expressionist films

Most of the publicity shots taken of the band Bauhaus are in black and white. This is a fact which is well known, however, the reason behind this has never truly been revealed. For years it has been wrongly assumed by fans and music journalists alike that this was an aesthetic choice, to match the band’s taste in stark monochromatic clothing and stage lighting. Nor is it as a tribute to the silent German Expressionist films and Cinema Noir which the members, three out of four having attended art school, drew much of their stylistic inspiration from. The actual reason was an accident. You see, there can only be a certain amount of colour in any given roll of photographic film. If there is too much colour, then all the colour in the roll of film is lost as it is too much for the human eye to handle. It’s like looking at the sun, you just can’t do it. It’s a safety precaution taken by the companies that make the film. What happened when photographers attempted to take pictures of the band, was the photographs lost all of their colour instantly, because Peter Murphy’s eyes were so blue it would have been dangerous to the human eye. Not only that, the camera lens would often get overwhelmed and give off an electrostatic charge, resulting in Daniel Ash’s gravity-defying hair in certain images.It would also give him the temporary power of x-ray vision. This was the inspiration for the song ‘’The Man with X-Ray Eyes’ from their 1981 album Mask. During this time, Ash also served a brief stint working as a suitcase inspector at Birmingham airport, though he soon quit, after witnessing a terror couple kill a colonel in the departure lounge.

I noticed something about the projector slide show in Nathan’s dorm that /u/Paddo_In_Wonderland on the LiS subreddit also picked up on. The slides appear to be very similar to the 1920’s Robert Wiene horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Obviously, Nathan has a huge film collection which Max comments on as being pretty dark, so it’s not super surprising that Nathan watches old creepy German expressionist films in the dark.

What’s interesting is that The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari revolves around a crazy hypnotist who has a thing for commiting murders. Rather than commit them himself, he uses a somnambulist (a sleepwalker, for those unversed in their Latin roots) to commit the murders for him.

Could the allusion to this film in Nathan’s dorm be a hint at Nate and Mark’s true relationship? I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Nathan has been sleepwalking through the despicable acts he commits througout the game, but it’s possible that Caligari is meant to represent Jefferson, Cesare (the sleepwalker) is Nathan, the murders are Jefferson’s kidnappings, and perhaps the sleepwalking itself is a reference to Nathan’s mental and emotional weakness and hazy morals, making him an easy target for manipulation.

Then again, Cabinet ends on a twist, revealing that Francis, the main character who is telling most of the story, is actually a patient in an insane asylum along with the Sleepwalker, Dr. Caligari is the asylum director, and the entire film was a delusion. So maybe Max and Nathan are both crazy and Jefferson is just a kindly asylum director who is trying to cure the crazy protagonist? Who knows.


I thought this video was pretty cool! Someone went and collected footage from various Expressionist films and TIm Burton films to do a side by side comparison.

What I thought was hilarious though, was that the background music was a compilation of main themes from various Burton movies, except the last theme is from Pee-Wee Herman’s Big Adventure, which is NOT featured in the compilation.
Criminal Minds' Matthew Gray Gubler on His Extra-Spooky Directing Style (Pro Tip! Only Tease a Killer's Talons)

TVLINE | I once asked [showrunner] Erica Messer what is it that you bring to these episodes that they’re typically especially creepy, and she suggested the writers put their “extra-twisted hat” on for you.
[Laughs] I think that’s pretty accurate!

TVLINE | Why do you think the episodes you direct tend to be particularly unsettling?
You know, I try to approach directing from the most classic standpoint imaginable. A lot of my influences are from the old German expressionist films, and early film noir. I think it’s a slower-paced, more subjective, less gory style of directing, and that services our episodes really well. People will always be the most scared of what they can’t see, so doing that will always make these episodes extra creepy. Showing a bit of restraint is, I think, integral to good, spooky filmmaking.