Poster design by Albin Grau.

Friedrich Murnau’s Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror (1922) isn’t the first horror film but it’s certainly the first truly effective one which is why it’s been so influential over the years, inspiring a remake by Werner Herzog (1979), the vampire’s appearance in Salem’s Lot (1979), Coppola’s Dracula (1992), and a fictionalised account of its creation in Shadow of the Vampire (2000).

The Internet Archive have a copy available as a free download. If you’ve never seen it then this is your chance since silent films rarely turn up on TV. Many early films exist in multiple versions due to the vagaries of film storage (different cuts, decaying prints, etc). Nosferatu was nearly destroyed altogether after a successful lawsuit by Bram Stoker’s widow, Florence, which means that all the prints are in a less than satisfactory condition. My own favourite is the BFI edition (which DVD now seems to be deleted), taken from the definitive “Bologna” restoration, with scenes tinted throughout (as silent films often were) and with a tremendous new score by Hammer composer James Bernard.

Murnau went on to make better films but Nosferatu retains an uncanny power owing to the rare combination of the director’s technical brilliance and Albin Grau’s fabulous vampire design, worlds away from Stoker’s sinister aristocrat. This is the place where cinema showed it could fully compete with horror fiction by summoning its own archetypes from the recesses of the imagination.

Wasted Talent: A Scanner Darkly

scanner.jpgWasted talent

John Patterson
Friday July 14, 2006
The Guardian

If you’re making a serious movie about drugs, it doesn’t hurt to assemble a cast that knows whereof it collectively speaks. And for his adaptation of A Scanner Darkly, Philip K Dick’s unsettling 1977 masterpiece about drugs, fractured identity, paranoia and betrayal, Richard Linklater has found a quartet that runs the full gamut of the drug experience. You’ve got Keanu Reeves – who for all we know has never even smoked a single joint, but whose name is a byword for stoner inarticulacy – playing Dick’s addict- cum-narcotics-detective Bob Arctor. As Arctor’s dealer-addict paramour Donna, we have Winona Ryder, all grown up since her apparently pill-induced moment of shoplifting madness. Hemp activist Woody Harrelson plays one of Arctor’s drug-addled housemates, while the other is played by no less august an imbiber of chemicals and sacred roots than Robert Downey Jr, who has what one might call an embarrassment of riches in this field.


The Museum of Fantastic Specimens


Hajime Emoto creates very convincing imaginary creatures, all with a slightly desiccated appearance, that range from the strikingly demonic (like the example above) to more mundane fish, amphibians and plant life. Site is Japanese-only but that don’t let that prevent you from browsing.

Via The Nonist.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The fantastic art archive

Atta Kim: On-Air


New York Series, 57th Street, 8 Hours (2005).

Atta Kim: On-Air
International Center of Photography
1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street, New York
June 9 through August 27, 2006

This exhibition presents a selection of recent works from the ON-AIR Project by the Korean contemporary artist Atta Kim (born 1956). For these large-scale, visually spectacular color photographs, Kim employed extended exposures—sometimes as long as eight hours——to explore fundamental questions of time and perception. Using such varied subjects as parliamentary sessions, soccer games, outdoor military exercises, and erotic unions, Kim suggests that it is possible for us to perceive the passage of time in radically different ways.


The Sex Series, 1 Hour (2003).