I was quite thrilled recently to finally get my hands on the ultimate 2-disc collector's edition of Nosferatu. It came out almost two years ago, but for one reason or another, I had only gotten around to snagging it now. I was looking forward to finally watching my favorite German Expressionistic horror film the way it was meant to be seen--original score, tinted frames and all. And of course, I was also looking forward to taking my kids along for the ride. Cause that's just how I roll.
My seven-year-old daughter, a budding vampire aficionado (I'm watching out for goth tendencies from now) was pretty damn psyched, and insisted we watch it together. Pretty sweet, right? Well, the catch is that she is still, after all, a seven-year-old girl, and on this particular night it just so happened that the allure of androgynous boys and painfully bad comedy on what passes for the Disney Channel these days was just too strong.
But that's what I have a son for, right?
I somehow managed to pry the boy away from his precious Nintendo Wii with the promise of monsters and mayhem. As dedicated as he is to the classic movie monsters, silent fare had proven to be a hurdle even he could not get over, what with his 21st century attention span and all. And yet, I had a feeling that the restored soundtrack and colored filters would provide just enough bells and whistles to keep his addled little brain in check.
And so, the boy, myself, and my dad sat down to enjoy F.W. Murnau's masterpiece--a trifecta of multi-generational horror fans doing what we do best. And it was indeed awesome for a time. The little dude sat in rapt attention as I melodramatically read the translated dialogue cards, and jumped at all the right moments: Count Orlock entering Hutter's room, stalking the deck of the ship, rising stiff as a board out of that coffin. That thrill that is my greatest reward every time I introduce him to a new horror flick.
But then, my poor darling girl, who must've heard us from her position upstairs soaking in the tween pablum that passes for young adult entertainment, stomped downstairs in a serious huff. The jig was up.
"You put on Nosferatu without me?" she asked incredulously, daggers in her big blue eyes...
I tried to explain to the girl that we owned this DVD and could watch it whenever we liked. That just because she didn't feel like watching it, didn't mean I couldn't. And of course, like a good daddy, that I would be happy to watch it with her from beginning to end tomorrow night. That seemed to allay some of the feelings of betrayal that had caused those tiny tears to well up.
And then it was time to put both of them to bed, which of course, led to a full-scale hissy fit on the part of the boy, who was just on the verge of witnessing Orlock making his iconic climb up the stairs to Ellen's bedroom for his final feasting.
Imagine that. A seven-year-old and a four-year-old vying passionately for the opportunity to watch Nosferatu. There may be hope for the future of America yet...
* Special thanks to BJ-C, who never seems to tire of reveling in the horrific exploits of me and my little ones... Hope you like!
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