A Vampire Visited Upon Wiveliscombe

A horror film is not the standard Sunday afternoon matinée, but neither is it typical to have the composer of the musical score perform live for the audience.

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror is a silent film first screened in 1922. Adapting the story of Dracula, but without the permission of Bram Stoker’s heirs, all copies of the film were meant to be destroyed after court rulings for copyright infringement. But a few prints were saved and the film is now regarded as an influential masterpiece of the horror genre.

The film tells of a young Wisborg estate agent, Thomas Hutter, who is sent to Transylvania to meet Count Orlok, a wealthy investor interested in acquring a property in the town. En route Hutter picks up a book about vampires which, following events at Orlok’s mountain castle, leads Hutter to suspect Orlok to be a vampire. When Hutter finds Orlok asleep in a coffin he makes his escape. At the same time Orlok sets forth for his new property in Wisborg, taking with him rats and the plague which overtake the town. Hutter returns home to his wife who has been spellbound from afar by Orlok. She finds Hutter’s vampire book and decides to offer herself to Orlok who, in the process of drinking her blood, is caught by the rising sun and vanishes in a puff of smoke.

The original music score was performed by an entire orchestra at the film’s premiere in Berlin but most of it was subseqently lost. Consequently the film offers contemporary composers endless opportunity for adaptations and interpretations. Chris Green’s score was commissioned by English Heritage for a live outdoor screening of the film at Dracula’s spiritual home of Whitby Abbey (unfortunately cancelled due to our own version of the plague in 2020). The music is a haunting blend of electronic and acoustic instruments including guitar, lute(?) and accordian played live by the composer.

Before Nosferatu we were treated to the wonderful short: “The Uncooperative Ghost”, filmed at the Town Hall in 2017 by Britton and Moore. Find it elsewhere on our website!

Before Nosferatu we were treated to the wonderful short: “The Uncooperative Ghost”, filmed at the Town Hall in 2017. Devised and written by Chris Britton and Philip Moore The Uncooperative Ghost is a site specific film, sound and performance installation which explores the reasons for Wiveliscombe Town Hall being boarded up for 57 years. Two science aficionados Mr Britton and Mr Moore investigate the possibility that the inexplicable inconvenience is caused by an Uncooperative Ghost. Find it elsewhere on our website!

The screening saw the Town Hall once again almost full to capacity, proving local demand for exceptional productions. We hope to have more!