Classic horror film accompanied by live musical score coming to Ottawa on October 21

The Franklin County Historical Society is bringing three fun and spooky films accompanied by live music to the Plaza Cinema Saturday, October 21 at 7 p.m.

Bill Shaffer, former producer/director at KTWU, will emcee the October 21 event, which starts at 7 p.m. The evening’s lineup includes the short films Felix Switches Witches (1927), Saturday’s Lesson (1928), and the horror film Nosferatu the Vampyre (1922).

What will make the October 21 program unique is the live musical accompaniment. Composer and theatre organist Marvin Faulwell and Topeka Symphony Orchestra percussionist Bob Keckeisen will perform Faulwell’s musical score during the program.

The eight-minute animated film Felix Switches Witches features one of Max Fleischer’s most famous creations, Felix the Cat. In Saturday’s Lesson, a 20-minute film featuring “Our Gang,” (also known as the “Little Rascals”), the gang has no intention of doing their Saturday morning chores until a spooky carnival show Devil appears and decides to teach them all an important lesson.

The evening’s main attraction is Nosferatu the Vampyre. Originally released as Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (translated from the original German), it is considered one of the greatest early examples of the horror film. Max Schreck stars as Count Orlock, a vampire with a bald head, pointy ears, fangs, deep-set eyes and long claw-like fingers—very different from how vampires are portrayed today. Orlock is interested in moving to Wisborg, and estate agent Hutter has made the journey to Orlock’s Transylvanian castle to make arrangements.

Nosferatu very nearly did not survive into the “talkie” era. Florence Stoker, the widow of Dracula author Bram Stoker, sued the producers in 1924, and a Berlin court ordered every copy of Nosferatu destroyed. Fortunately for modern movie fans, several copies had already been distributed to foreign countries and were out of Berlin’s reach.

The 92-minute film was shot on location in Transylvania.

Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased at the Plaza Cinema in person or by calling (785) 242-5555. Tickets can also be purchased online at through Friday until 11:59 p.m. The Plaza Cinema is located at 209 South Main in Ottawa, Kansas. Because of the nature of this film, it is not recommend for very young children.

This program is made possible thanks in part to a grant from the Franklin County Community Foundation.

For more information, contact the Plaza Cinema or the Old Depot Museum (part of the Franklin County Historical Society) at (785) 242-1250.

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