Invincible Czars Bring New Bite To A 100-Year-Old Vampire Movie
In 1922, for the first time in history and in a moment of delicious irony, the power of bright light brought a vampire to life. F.W. Murnau’s silent film classic Nosferatu celebrates its cinematic centennial this year, and whether you’re a fan looking for another chance to see it on the big screen, a cinephile booking to do some catch-up work or simply a fan of gothic noir who is anxiously counting the days until October, the Salt Lake Film Society is giving you the chance to experience the film as you’ve never seen it before, thanks to Josh Robins and Invincible Czars.
”Being there on tour is weird because I’m working, so I don’t get to go to Dracula’s Castle at Lagoon.”
“Nosferatu is pretty much the first vampire movie,” Robins says. The German horror film tells the tale of Count Orlok (Max Schreck), a vampire who is a plague on the town of Wisborg. Invincible Czars are an instrumental, experimental rock group based in Austin Texas, where they began developing and performing original scores for existing silent film classics. The format was already gaining significant popularity at the famed Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in the late ‘’90s and early 2000s. “We were part of a second wave of that trend,” Robins says. “Our first performance with a silent film was summer of 2006, and we just kept adding more titles from there and branching further and further from home. In the early days, there were only a few Alamo Drafthouses, and as they expanded, so did we.” The eclectic sound of the band can be traced to influences ranging from Pyotr IllyichTchaikovsky and Louis Aromstrong to Frank Zappa and Danny Elfman.
Invincible Czars began touring with Nosferatu before in 2015, though between the combination of the centennial celebration, a revamped score and getting the chance to play for live audiences again after a forced break due to COVID-19 makes 2022 a tour unlike any other, as the Czars visit 49 cities across the continent. The current line up includes Robins on guitar, bass, samples and percussion, Phil Davidson on violin, keyboards and percussion, Louis Landry on both drums and keyboards and Zelda Younger playing the flute and clarinet.
Of all the cities that the Czars are visiting, Salt Lake City is inherently special to Robins, who grew up in Kaysville. “I love coming back to Utah,” Robins says.”Being there on tour is weird because I’m working, so I don’t get to go to Dracula’s Castle at Lagoon.” For Robins, the tour is also a chance to introduce Utah to new people. “Salt Lake City is increasingly more diverse than the picture most people have in their minds,” Robins says, adding that people tend to be surprised by the fact that you can actually find places to get coffee.
Nosferatu: 100 Years plays at the Salt Lake Film Society Broadway Centre Cinemas on Saturday, September 10 at 7:30 p.m., with advance tickets available at slfstix.org. Make sure to mark your calendars, because missing out on the chance to see Invincible Czars breathe new life into the silver screen’s oldest vampire would just plain suck. -Patrick Gibbs
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