F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror closes out the Webster Film Series' "Masterworks of German Expressionism" program, probably because there is no other film that can follow it. Haunting in its beauty, Nosferatu is essentially Bram Stoker's Dracula story but with a grotesque, skeletal monster (Max Schreck as Count Orlock) in place of the charming fiend. The film has the relentless pace that was common to its era, but Murnau pauses the film for a number of still shots that take the breath away: the ship of the damned sailing rudderless on a bleak sea; a staggering upshot of Orlock flexing his claws on the deck; Lucy, helpless in her bed as Orlock's shadowy talons delve into her breast. Much of the terror comes from the shock of these slower moments, coupled with Schreck's alien, awkward movements. The chilling atmosphere of Nosferatu is made even more frigid by the live soundtrack and effects of the renowned Alloy Orchestra. Showtime is 8 p.m. at Webster University's Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; www.webster.edu/filmseries or 314-968-7487), and tickets are $5 to $6.
Sun., Nov. 2, 2008