Caligari's Heirs: The German Cinema of Fear after 1945
- Publish Date: 2006-12-25
- Binding: Paperback
Most critical work on the horror film in Germany has been devoted to the period of the Weimar Republic and the classics it has produced, including Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) and F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1922). Postwar German horror film, however, has received little critical attention. Caligari's Heirs: The German Cinema of Fear after 1945 is a collection of essays that corrects this oversight by providing intelligent critical analyses of a variety of German horror films from the early postwar years to the present day.
Following an introduction that discusses the development of critical discourse on postwar German horror film, these essays focus on four particular aspects of the genre: the immediate postwar years and the long shadow of Weimar cinema that falls over them; the dialogue between the German Autorenfilm and horror cinema; the influence of commercial American cinema on German horror films; and contemporary splatter films that have received more critical attention than any other postwar German horror films. To round out the picture of this genre in the context of a specific national tradition, the book also includes three interviews with contemporary German horror film directors working in both cinema and television.
Though the book takes on a wide field of discussionGerman horror film over a period of roughly fifty yearsit does so by providing case studies. The essays in this collection discuss either an individual film or director, or they take on larger historical issues: from the discussion of the Nazi past in the postwar years to the heavy toll of German reunification. In its broad approach, Caligari's Heirs has something to offer to three distinct audiences: the horror film fan, the reader interested in German cinema in general, and the reader interested in discovering a national culture through its popular culture.