EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 24, 2013

Silent by scary

'Nosferatu' to be screened at Rogers Center in spirit of Halloween

Get into the Halloween spirit with the classic 1922 silent horror film, “Nosferatu,” the first screen adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula,” at the Rogers Center in North Andover next week. The evening won’t be all about silence however, as the program will be accompanied live by musician Jeff Rapsis.

Directed by German filmmaker F.W. Murnau, “Nosferatu” remains a landmark work of the cinematic horror genre. It was among the first movies to use visual design to contribute to an overall sense of terror. To modern viewers, the passage of time has made this unusual film seem even more strange and otherworldly.

It’s an atmosphere that silent film accompanist Rapsis will try to enhance in improvising live music on the spot for the screenings.

“The original ‘Nosferatu’ is a film that seems to get creepier as more time goes by,” said Rapsis, who is based in New Hampshire and ranks as one of the nation’s leading silent film accompanists. “It’s a great way to celebrate Halloween and the power of silent film to transport audiences to strange and unusual places.”

In “Nosferatu,” German actor Max Schreck portrays the title character, a mysterious count from Transylvania who travels to the German city of Bremen to take up residence. A rise in deaths from the plague is attributed to the count’s arrival. Only when a young woman reads “The Book of Vampires” does it become clear how to rid the town of this frightening menace.

Director F.W. Murnau told the story with odd camera angles, weird lighting and special effects that include deliberately speeded-up sequences.

The silent film series at the Rogers Center aims to recapture the magic of early Hollywood by presenting silent films as they were intended to be shown: in restored prints, in a theater on a big screen, with live music and with an audience.

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