you have made the leap to an eReader, you might want to check out one of the many original Fantomas novels available on-line (many are priced around $1.00). You can even read them on your smart phone with Kindle's free app!


Today on Macabre Mystery Week we have a pair of special Halloween clips. Robert Wiene's Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) is perhaps the most iconic film of the German Expressionist period in Cinema. A tale of a mad doctor and his somnambulist assassin, Cesare, the film makes use of angular, crude set designs that twist and turn into dark corners like the minds of its characters. One of the all-time horror classics and a special take on the term "sleeper agent!" Cesare was played by Conrad Veidt, an actor Spy Vibers may recognize from Casablanca (1942), The Man Who Laughs (1928), and the Michael Powell spy yarn, Blackout (Contraband/1940). Rocker/writer/artist, Rob Zombie, paid homage to Caligari in his 1999 video for Living Dead Girl (soundtrack/The Matrix). If you listen closely to the lyrics, Spy Vibers will also catch a reference to the Spy Vibe fave Dr. Goldfoot films.




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