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Silent Screams at the Whaley House

October 25, 2017 · 6pm | 8pm | 10pm

Horror and suspense classics of the Silent Era screened in San Diego's first theater

For one terrifying night only, the Whaley House presents a series of seriously scary silent movies just in time for Halloween. San Diego's first commercial theater, within the walls of the historically haunted museum, is a perfectly frightening venue for these classics of horror and suspense. Prepare to be scared.

The Whaley House Theater was first established in 1868, when Thomas Tanner, the leader of The Tanner Troupe, rented the upstairs from Thomas Whaley, set up a stage and audience chamber, and presented weekly entertainments. With his daughter Soledad as his leading lady, Tanner and his company packed in 150 people for the first performance. Sadly, the curtain came down on the Tanner Troupe too soon when Tanner dropped dead backstage after a performance one night soon after opening.

The Whaley House has been called the "most haunted house in America." While we can't guarantee you'll see a ghost, you will see some of the most frightening films of early cinema.

$15 per person or All Three Movies $40 per person
Seating is limited; advance purchase is strongly recommended.
No disabled access.

6pm · The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Run time is 94 minutes

"A case can be made that Caligari was the first true horror film." - Roger Ebert.

"The mother lode of the horror genre, this German Expressionist movie is directed by Robert Wiene and presents a full smorgasbord of pop-eyed terror, lunatics, murderers and possessed somnambulists in its eerie shadows." - Times (UK)

"Undoubtedly one of the most exciting and inspired horror movies ever made." - Time Out.

This milestone film, known for its expressionistic sets and techniques, tells the strange tale of a sleepwalker under the spell of the mysterious and evil Dr. Caligari. The simple but compelling story is augmented by the much-acclaimed expressionist set design that is full of angles and painted shafts of light and shadow. Starring Werner Krauss and Conrad Veidt. Directed by Robert Wiene.

Purchase tickets online for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

8pm · The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Run time is 98 minutes

Silent horror film adaptation of Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra, directed by Rupert Julian and starring Lon Chaney, Sr. in the title role of the deformed phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House, causing murder and mayhem in an attempt to make the woman he loves a star. The movie remains most famous for Chaney's ghastly, self-devised make-up, which was kept a studio secret until the film's premiere.

"Lon Chaney's performance as the hideous organist prowling the sewers beneath the Paris Opera is still a cornerstone of gothic horror." - Chicago Reader.

Purchase tickets online for The Phantom of the Opera.

10pm · Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror (1922)
Run time is 94 minutes

In this highly influential silent horror film, the mysterious Count Orlok (Max Schreck) summons Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) to his remote Transylvanian castle in the mountains. The eerie Orlok seeks to buy a house near Hutter and his wife, Ellen (Greta Schroeder). After Orlok reveals his vampire nature, Hutter struggles to escape the castle, knowing that Ellen is in grave danger. Meanwhile Orlok's servant, Knock (Alexander Granach), prepares for his master to arrive at his new home.

"So this is it: ground zero, the birth of horror cinema." - Time Out.

"Still one of the scariest, most unnerving films ever made." - Shadows on the Wall.

Purchase tickets online for Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror.


In Person Whaley House Museum Shop
2476 San Diego Avenue in Historic Old Town San Diego
Call (619) 297-7511


2476 San Diego Avenue, San Diego 92110
(619) 297-7511



2476 San Diego Avenue · San Diego CA 92110 · Phone (619) 297-7511
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