As I sit here writing this intro, the temperature outside is 47 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that autumn has officially arrived in Northern Indiana. So it’s in that spirit that we’re pleased to present the second installment of Projections of Death and Horror, an ongoing weekly column here in the month of October wherein Lörd Matzigkeitus, the creative mastermind behind The Projectionist and our favorite howling demon of a black metal vocalist, discusses some of his all-time favorite horror films. If you missed Part I about the 1978 Anthony Hopkins film Magic, you can get yourself caught up here
The Projectionist’s upcoming two-part opus Visits From the NightHag, Part 1, a Shakespearean black metal opera, will be available on Halloween. In case you missed it the first time around, check out “Act 4: What Can be Mollified in a Banshee’s Thrashing?” while you read the first installment of Lörd M’s column, and make sure to grab your preorder of Visits From the NightHag, Part 1 from Appalachian Noise Records here – they’ve already started shipping, and some of the color variants are already running low.
Leading up to All Hallows’ Eve I’m forcing my opinions on the greatest horror films of all time…. this week shall be F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu from 1922, a film that appears in the climax of The Projectionist’s new King Diamond-styled horror concept album Visits from the NightHag.
The Projectionist band itself is named after my grandfather George Howard (who is also the central character of the album…) who was, in fact, a projectionist in Germany after WWII in a town called Todendorf. I have a great and deep affection for silent horror. Besides the absolute sublime darkness and creep of these films, my affectation for them also stems from the fact that their scores were actually played on theatre organs in house. George was an avid organist, and left me his monolithic theatre organ when he died in my arms…
But I digress…this film is a masterwork of blackness that almost vanished from existence, as Bram Stoker’s estate appealed to have it wiped from history due to copyright infringement on his iconic character of Dracula. Nosferatu follows the identical story arc with names altered.
Count Orlokk is played by Max Shreck, and is still bone chilling to look upon in this role today. It is said that he would not let his cast mates see him in full make-up/attire until they shot their scenes with him, so that they were genuinely terrified when the cameras rolled. I took a cue from this when I played “Baby Eating Zombie” in the Nightterror Images movie Day Zero. I assure you when all 6’8″ 270 lbs of me smashed down the front door bellowing my mighty black metal scream, the actress behind the door was NOT acting when she screamed her bleeding head off! Glorious.
It was actually whilst watching this film that I shaved my head for the first time. I was halfway through it, thought “I could look that prime evil with a shorn dome” got up from the couch and cut off over 2′ of strawberry blonde hair while my ex-wife bawled her eyes out (who cares what you think? Haha)
Greta Schröeder is also notably beautiful here. Silent films are such a testament to the classic version of beauty I sorrowfully await the return of.
After a court ordered it destroyed, Nosferatu was salvaged by a single hidden copy in a private collection, so all the imperfections in the film we now see exist in all copies, as they are all essentially bootlegs.
Nosferatu is a perfect, dark foreboding film that will echo through the human psyche long past it’s encroaching 100 year anniversary. So go be truly terrified, watch it in the dark with red wine and bask in one of the most artful, sinister movies yet made. No CGI, no effects needed. Just the shadows of tortured souls on display.
Until next week NightHags and Warlocks,
“O-mist filled pits, dark, dank, unclear, touch all ‘fore me with frost fingered fear!!” (Cravex)