I made a stop over at my parents’ house again last Wednesday after a super fun gynecologist visit to once again take advantage of free laundry. I’ve been around there a lot lately mostly out of necessity, and as much as I don’t like making the hour-long drive, it has been nice to wash large loads of clothes for free or tackle towels and bedding without having to spend $4 to do it.
My mom was heading out drinking with her coworkers for the evening and invited me out with them, so I headed over and had some dinner and drinks with them. I’ve always enjoyed my mom’s coworkers, even when I was a teenager. They’re fun, and I don’t feel like I’m hanging out with people nearly twice my age.
On Thursday, Paul and I ventured out again to Row House Cinema in Pittsburgh, a little movie theater known for doing screenings of older movies that I’ve always wanted to check out. I usually pass on going because a lot tend to be on Thursday nights, and with Paul and I both working at 7 in the morning, we don’t like being out late–and late for us is past 9:30, our bedtime. But a former coworker he really liked, Ian, had two extra tickets to a screening of Nosferatu, with a Nosferatu beer included with admission. Paul’s been wanting to hang out with Ian since their project got scrapped and half the department got let go, and I’ve been wanting to watch Nosferatu, so it was a win-win.
Row House Cinema, first of all, is really cool. I see why so many people like it. It’s small, but it’s nice and has beer and great movie selections, like a whole Halloween series in October and V for Vendetta all day on Nov. 5. There were a lot of ads for upcoming screenings I’d really like to go to. I wish I would’ve gone sooner, and I’m definitely gonna have to suck it up in the future and go out on a work night, because it’s worth it. Besides, might as well while I can, when I’m young and childfree.
As for the movie itself, I really enjoyed it. My Netflix list has been totally out of control basically since I first got Netflix, and while I try to watch classic movies, there’s just so much out there and I have so many other things I want to do, not to mention obligations and things, that it’s tough to get to. I wish I could say I’d seen a full-length silent film before this, but alas, I had not. It’s not like I was expecting to dislike the format, but it held my attention much better than I thought it would. And in fact, some things impressed me–the picture had been restored, yeah, but I was still surprised by how crisp and clear it looked.
Nosferatu wasn’t a perfect movie–mostly, the pacing started to get a little odd as it got closer to the end–but it doesn’t feel fair to judge it too harshly when the medium was still so new. It also got a lot of laughs despite being early horror, but I’d say it was less because it was genuinely funny and more because it was a little campy, partly because of the silent format and the fact that so much is being done visually out of necessity. Facial expressions in particular were pretty entertaining, as they were often really exaggerated. I laughed at the absurdity of some things, like Nosferatu carrying a coffin through town in the middle of the day without a single person wondering what the fuck this creepy dude was doing carrying a coffin through town in the middle of the day. Or even just the general creepiness of Nosferatu just, you know, being himself.
That said, though, as funny as he was in some ways, he’s also still pretty creepy. I mean, he still looks creepy, for one, after all that makeup and special effects have brought to horror movies in the years since, and he certainly acts creepy. The story may be incredibly familiar and almost a trope now, but there’s still something that gets you about this guy creeping around a castle and eventually creeping around a town, staring across the street at the protagonist’s wife. It’s uncomfortable, even if you chuckle while it’s happening.
And of course, as a lifelong lover of horror movies, I was really glad to see such an iconic one. I quite enjoyed it, and I’d like to rewatch it one of these days now that I know what to expect. Sometimes, at least for me, movies are almost better enjoyed a second time around, when you have no expectations and can watch things unfold in a more relaxed manner.
It aged well, really. I mean, I don’t think audiences today find it very scary–except maybe for people who don’t watch much horror or scare easily–but it’s still entertaining.
I think what struck me most of all, though, was just the idea that a movie that’s nearly 100 years old is still considered a classic and hasn’t lost much of it’s luster, to the point that in 2016, it’s still being shown for Halloween and just about sold out–and with a beer named after it, too. It made me wonder what the filmmakers and cast expected when they did it and whether or not they thought it would even last this long, let alone still appeal to audiences. I think it’s something almost all artists now hope to achieve, at least on some level, but I’m not sure it’s something people thought about at the time.
So even though we got in late, Paul and I were both glad we went, and Ian seemed glad, too. We’re determined to try to do it again sometime, and I won’t lie, I’m kind of hoping Ian and his girlfriend become closer friends of ours.