Let’s take a trip in the way-back machine to a time of cinema inception. The glory days of simplicity yet profound storytelling await us. The “talkies,” you say? But of course. I’ve always been interested in the arts of storytelling. Wait, what am I watching? Who is that pale figure, and what is he doing to our dear Ellen. No, no…cry out, Ellen! Somebody come quickly!
Okay, so technically, “Nosferatu” is a silent film, but you totally get what I mean. One of my favorite things to do as an adult is revisit movies I haven’t seen for many years. I especially love returning to these classics, the films that started it all for me.
As a little girl with a box television that sat up against the wall in our tiny living room, we were entertained with free and public television. Sometimes it was a Spanish-dubbed American movie or an old black and white flick. While the former was hilarious (it’s just funny hearing a dubbed voice when you know what it’s supposed to sound like), the latter fascinated me.
I’m the type of person who puts myself into others’ situations to feel what they’re going through, including experiencing many older films. It can seem a little silly and maybe even a bit dramatic compared to today’s entertainment. However, try to imagine what the experience was decades ago. Movies weren’t produced so easily, and theatres weren’t always accessible. Being able to see the ghost stories being played out or the monsters you only imagined or dreamt of before you.
That’s how I choose to watch these movies. I view them through the lens of a newcomer to the cinema. If you haven’t had a chance to, or it’s been a while, why not give it a try. Here are three movies to get you started. All are available for free, as they’re public domain. You can also find them for rent or sale if you wish.
Might as well start with this one, right. It’s one of my favorites because it’s the movie that started the “sunlight bad” trope and because Max Schreck’s depiction of Count Orlock is both haunting and amusing.
The movie is based on one of my favorite short stories. Richard Connell’s story about man hunting man hits on the horror that troubles me most – people being the real evil in the world. While not an exact re-telling of the short story, the movie will still pull you in and give you chills.
It’s a little bit older than the other two. However, it’s still an excellent example of the experimentation of creating a good ghost story on-screen. It’s such a hauntingly beautiful story of grief and depression plaguing the movie’s lead, Mary, after a horrible accident. One of my favorite elements of this movie is the music chosen to play throughout. It adds to the feelings of anxiousness that you can’t quite shake. When you watch, you can definitely see this movie’s influence on George Romero.