Dr. Caligari – 4K Restoration

Stephen Sayadian · 1989
80min · DCP
Playing Jun 4

Sunday, Jun 4: 8:00 pm

Sexually deranged and stylistically unhinged, this psychedelic surrealist neo-noir reworking of the 1920 German expressionist classic features Laura Albert as Mrs. Van Houten, a woman whose libido is dangerously out of control. There’s only one place for her: the Caligari Insane Asylum (CIA).

Madeleine Reynal plays Dr Caligari, the granddaughter of the original Doctor, whose own experiments in psychosexual therapy have led her to the brink of a radical treatment involving hormonal exchange. Having drugged and imprisoned Mrs. Van Houten’s sexually repressed husband, Caligari sets out to extract the brain fluid of an incurably nymphomaniac Mrs. Van Houten and inject it into the head of a cannibalistic serial killer (John Durbin) addicted to electroconvulsive therapy. What could possibly go wrong?

With eye-popping set design from Stephen Sayadian (NIGHT DREAMS, CAFÉ FLESH), a luscious synth score courtesy of Mitchell Froom, not to mention acid-tongued dialogue written by Jerry Stahl (PERMANENT MIDNIGHT), Dr Caligari drops a dirty bomb on Reagan era family values. Mining high art in bad taste, it parodies both mass media and pop culture through a roll call of staged citations and quotations as exquisitely framed as they are sexually charged.

“Part goofball sex-trip, part personalized art film… Persistently outrageous.” The Los Angeles Times