Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Scary Movies, 1920s Style

        Did you know that President Wilson had his own personal home movie theater and that he and his wife Edith frequently viewed films before they hit the box offices?. It’s true. When recuperating from the debilitating stroke he suffered in the White House in 1919, Wilson would watch films nearly every day, often at 11 o’clock in the morning. According to Wilson’s Private Secretary, Joseph Patrick Tumulty, he enjoyed them all—dramas, westerns, adventures, romances, comedies…you name it.

        Since it’s Halloween this week, we thought we’d share a horror flick. At this time of year most people are pulling out of their collections of old scary movies and watching the marathon horror movie series on TV. The vampire craze has had a renaissance with the emergence of movies and TV shows such as Twilight and True Blood (HBO). Looking through the history of the film industry, it’s hard to find a time when vampire madness has not been at the forefront of popular culture. In particular two early silent films pioneered the movement that has evolved to what we now know today. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) and Nosferatu (1922), both set the standard convention that is still identifiable in today’s Scary movies. Nosferatu was the very first “vampire movie” depicting the story of Dracula, renamed Count Orlok in the film. Watch a clip from this classic horror flick here.

        Warning: This film can still give you nightmares today, nearly 100 years after it was made. Who knows, maybe it even gave President Wilson goosebumps!

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