Nosferatu Lives: Kickstarter
Nosferatu Lives Again...with your help on Kickstarter
By Diane Shreve
What do vampires, Doug Jones, black-and-white cinema, and modern green screen technology all have in common? The answer is Nosferatu - a new visual remix of the classic German Expressionist 1922 black-and-white silent horror film.
The original film, Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, was an unauthorized adaption of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. It was directed by F.W. Murnau and starred Max Schreck as the world's first-ever vampire, Count Orlok. It remains to this day as a cinematic masterpiece and is one of the highest rated horror films of all time, acting as a cornerstone of the genre. The lingering imagery of Schreck's foreboding Orlock is enough to make chills scatter down anyone's spine.
Now Nosferatu is being resurrected from the shadows. Writer, director, and editor David Lee Fisher has garnered a team of creative individuals who are all collaborating to recreate the 1922 film in a rather groundbreaking manner. No, it's not exactly a remake - it's more of an extremely elaborate way to pay homage. The idea is to bring this classic horror film back to life with a unique look and feel to present to a modern audience while still honoring the masters of old. It is a project of passion for a small crew of talented people - not a big budget Hollywood studio looking for a cash cow remake.
The fundamentals of how it is done are such: using modern technology, the vintage prints are scanned and the backgrounds and sets are digitally captured. Then, new actors and actresses in slightly updated makeup and costumes are filmed entirely on a green screen. The shots are then superimposed over Murnau's backgrounds and sets, immediately throwing the cast back in time. Aside from a few exceptions, the talent are interacting directly with the original sets. For example, if you see someone running down a flight of stairs, or settling themselves down upon a chair, you're witnessing the perfect combination of past meets present - again, all thanks to the magic of contemporary technological advances.
Welcoming a new cast isn't the only change, though. The film will now also feature a robust script. The storyline and characters will still be in tune to the spirit of the original, but the plot overall will be fleshed out with the possibility of new scenes being added. Likewise, the film will be shot in color, but in a muted, desaturated tone to maintain the grittier look of the original. Highlighted also is a whole new score by Eban Schletter who has already begun composing the soundtrack.
The question of who should play the infamous blood-sucking Transylvanian has already been answered: famed actor Doug Jones has been cast in the leading role. Don't fret if his name alone doesn't ring a bell - you have likely seen at least one of his performances. While Jones has acted in hundreds of film and television projects over the last few decades, he is best known for his work as Abe Sapien in the Hellboy movies, as both El Fauno (AKA Pan) and the Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth, as the Silver Surfer in Rise Of The Silver Surfer, and as Billy Butcherson in the Halloween cult classic Hocus Pocus. He can also been seen currently as Cochise on TNT's sci-fi drama series Falling Skies.
Jones has many years of experience working under complex prosthetic makeup create memorable, haunting, and enchanting characters. With a tall and lithe frame, Jones not only looks the part, but his talents and extensive background make him perfect for the role, and is possibly the only man alive who could truly do Orlok justice. He is a shoe-in for the role in another aspect, too: it is literally his dream role. Jones' Orlok makeup has already been designed by award-winning special effects artist and designer Mike Elizalde of Spectral Motions who has worked with Jones for over twelve years.
If you think this whole process sounds strange and impossible, it’s not - David Lee Fisher has done it once before with another silent horror masterpiece from 1920, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. In 2005 Fisher premiered his ‘remixed’ version (created using the exact same tactics as described above) at the Screamfest Film Festival where it won Audience Choice Award, Best Cinematography, and Best Special Effects. Many individuals from the Caligari crew are returning for Nosferatu. It should be noted that the technology used to make Caligari has improved drastically in the last decade, allowing for Nosferatu to implement a multitude of new tricks and tools.
However, since Nosferatu is indeed an independent project, it simply cannot happen without help from people such as yourself. Nosferatu is currently on KickStarter at http://thevampirelives.com, and every donation is crucial to making the film become a reality. The goal is to raise a minimum of $60,000 by December 3rd. The ingenuity of Kickstarter allows for anyone to become a part of the filmmaking process and have a helping hand, and contributors are greatly awarded for their generosity. No matter what your budget is, there's a little special something for everyone. Donors can be awarded copies of the script, DVDs, posters, buttons, sculptures, t-shirts, and behind-the-scenes footage. For those with a little more cash, you can even attend the premiere, visit the set, or become an associate or executive producer. Any and all donations are very much appreciated by everyone involved with Nosferatu.
To obtain more specifics about the film, keep in the loop of things, and to watch videos and interviews with some of the cast and crew, please dive into the following links: