Nosferatu, Accompanied

Oct 27, 2015

nosferatuBrandt Sponseller of Classic-Horror writes that “nosferatu” is a modernization of a Slavic term, which is itself a modernization of the Greek “nosophoros,” or “plague carrier.”

Director Freidrich Wilhelm Murnau, in the 1922 classic silent film Nosferatu, embraces this idea, having his Orlock (Dracula) appear rather rat-like with pointed teeth, nose, and those famously pointed claws.

Nosferatu is set in 1838 Bremen, the year an actual plague broke out that killed numerous citizens. In the film, Orlock is constantly accompanied by rats (which are actual plague carriers), looks like a rat himself, and symbolizes the arrival of an unknown epidemic which, when eliminated, eliminates the threat to the citizenry, as well. (

On Halloween night, Nosferatu will be screened at Pasadena Presbyterian Church. Timothy Howard, Doctor of Music Arts, and Director of Music and organist at PPC, will play the score on the church’s Æolian-Skinner pipe organ to accompany the film.




Producer Albin Grau did not get the rights to Bram Stoker’s Dracula and after production, Stoker’s widow sued. As a result, all the copies that the German production company Prana-Film owned or leased were destroyed.

“Thanks to one vital copy lodged at the time in the US where Stoker’s novel was already out of copyright,” writes Pamela Hutchinson, editor of Silent London, “we still have the movie and every print now available descends from that one saved positive.” It seems paradoxical to be grateful for the existence of something that scared the bejesus out of us when we first saw it on TV. And yet, we are. Thanks to Murnau and lead actor Max Schreck whole generations have been unnerved by this version of one of our most enduring archetypes.




Fritz Wagner’s cinematography, unfortunately not preserved pristinely, is striking. Much of the atmospheric eerieness of the settings is due to his work, and many images, such as Orlock standing on deck of the ship taking him to Bremen, will be forever burned into your mind once you witness Nosferatu. (Classic-Horror)



Mina Harker: "My lover is coming!"

Ellen Hutter (Greta Schröder): “My lover is coming!”



This Friends of Music concert screening opens the season series, to be followed by the 71st Annual Candlelight & Carols on December 12th. Other concerts include a Cole Porter Songbook, Handel’s Messiah, and the Westminster Concert Bell Choir. See full listing here.


Nosferatu with Live Accompaniment
Saturday, Oct. 31st, 7:30 p.m.
Free admission, voluntary offering
For more info, visit


To watch F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu is to see the vampire movie before it had really seen itself,” writes Roger Ebert. “Here is the story of Dracula before it was buried alive in clichés, jokes, TV skits, cartoons and more than 30 other films. The film is in awe of its material. It seems to really believe in vampires … “Nosferatu” remains effective: It doesn’t scare us, but it haunts us.”







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