In the 20s, as now, vampire stories were a guaranteed money-makerso when director F.W. Murnau couldnt get the rights to adapt Bram Stokers novel, he got around the copyright with a few name changes. This film presents Nosferatu (plague carrier) as the blood-drinkernot a suave aristocrat, but a ghastly and bestial predator embodied by ratlike Max Schreck. The film introduced a key piece of vampire mythology, the idea that the monster will wither if exposed to daylight. Also influential is its expressionist black-and-white photography, which includes the terrifying image of Nosferatus shadow advancing across a wall. This showing will be presented with a live original score by the Rats and people Motion Picture Orchestra. For a Halloween double feature, rent E. Elias Merhiges 2000 Shadow of the Vampire; it hilariously and gruesomely details the making of the film, with Willem Dafoe playing Schreck as the ultimate Method actor.
Sat., Oct. 31, 7 p.m., 2009