by Danielle Morgan
Over the decades, people have had a love affair with vampires. These sneaky creatures of the night have changed right before our eyes, or maybe, in our sleep. From Varney to True Blood, we haven’t been able to resist. Either way, to really understand the whole vampire frenzy and why it has lasted, we have to start from the beginning. To do that, I will be attending the upcoming event, Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. Like any busy person, I wanted to know why I should choose this event, above all others, to get to the bottom of my undying curiosity of this American vampire craze . To do this, I spoke to the curator of Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, Robert McKeown.
Morgan: What makes Nosferatu so much more terrifying than the current vampires? Basically, why should I go out of my way to go to see this showing at the Crocker Art Museum?
McKeown: Firstly, there's no character named Nosferatu--it's Count Orlok in this. Secondly, Nosferatu may not be considered terrifying in the modern sense, but if you allow yourself to get lost in it, you will find it is more than just a little bit creepy. Part of this is due to the atmosphere. Nosferatu was written during the German Expressionism movement. German Expressionism began mostly as a modernist movement, in which artists of all genres brought forth emotional feelings and took a break from focusing on the physical reality of the world. In films of this era, every shot is deliberate, and most are either meant to disorient the audience or lead them to terror. In the movie, darkness literally creeps. Bizarre angles are abundant, leaving you off-balance and uncomfortable. Then, there's Count Orlock, the vampire himself. Director F.W. Murnau's vampire is no male model, unlike many modern portrayals of vampires. He's played in a completely bestial fashion, as vampires were originally intended to be. He's truly inhuman and savage--and he looks it, too. Orlock has no conscience and no humanity, and this lack of morality helps make the audience even more uneasy. He is literally a nightmare being, which is something that is missing from some of the most current popular vampire fiction.
Morgan: What is the best way to view older vampire movies?
McKeown: Nosferatu is best seen on a big screen--and I don't mean a big TV screen--in a large, darkened theatre where there are no distractions and thus, no mental escape.
Morgan: Can you tell us more about the cinematography?
McKeown: There are a lot of shots where action directly and threateningly approaches the camera. This may feel a little dated now, but at the time of the film’s release, this technique was new and the intimacy it provided was terrifying.
Morgan: I suppose I should find out about the appropriate attire, since the event is on Halloween night.
McKeown: Anything! Costumes, street clothes, dressy, not dressy, whatever!
Morgan: Will the museum section be open to the attendees of this event?
McKeown: Yes, the museum is open until 9:00 pm.
Morgan: Is the museum usually open that late?
McKeown: Every Thursday, the museum is open until 9:00 pm with special programming.
Morgan: What kind of “special programming” does the museum include?
McKeown: It varies, but can include music and film. The first Thursday of every month, the museum will show a film, and then occasionally do additional films on other Thursdays, such as this upcoming film event of Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror.
Morgan: Is this evening fun for the whole family?
McKeown: The movie is from 1922 and is an unrated, silent film. Children are more than welcome to attend, but it should be up the individual parents if they deem the film as appropriate for their children to view.
Many thanks to Robert Mckeown and the Crocker Art Museum. You can also find Robert Mckeown running M.O.B.S, or Movies On A Big Screen. Click here for more information: http://www.moviesonabigscreen.com/.
Event: Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror plus early silent short films. Introduced by Robert McKeown.
When: Thursday, October 31, 2013. 7:00pm
Where: The Crocker Art Museum 216 O St, Sacramento, CA 95814.
Tickets: $10 admission for regular attendees. Crocker Art Museum members can get free advance tickets by visiting http://tickets.crockerartmuseum.org/Info.aspx?ActivityID=471 or by calling (916) 808-1182.
Parking and Directions: http://crockerartmuseum.org/visit/parking-directions
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