NOSFERATU 100 by BIG KILL: A Symphony of Horror
Destructive pop duo BIG KILL (the latest project from We Are the City’s Cayne McKenzie and Andrew Huculiak) resurrects horror centenarian Nosferatu in the gothic setting of St. Andrew’s-Wesley for a spellbinding night of hyper pop frenzy.
Tales of the undead feeding on the blood of the living go all the way back to ancient times and crop up in cultures far beyond the borders of Transylvania and Eastern Europe, appearing in South America, East Asia, New England, and olde England, for that matter.
It’s generally assumed these tales derive from the once mystifying effects of natural diseases. Tuberculosis, for example, would leave otherworldly, bloated corpses: the victims’ skin might tighten, giving the impression that teeth have extended; hair and fingernails could continue to grow, and there might be bloody spittle around the mouth. That’s a pretty fair thumbnail of cinema’s first iconic vampire, Count Orlok, aka Nosferatu (1922), played by the tall, skeletal Max Schreck* in F.W. Murnau’s hugely influential horror classic, which is celebrating its centenary this year.
The first, albeit unofficial, adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, the film differs from subsequent versions in its vivid portrait of the vampire as a ghoulish fiend, bald, with rodent-like teeth, digits and ears. He preys in the shadows and merges with the darkness. If this is a creature of the Expressionist imagination, Nosferatu stands out for Murnau’s decision to film on location in medieval Baltic towns; the horror derives its special frisson from placing the supernatural within the natural world.
It’s surely no coincidence that the movie materialized just a few years after the 1918 H1N1 influenza pandemic claimed the lives of 25-50 million souls around the world, fanning fears of immigrants and the Other. 2022 certainly feels like the right time to revive this centenarian of horror.
*Weirdly, Schreck is German for “terror.”
About the venue: St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church
St. Andrew’s-Wesley is an 89-year-old gothic revival, heritage-listed building. It is modeled on classical European cathedral designs, with a soaring vaulted roof, stained glass windows, and angel reliefs. The 75′ high ceiling makes this the largest sanctuary in the city. St. Andrew’s-Wesley is known for its inclusive, progressive social views, its support for marginalized communities, and its celebration of art as a path towards empathy and the divine. St. Andrew’s-Wesley is located on the corner of Nelson and Burrard.
Ticket + Live Audio Recording Download: $25
Please call the Box Office (604-683-3456) for VIFF Live Community Access Ticket rates.
St Andrew’s Wesley United Church
BIG KILL is a destructive pop and production duo (Cayne McKenzie and Andrew Huculiak) headquartered in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Their sound is rooted somewhere between experimental and hyperpop, moving from commercial pop to noise to drill to Eurodance. Their first mixtape BIG KILL FUTURE, released in early 2022, was described by Paper Magazine as “like a bomb going off inside a candy factory with bits of metal shrapnel embedded in globs of bubblegum and shattered lollipops.” Prior to BIG KILL, both artists collaborated in the experimental art-rock band We Are The City. This will be BIG KILL’s first live performance.