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The silent film classic “Nosferatu” gets the musical treatment with live performance

The Invincible Czars, from left: Josh Robins, Skunk Manhattan, Katie O’Neil, Eoghan McCloskey, Phil Davidson and Henry Q Vines will be performing two shows in New Mexico. (Courtesy of Gary R Hook)

In 1922 “Nosferatu” hit the big screen.

Over the course of 100 years, the film became one of the most important horror films of the silent era and one of the first vampire films.

Austin, Texas-based band The Invincible Czars are celebrating the anniversary with a new soundtrack to the film.

The tour will make stops at the Guild Cinema in Albuquerque on Tuesday, September 6th and the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe on Wednesday, September 7th. At the performances, The Invincible Czars play their soundtrack while the audience sings “Nosferatu .”

“We’re trying to prepare for a tour of this size and it’s a lot of work,” says Josh Robins, a member of the band. “We haven’t been touring that much. This will be our biggest tour in about two years. We were supposed to be performing in Albuquerque in 2020, but that went by pretty quickly.”

Robins began booking the tour in December 2021 with hopes that live performances could still move forward.

“We decided to do our tour in a big fall tour,” says Robins. “It was definitely a journey with this one.”

“Nosferatu” tells the story of Hutter and Ellen, a married couple from the village of Wisborg. Hutter travels to Transylvania to sell a property in Wisborg to Count Orlok. Hutter stays in Orlok’s castle only to learn that the Count is a vampire. Orlok buys a house next to Hutter, locks Hutter in the castle and travels to Wisborg. Along the way, he manages to possess Hutter’s employer and Ellen, and strikes the village with an outbreak of the plague. Hutter rushes home to stop him before it’s too late.

Artist Leah Lovise has created the centenary poster “Nosferatu” for The Invincible Czars. (Courtesy of Leah Lovise)

Since the film is silent, The Invincible Czars use a mix of violin, glockenspiel, organ, flute, bass clarinet, voices and vocals, music box, loops, electric guitar, bass, piano and percussion.

Phil Davidson says the band updated their show for the film’s centenary.

They also added a player.

“We’ve never played with a drummer,” says Davidson. “Having five guys is a big, obvious difference. The music in the score has also changed. We released an EP for the score in 2015. Very little of that music made it onto the 2022 score. We’ve changed a lot of the music over the seven years, so the music is written by us in the band.”

Robins and Davidson say the band has had to make a switch during the pandemic, which has helped them record better at home.

“Like everyone else, we created through Zoom and strived to keep moving forward,” says Robins. “The great thing about what we’re doing with this is bringing our love of music and film together. It’s always a great night for the audience.”

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