The Phantom Carriage

The Phantom Carriage ★★★★½

Movie #31 in my Halloween season watchlist

Even though I don't follow any "rules" for my Halloween season watchlists any more, I always try to fit one silent horror in. Earlier this month I watched The Man Who Laughs and liked it a lot, but I'm really glad I made room for two because I love this movie.

Like most silent horror, it bends more towards tragedy than horror (this is like a more pessimistic and more frightening take on a Christmas Carol type story), but I don't think that's a bad thing necessarily? And the frightening scenes are actually really good. The most plainly frightening silent horror I've seen is The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and has been since the first time I watched it, but some of the carriage scenes here, with the really incredible double-exposure effects, get close (helped by the score used on the Criterion restoration on Filmstruck, which is one of my favorite silent movie scores I've heard?). It's so eerie and otherworldly, familiar in its movements but so slow and dreadful and, yes, silent. I loved it! And the art direction in general is really phenomenal. Not to mention the really intricately constructed narrative, full of nesting doll stories and flashbacks, never quite going in the direction you expect it to. If you feel like silent movies are too slow, this is one you should turn to, it's constantly reinventing itself and adding on to itself, with a wealth of possible stories bursting out from its side. It's really good.

Also I'm so close to finishing this list! I have seven more after this, except for Halloween (and I'm planning on also watching the new Halloween and hopefully the new Suspiria--if it comes anywhere near me--before Octover's up). Yeah yeah I started it on, like, the last day of August but I started September 1st last year and barely finished the list (of only 31) that year (I had to watch seven movies on Halloween, which was, admittedly, extremely fun). I'm unsure if I wanna add a bunch of bonus first-time watches or just pack the month of October with revisiting old favorites. Hmmm.