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Classic horror film comes to PAC

Elizabeth Ludemann | Thursday, October 28, 2004

The first surviving film adaptation of Bram Stoker’s timeless horror tale “Dracula” is coming to the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center tonight, just in time for Halloween. “Nosferatu,” a 1922 silent film by German director F.W. Murnau, will be presented with live musical accompaniment in the cinema. Besides its status as one of the greatest films of all time, “Nosferatu’s” legend is due in part to the controversy it caused. For legal reasons, Murnau changed the names of Stoker’s classic characters, but the resemblance of the story was still enough to cause problems. In a 1923 lawsuit with Stoker’s widow, all prints and negatives of the film were ordered to be destroyed. Years later, however, the film surfaced in a number of countries, and its popularity has not died. The story revolves around the mysterious Count Orlak and his involvement with realtor Thomas Hutton and his wife Ellen. When Hutton is sent to Orlak’s isolated castle to close a deal, he ends up discovering that the count is, in fact, the undead night creature Nosferatu. Murnau and his cinematographer Fritz Wagner created a cinematic masterpiece with this film. Using innovative camera techniques, low angles, stop-motion effects and atmospheric sets, this film embodies the German Expressionist style. Count Orlak, rat-like and pallid, may be one of the most grotesque screen characters ever In the 1920s, live musicians almost always accompanied silent films, but when silent films are viewed now this part of the experience is usually missing. A recorded score usually suffices, but this month the University is bringing two musicians to offer the full performance as it was meant to be. The score will be performed live in the Browning Cinema by percussionist Carolyn Koebel and Aaron Kruziki on didgeridoo and ambience. Koebel has studied percussion for over 20 years, and she has received degrees of distinction in percussion and music therapy from Western Michigan and a master’s degree in music therapy from Michigan State University. She is currently authoring a book on the therapeutic applications of drumming. “Nosferatu” is playing in the Browning Cinema of the Performing Arts Center tonight at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets are on sale at $6 for the general public, $5 for Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross staff and $3 for all students.