Silent Scares Tonight

(Above: Lon Chaney in ‘The Phantom of the Opera.’)

Comet TV, the free channel featuring science fiction and cult favorites, is serving up silent scares for Halloween.

Tonight, Comet will show three legendary silent horror films in a “Hushaween” programming block.

Nosferatu (10 pm ET/PT)

A frequently cited example of the German Expressionism movement in cinema, Nosferatu (1922) stars Max Schreck as Count Orlok, who invites Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) to his remote Transylvanian castle. It seems the creepy Orlok wants to buy a house near Hutter and his wife, Ellen (Greta Schroeder). When Hutter learns Orlok is a vampire, he tries to escape to save Ellen. Meanwhile Orlok’s servant, Knock (Alexander Granach), prepares for his boss’s arrival at his new digs.

F.W. Murnau, who directed Nosferatu, later moved to Hollywood where he made the silent classic Sunrise (1927).

In the 2000 film, Shadow of the Vampire, Willem Dafoe plays Schreck in a fictional behind-the-scenes imagining of Nosferatu’s production. Dafoe’s Schreck is so method-acted that the cast and crew wonder if he’s the real deal.

You can watch Shadow of the Vampire for free, with ads, on Vudu; or rent it commercial-free starting at $3.99 from Vudu and other providers.

You can also watch Nosferatu here in its entirety:

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (12 am ET/PT)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) is considered the first German expressionist film. Francis (Friedrich Feher) and his friend Alan (Rudolf Lettinger) encounter Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss) at a carnival. Dr. Caligari is showcasing somnambulist Cesare (Conrad Veidt), a hypnotized man who the doctor claims can see into the future. Cesare stirs the pot when he predicts Alan’s death. By morning, Alan is dead, and Cesare is the prime suspect. But who is responsible – Cesare or Dr. Caligari?

(Trivia: Conrad Veidt’s next-to-last film role was as Major Heinrich Strasser in Casablanca.)

You can also watch the film here:

The Phantom of the Opera (1:30 am ET/PT)

The Man of a Thousand Faces, Lon Chaney, plays Erik, aka the Phantom, a masked admirer determined to make an aspiring young opera singer Christine Daaé (Mary Philbin) a star. The Phantom, who lurks in the bowels of the Paris Opera House, threatens to stop at nothing to make this happen, even if it means sawing off a chandelier or two.

The 1925 film features one of the earliest uses of Technicolor in the masked ball scene. You can watch the entire film here:

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About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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