Posted on Tuesday 10 January 2017
Horror fans are in for a real treat later this month as the world’s first true horror film receives a rare showing in Gateshead.
‘Nosferatu – A Symphony of Horror’, which modern film critics describe as ‘one of the silent era's most influential masterpieces’, will launch the first Gateshead Silent Film Festival next Friday (January 20) at St Mary’s Heritage Centre in Gateshead.
The film will have a live piano accompaniment to add to the Gothic ambiance of both the film and the venue - and will help to bring this largely forgotten silent classic to life.
This 1922 German Expressionist film had a brief but checkered history after its release. Its makers had made what was essentially an unauthorised adaptation of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ but with the names and other details subtly changed due to the fact that the studio could not obtain the rights to the novel. However, Bram Stoker’s heirs still sued them for copyright infringement, forcing the studio into bankruptcy after making just this one film.
The courts also ordered that all existing prints of ‘Nosferatu’ be burned, but somehow one print of the film survived. This print was duplicated over the years and kept alive by a cult following, making it an example of an early cult film.
The climax of the film sees Count Orlok bursts into flames when exposed to sunlight, which established the cinematic cliché that vampires burn up when exposed to light. This was not a part of the original Bram Stoker story and was only included by the film director to add extra drama to the end of the film.
‘Nosferatu’ will be shown at St Mary’s Heritage Centre, Oakwellgate, Gateshead on Friday 20 January. Doors open at 7.30pm and tickets cost £10.
The film launches a series of events as part of the short Gateshead Silent Film Festival. On Saturday afternoon (January 21), a hands-on workshop event will explore the use of music and sound in silent film, uncover the different ways in which foley artists generate sound effects for film, and make a simple sound track which will then be performed at the end of the workshop.
The two hour workshop begins at 2pm and tickets cost just £6.
The festival concludes on Saturday evening (21 January) with ‘Comedy Night’ where three films by comic genius Buster Keaton will be shown, all accompanied by a live pianist. The event will also include a 1920’s bar with period music, and a card trickster. Ticket holders will be encouraged to dress for the occasion in period clothing.
Tickets for ‘Comedy Night’ cost £10 and doors open at 7.30pm The event is suitable for 16 yrs +.
Tickets for the Gateshead Silent Film Festival are all available from the St Mary’s Heritage Centre Box Office on 0191 433 4699 or by visiting www.gateshead.gov.uk/whatson