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Pawling Library Centennial Celebrates Scary Movie Night…a Hair-Raising October Delight!

By Susan Stone

Check your calendar, because Fright Night is on the horizon and the Pawling Library Centennial Committee, in partnership with Pawling Recreation, will present a 1920s classic silent horror movie, Nosferatu, on October 16th, outdoors at Lakeside Park. Bring your blanket and lawn chairs, and bundle up for a night of chills and thrills as you are taken back to 1830s Germany and the famous knock-off of the Bram Stoker classic, Dracula. So similar was this film to the plot of Stoker’s novel that his heirs sued to have all copies of the film destroyed, even though there are some distinct differences in story and character. Ultimately, very few copies survived.

As cited in Wikipedia, the reviewing forum Rotten Tomatoes has given this film an average rating of 9.05 out of 10, with a critical consensus that reads “one of the silent era’s most influential masterpieces, Nosferatus eerie, gothic feel—and a chilling performance from Max Schreck as the vampire—set the template for the horror films that followed.”

Famed critic Roger Ebert noted, “Here is the story of Dracula before it was buried alive in clichés, jokes, TV skits, cartoons and more than 30 other films. The film is in awe of its material. It seems to really believe in vampires. Is Nosferatu scary in the modern sense? It doesn’t scare us, but it haunts us.”

Amy Emke, Co-Chair of the Centennial Committee and President of the Library board expressed real excitement for this event. “Going to the movies was extremely popular in the 1920’s. By the middle of the decade, over 50 million Americans were going to the movies every week!  For our Centennial fright night, we are giving our community an opportunity to see a scary movie the same way our library founders did a century ago, with live musical accompaniment.”

All are invited to come see director F. W. Murnau’s groundbreaking film that was banned in Sweden, until 1972, due to “excessive horror.” This program might be a bit too scary for young children, so parental discretion is suggested. Scary Movie Night opens at 7 p.m. and the film begins at 8. Rain date is October 17th.