by Mark Burger

The Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema in Greensboro is scaring up a pair of spectacular events this week to celebrate the Halloween season in grand fashion.

On Wednesday, there will be a special screening of director Robert Wiene’s silent masterpiece The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), considered by many to be the first classic horror film, as well as a quintessential example of the German expressionist movement in cinema.
What makes the screening unique is that it boasts live musical accompaniment by the popular Triad-based band Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands. The group’s affinity for carnival folk and gypsy jazz, combined with the strange and surreal tone of the film, piqued leader Crystal Bright’s creativity.
“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari takes place at a carnival and involves a zombie-ish character,” Bright observes. “It has a dark, complex plot with a twist ending. I can’t think of a better fit, cinematically, for our style of music.”
Nearly 100 years since its original release, Caligari still frightens and fascinates viewers with its bizarre tale of a carnival hypnotist (Werner Krauss as the titular Caligari) and his brutish, somnambulist subject, Cesare (Conrad Veidt), who does his bidding, which includes carrying out a string of brutal murders. But the story doesn’t stop there, and instead becomes an odyssey of paranoia, mania and delusion leading to an unexpected final twist – perhaps the first such ending in the history of motion pictures.
“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a film with both a carnival as well as zombies,” notes Joe Scott, Geeksboro’s owner and creative director. “Both of these themes are present in the music of Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands, so I cannot think of a better pairing of both cinema and music.”
This event will begin at 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Tickets are $15.