The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a silent horror film that was directed by Robert Wienes in 1920 and was distributed by Decla-Bioscop in the Weimar Republic, Germany.
The film stars Werner Krauss as the titular Dr Caligari, a psychologically unstable hypnotist who commits indirect murders by hypnotising individuals to carry out the act. The movie has been notes for being very dark in nature, with the visual imagery consisting of sharp objects and unusual landscapes.
The movie was written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer and was partially based on their experiences as pacifists during WWI and their distrust of the military and government as a result of being conscripted into war. Specifically, Dr Caligari is a metaphor for the German government during the war, and the man who he hypnotizes, Cesare, is a symbol for the millions of civilians who were under the power of the government during the war period.
Siegfried Kracauer has commented that the book suggests that Germany is submissive and needs an authority figure in order to survive and also noted that the film is a premonition for the rise of Hitler.
Critics have commented on this movie with positive views and critic Roger Ebert stated that it was "the first true horror film." Danny Peary called it cinema's first cult film.