Dr. Caligari (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the 1989 film. For other uses, see The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
Dr. Caligari
Original movie poster for the film Dr. Caligari.jpg
Theatrical release poster.
Directed by Stephen Sayadian
Produced by Joseph F. Robertson
Written by Stephen Sayadian
Jerry Stahl
Starring Madeleine Reynal
Music by Mitchell Froom
Cinematography Ladi von Jansky
Edited by G. Martin Steiner
Distributed by Manley Films
Release date
  • 1989 (1989)
Running time
80 min
Country United States
Language English

Dr. Caligari is an 1989 avant-garde erotic film by Stephen Sayadian starring Madeleine Reynal, Laura Albert, Gene Zerna, David Parry, Fox Harris and Jennifer Balgobin.[1]

It is a semi-sequel to the 1920 film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.[citation needed] The film details a disturbed doctor (the granddaughter of the original Dr. Caligari) and her illegal experiments on her patients.

Originally, and briefly, billed as Dr. Caligari 3000 when it debuted at select theaters in 1989, the film promptly faded into obscurity. Since it was released on VHS and limited Betamax format, the title has been Dr. Caligari. The film is considered a cult classic and has been shown as a "Midnight Movie" at various times.[2]


The main plot involves Dr. Caligari's experiments with her patients at the C.I.A (Caligari Insane Asylum), where she transfers glandular brain fluids from one patient to another. Two of her main patients, Mr. Pratt, a cannibalistic serial killer, and Mrs. Van Houten, a nymphomanical housewife, are the primary subjects of her mindswapping. Mrs. Van Houten becomes the cannibal and Mr. Pratt the nymphomaniac although they seem to still retain some elements of themselves as well. Apparently, Caligari's unconventional idea is to cure people by introducing equally opposite traits to balance out disturbed minds, but this is never explicitly stated in the film.

Several other doctors, a married couple (Mr and Mrs Lodger) become concerned with Caligari's experiments and approach Mrs. Lodger's father, Dr. Avol, who confronts Caligari only to fall victim to her mindswapping and receives an injection of Mrs. Van Houtens fluid, turning him into a transvestite nymphomaniac. Sex is a prominent theme throughout the movie, especially for Mrs. Van Houten, who appears topless and performs masturbation at several points, but there are no hardcore scenes as this was released as an R-rated feature. By the end of the film Mrs. Van Houten has injected Dr. Caligari with her own nymphomaniacal fluid and herself with Caligari's ancestor's (the original Dr. Caligari from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari); thus the patient becomes the doctor, the doctor becomes the patient and the inmates are left running the asylum.

Critical reaction[edit]

The Los Angeles Times wrote "One of the kinkiest artifacts ever to come out of Orange County has to be the movie "Dr. Caligari.""[2]

The film was selected as an opening-night feature at the Toronto Festival of Festivals.[citation needed]

Home Entertainment Releases[edit]

The film was also released in America on Laserdisc by Image Home Entertainment. The film was later released on VHS. Excalibur Films, despite mostly dealing with pornographic film, released it on DVD on August 23, 2002.[3] as the company was formed by the film's executive producer.


  1. ^ "Dr. Caligari". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b Smith, Mark Chalon (July 13, 1995). "Movie Review : 'Dr. Caligari' Offers a Dose of Nuttiness". Los Angeles Times. 
  3. ^ "Dr Caligari Adult DVD". Excaliburfilms.com. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 

External links[edit]