Wednesday, 31 October 2007
A Symphony of Horror
(A Fairy Story for Halloween)
It all started, as so many horror stories do, at the estate agent's. "Count Orlok from Transylvania's keen to buy some property here", said Knock. "These Counts have more money than sense - I thought that huge vacant house opposite yours would be ideal, Hutter. So I'd like you to go to his castle and sell it to him. With a bit of luck he won't want to actually look at it first!". He had a point. The property in question had been vacant for many years, and none of the walls or floors were at right angles any more.
So Hutter went off, dreaming of his comission, to see the Count. Of course, it was a long and difficult journey, and the stupid superstitious local coachman insisted on stopping well before he got to the castle. What could he know? His family had only lived there for generations. Anyway, our hero eventually got to the castle and met Count Orlok.
The Count was very generous, and gave him a good supper and a choice bottle of Claret, even though he himself explained that he never drank ... wine. Hutter, being a bit nervous about the sale, cut his finger with the breadknife. The Count was very interested in his wound. "What a nice fellow", thought Hutter.
Next morning, Hutter felt somewhat drained. A hearty breakfast had been laid out for him. The Count had explained that he would probably lie-in until sundown. When he did appear, he wanted to go over the sale brochures. Whilst looking through them the Count noticed a photo of Hutter's wife, Ellen. "Your wife has a beautiful neck!", he enthused. "Yes, I suppose she has", said Hutter, who was more of a "breast man" himself.
Anyway, the Count immediately announced that he would buy the house opposite Hutter's, and signed all the appropriate papers, since he wanted to move straight away. Hutter went to bed, but when he looked out of his window he saw that "Pickfordski", the removal people, were busy loading the Count's stuff up, all carefully packed - in coffins. These nobility chaps didn't hang around, he thought. He would have gone down to give them a hand, but for some reason the door to his room appeared to be stuck.
The next day, he was still shut in. He shouted, but there was no one around. They must have moved out and forgotten about him! By tying together all the sheets from his bed (it was lucky that they didn't have quilts in those days) he was able to escape, and start the long journey home.
Meanwhile, the Count was busy moving in across the road from Ellen. In a small town like Wisberg, a new neighbour was bound to attract attention, especially when he had arrived on a boat whose crew had all died mysteriously with funny holes in their necks, and which had also brought a load of plague-ridden vampire rats. So the Count found that he was practically a prisoner in his new home, since the locals made it clear they weren't keen on him coming out.
Meanwhile, Hutter had arrived back. He'd also realised that Count Orlok might be a vampire, and that the two holes in his neck might not be mosquito bites as he had first thought. He'd also got hold of a copy of "Vampires for Dummies", which he showed to Ellen. The only way these vile creatures could be killed was if they were forced to stay out in daylight. Hutter went off to find the local vampire expert.
However, whilst he was gone, who should appear at the window but the Count himself! He seduced Ellen with a look, and she let him in. He then indulged in some serious necking. In fact he got so carried away enjoying Ellen's charms that he totally forgot the time. When it dawned on him, he shrivelled up into nothingness.
And they all lived happily ever after. Well, except for the Count, and all his victims, and Ellen. And the rats, who all disappeared along with their evil master, and all the townsfolk who died of the plague. And Hutter wasn't best pleased with losing his wife, and Knock with losing the sale...
People are never satisfied...
Picture and story from Nosferatu, 1922, Directed by F.W. Murnau