Chapter Three - "The Spectacle"

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This episode, set in an old world carnival in Ryan’s front yard, was inspired by early filmmakers George Melies and Robert Weine, with emphasis on visual spectacle, including a combination of music, dance, and variety acts.

George Melies was a French filmmaker famous for leading many technical and narrative developments in the earliest cinema. Because of his ability to seemingly manipulate and transform reality through cinematography, Méliès is sometimes referred to as the First”Cinemagician.” His most famous film is “A Trip to the Moon,” in which a spaceship hits the eye of the man in the moon. This film is also considered to be an important step in early science fiction or fantasy films.

Robert Weine is known for directing one of the most influential of German Expressionist films, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” which is often considered one of the greatest horror movies of all time. This movie is cited as having introduced the twist ending in cinema.

The first Expressionist films made up for a lack of lavish budgets by using set designs with wildly non-realistic, geometrically absurd sets, along with designs painted on walls and floors to represent lights, shadows, and objects. The plots and stories of the Expressionist films often dealt with madness, insanity, betrayal, and other “intellectual” topics.

We touch on that madness with a fortune told by the somnambulist, or sleepwalker. In Robert Weine’s “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” Dr. Caligari is displaying the somnabulist as an attraction at a carnival. Caligari brags that Cesare can answer any question he is asked. The somnambulist makes a grim prediction to one of the characters.

In The Spectacle, our somnambulist also makes predictions.

Trivia: The somnambulist’s prediction is a direct quote from the Greek tragedy, “Oedipus Rex,” by Sophocles. – A bit of foreshadowing for a style in a future episode, perhaps?

Fun Fact: The giant tea cup was painstakingly made by Jamie and Genie from two 4′x8′ pieces of styrofoam board.

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