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An American Nightmare… From Horror Radio to Horror Movie PDF Print E-mail
Written by by David McCloud   
Jun 01, 2004 at 02:00 AM
"To all of you listeners our there in radio wasteland USA, you’re listening to every sinners favorite show, American Nightmare with Caligari.\" And with those words, KILR Pirate Radio was on the airwaves across Dallas, Texas.
Broadcasting illegally, hence the term pirate radio, American Nightmare took to the radio in spring of 1996. The show’s host, Caligari, was an enigmatic and often delusional character whose great claim to fame was \"getting arrested for ice skating naked at the North Dallas Galleria.\" And while public nudity may be his forte, public mockery was his passion, as was often displayed on his show. Most Friday nights from dusk till dawn, listeners around the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex were treated to an insane, thought-provoking, perverted sideshow that would have made P.T. Barnum proud. Caligari delivered to us on a silver plate all that is wrong with American and then forced us to feast on the decay of our society.
Who knows how many listeners he actually had, but in winter of 1996, his infrequent shows became a regular Friday night establishment, as fliers, stickers and bumperstickers began springing up in the underground of the Dallas music district. Ranting about the state of America, the stupidity of people, the conspiracies hidden by the government to the sexual antics of society, Caligari was the extreme of any topic. Among the elements of his show were \"Pandora\'s Box,\" his reading of listener letters and his take on them (many a listener fell prey to the forked tongue of Caligari). His show also included the occasional taped interview with an array of intriguing guests, his take on horror films as well as the best of underground and obscure music. Where else could you hear hardcore industrial followed by mariachi-rock-n-roll with a bit of surf music thrown in for good measure?
During the late summer of 1997, Caligari performed once of his most elaborate stunts. Taking calls for the first time, Caligari talked a young couple into stripping nude and having sex in an alcove in downtown Ft. Worth. Broadcasting the call and act live, the couple drew quite a crowd until local law enforcement arrived to arrest the couple. Cautious of repercussions from this incident, along with prior stunts, Caligari stopped broadcasting until December of 1997.
Upon his return, he pumped up the speed of his show, two months worth of rants spewing freely from his mouth. His show continued until Halloween Night of 1998. On this particular Halloween night, Caligari opened up the phone for his \"fear\" show. All night long, Caligari invited callers to share their greatest fears with him. Some were easily ridiculed while others provided lengthy, insightful debates about the life and times of our modern culture. Then it happened. Sometime during the darkness before dawn, a crash could be heard in the background. As Caligari scuffled with an apparent intruder, a female voice could be heard saying three simple words: Are You Afraid? After a moment of silence, a solitary gunshot rang across the airwaves.
Was this yet another elaborate stunt by Caligari, or living proof of the nightmare America has become? We don\'t know for Caligari has not been heard from. . . until now.
Highland Myst Films in Fort Worth is bringing Caligari back to life with their movie, American Nightmare. Though only loosely based on the pirate show, Caligari’s persona is present in all his splendor. \"We needed an element to the story that would tie everything together,\" shared director Jon Keeyes. \"American Nightmare was the perfect venue to keep all of the storylines intertwined.\" The movie utilizes Caligari’s final performance – his fear show – as a catalyst for a killer to begin a deadly game of cat and mouse. As seven friends share their fears on Caligari’s show, a serial killer is listening, and proceeds to deliver their fears upon them. The film stars Debbie Rochon (Terror Firmer, Tromeo & Juliet) as the serial killer, Jane Toppan, and Brandy Little (Detention) as the primary target of Jane’s psychotic game. As for Caligari, will he receive the same fate in the film as he did in life? \"You’ll have to wait and see the movie for that answer,\" grins Keeyes.
In the meantime, audiences can appease themselves by visiting www.american-nightmare.com, the film’s official website that includes nineteen audio clips from the old pirate radio show.

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