The recent “Twilight” movies, which feature sparkly vampires who madly fall in love with, marry, and then impregnate innocent teenage girls, have destroyed the reputation of the once ferocious movie monster. Vampires used to be scary, but now they are laughable.
The Mines Orchestra under the direction of Jonathan Cullison, in conjunction with Dr. Robert Klimek on the organ, brought back to life the image of a scary vampire when they played the music for the 1922 silent movie classic “Nosferatu.”
This German movie is one of the earliest examples of vampire movies and is, by today’s standards, very simple. As a 90 year old silent movie, “Nosferatu” contains no clever dialog and contains no explosions. Yet, despite this, the movie still proves to be entertaining when accompanied by live music.
The magic of the event was by far found within the music. The Mines Orchestra performed superbly, playing “Perseus”, “French Carol”, “Brandenburg Concerto Number One”, and “Iditarod.”
Cullison’s direction was perfectly in time with the movie. During the more humorous parts, the music was light and punctual. When there was a major event, such as when a sailor died, the music mirrored the scene and displayed emotion that could be felt by the audience. Towards the end, as the vampire was wreaking havoc in a town, deep, slow music expressed the suspense of the moment.
The appropriate use of music gave the audience a tone and general emotion for every scene. Even though the acting was not as refined as that seen today, the movie presented a solid storyline which, when combined with the music, made for a memorable experience.