Regina composer rescores classic horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

The new score is part of The Caligari Project, a festival celebrating German expressionism.

The updated score is part of German expressionism festival The Caligari Project

Jason Cullimore rescored The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari as part of The Caligari Project, a Regina-based festival celebrating German expressionism. (CBC)

A classic film has been given a new sound.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari — the classic German silent film released in 1920 — has been rescored by Regina composer Jason Cullimore. 

Cullimore, who had not seen the movie prior to his involvement, initially watched the film without its backing track. 

"That sort of sparked ideas in my mind about how can I actually bring out, for modern audiences, this wonderful world of Caligari," Cullimore told CBC Radio's The Morning Edition on Friday. 

Cullimore said it was his job to make the new score as fresh and cool as it deserves to be for a newer audience. 

"Audiences then didn't have a language for film music," he said of the then-new entertainment medium.

"They didn't have as rich a history or tradition and understanding of what film could be."

Cullimore said the film was a representation of that potential. 

The film will be screened with its new score at the Conexus Arts Centre on Sunday evening. (YouTube)

Cullimore said he wanted to compose something that fit the film and its time but something that also brought the film forward into modernity. 

As there are no producers still alive from the original release of the film, Cullimore said he had the very challenging — but also exciting — prospect of working on the score purely from his own vision, a process he described as liberating and stimulating. 

"You really are supporting a story," he said of putting together a score for an audience. "The music, as it evolves, is going to let people know... it's going to comment on the story. It's going to change how they understand it."

The film will be screened with Cullimore's new score on Sunday at the Conexus Arts Centre.

He is also nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award in the Classical category. The award announcement and a showcase will take place at the Westminster United Church on Saturday afternoon. Cullimore will be in attendance. 

With files from The Morning Edition