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.

The fun and fright continue at Geeksboro this Friday (Halloween night) with Cine Scream 2014, a hair-raising, hell-raising collection of six shocking short films made by independent filmmakers from the Piedmont-Triad region. This marks the premiere screening for each film included in the event.

Cine Scream 2014 is presented by Greensboro’s own Mad One Films, which itself specializes in filmmaking at its wildest and weirdest. Mad One’s very own mad moviemaker, Jaysen Buterin, serves as the event coordinator and will also be presenting his latest short shocker for audience consumption.

The films selected are: Between Hell and a Hard Place (Greensboro): Writer/director Buterin’s creepy character study focuses on two contract killers on a terrifying journey through the Valley of Shadows.

400 Ways to Kill a Vampire (Raleigh): Writer Bill Mulligan and director Christine Parker put a fresh spin on the genre as a legendary vampire-hunter encounters “the mother of all vampires.”

Disengaged (Durham): This post-apocalyptic parable from writer Eryk Pruitt and director Christopher G. Moore depicts a suburban neighborhood come undone.

Guns, Water & Food (Banner Elk): Writer/director Jesse Knight puts his own spin on the apocalypse as a conspiracy theorist’s worst theories unfortunately come to pass.

Mother (Raleigh): Based on a story by Amber Teachey, writer/director Christine Parker’s chiller offers a horrifying new take on mother/daughter relations.

Worldly Possessions (Charlotte): Writer Brad Hord and director Robert W. Fillion team up for this shocker about a demonhunter forced to confront his own demons when he returns to his hometown.

There will be a quick question-andanswer session featuring members of the attending cast and crew from each film between each screening.

Cine Scream 2014 will begin at 9 p.m. on Friday. Tickets are $6. Attendees who show up in Halloween costumes or bring a food donation item for the Greensboro Urban Ministry will be admitted for $5.

“Jaysen Buterin is a man who truly loves film,” praises Scott. “To see this man not only watch movies at Geeksboro but then turn around and make them and play them here as well is truly unique, and something no one else has yet to duplicate.”

Scott expresses pride and pleasure at its ongoing success. “Geeksboro has become a business dedicated to cultivating a community of fans,” he says. “Whether people like indie films, board games, great coffee, video games or premium TV shows like ‘The Walking Dead’ or ‘Doctor Who,’ we’ve seen a tremendous response by being a place where folks can enjoy these interests with the public.” !


The Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema is located at 2134 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. For tickets or more information, call 336.355.7180 or 336.662.5691 or visit the official Geeksboro website: