'Nosferatu' Live Score - Sunnyside Cemetery - October 10, 2013

Categories: live review

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Greggory Moore
Balboa Amusement Company Orchestra
By: Greggory Moore
Nosferatu (with live score by the Balboa Amusement Company Orchestra)
Sunnyside Cemetery
10/10/13

I was a middle-schooler when I first saw Nosferatu. That walk along the ship's deck, those long-fingered shadows, that startling rise from the coffin--there's a reason those shots are classics. They stuck with me, even as a kid who could not hang with the lack of dialog, static framing, and melodramatic overacting.

Even in our post-MTV world, seeing F.W. Murnau's 1922 silent classic in the century-old Sunnyside Cemetery accompanied by the haunting score of the Balboa Amusement Company Orchestra could turn your average tween into a full-fledged cinephile.

In case you don't know, Nosferatu is a spare adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula. But if you want story, read the book; Nosferatu is all about imagery, atmosphere, immersing yourself in a nether region of the psyche come to horrifying life. And that life is not just black-and-white, but also chromatic washes of sepia and electric blue.

Led by Ellen Warkentine (co-creator of LOLPERA) and featuring members of Shakti Tribe, The Dovelles, MOVE, The Red River, et al., this is the Balboa Amusement Company Orchestra's second pass at live-scoring a film. The first, for this summer's screening of The Artist, was effective--particularly in its playfulness--but it never quite shook of the sense of being a pleasant experiment, a lark, swapping one score for another simply for the adventure of it all (a second-cousin to Gus Van Zandt's choice to re-shoot Psycho). But the Balboa Amusement Company Orchestra's Nosferatu--or BACON, as they like to call it--is something tastier.

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