The Invincible Czars bring new life (and fresh blood) to the world’s first feature-length silent Vampire movie Nosferatu (1922 FW Murnau) with a combined movie / live soundtrack experience that transports audiences back 100 years via an age-old tale accompanied by a by a chilling, tastefully-modern score featuring an impressive blend of traditional acoustic and present-day electric instruments.
Nosferatu has endured for a century inspiring countless vampire films, video games, memes, publications and more. Known for composing eclectic music and consistently performing their live film soundtracks at art house cinemas, colleges and film festivals nationwide, the Czars perform their chilling soundtrack to audiences in the US and Canada.
The live accompaniment experience marries the old-world charm of silent film with a contemporary electricity engaging multi-generational audiences. “With this centennial tour, we wanted to take a fresh look at this enduring piece of cinema,” said Josh Robins, Invincible Czars founder and bandleader. “Live accompaniment is as old as the silent film medium, but then and today, it’s usually a lone pianist or local band improvising or adapting pre-existing material. We spent a year creating this soundtrack and now we’re excited to perform it live.”
The band also hopes their show will increase awareness about independent cinemas and adventurous movie theaters that are becoming increasingly rare in the post-Covid era.
Fans, theaters, and media have consistently praised The Invincible Czars’ carefully crafted soundtracks for enhancing the movie goers experience. The band has performed for over a decade at hundreds of theatres and art houses across the US and Canada delighting audiences with an array of sonic twists and turns. The varied compositions and instrumentation adapt individually to each film the Czars score, capturing each thrilling moment and keeping audiences engaged scene by scene.
In 2021, the group ventured back into the proverbial depths of Romanian folk music and horror soundscapes to give their Nosferatu soundtrack a centennial facelift. The updated score is performed by a five member touring ensemble using violin, flute, bass clarinet, electric guitar, bass, piano, organ, glockenspiel, music box, drums, percussion, samples and loops. From delicate pianissimo passages of longing and love to menacing motifs of dissonant horror and pain, each instrument plays a critical role establishing character themes and maximizing the visceral nature of this film.
The Invincible Czars encourage fans and attendees to dress for the Halloween season and fully immerse themselves in the timeless tradition of Count Orlok.
ABOUT THE FILM:
As one of the most revered films in the history of cinema, Nosferatu is considered the most important horror film of the silent era and one of the first vampire movies — though it was almost completely lost when Bram Stoker’s widow sued the filmmakers for copyright infringement and nearly all of the film’s original prints were destroyed. Over the decades, the film has been studied, re-evaluated, and contextualized many times over, but this haunting tale’s depictions of plague, madness, and humanity are perhaps now more relevant and frightening than ever. The Czars score exponentially elevates revelations of horror, tension, humor, excitement and love inherent in this film.
Nosferatu tells the story of Hutter and Ellen, a young couple from the quaint village of Wisborg. Hutter travels to Transylvania to arrange a sale of property in Wisborg to the elusive Count Oriok. As a guest at Orlok’s castle, the naive Hutter soon learns that the Count is a vampire. The evil Orlok locks Hutter in the castle and travels to Wisborg in haste to execute his malicious plans. He soon manages to possess Hutter’s employer along with Ellen, and strikes the village with an outbreak of the plague. Hutter frees himself from the Count’s castle and rushes back to Wisborg to stop the villain before it’s too late, but will he reach Ellen in time?
ABOUT THE BAND
The Invincible Czars began making adventurous rock music in Austin clubs 2003 but they quickly branched into the arts world with their wide scope of styles, cinematic flare, mix of modern and classical instruments and their complicated relationship with heavy metal. In their early days, they inadvertently intimidated many Austin rock musicians with their requirement that every band member be able to read music. All their music is notated but these charts are hardly ever strictly observed.
Though they continue to take on a variety of projects, including their Austin-tacious re-imagining of Tchaikovsky‘s Nutcracker Suite, The Invincible Czars are probably best known for their silent film soundtracks which they perform live at cinemas, colleges and performing arts spaces all over the US and Canada.
They began accompanying silent films at the original Alamo Drafthouse in Austin in 2006 with Aelita, Queen of Mars (1922) a film the band calls “terribly boring,” admitting they fell asleep upon a first watch. They continued adding titles to their catalog year after year and expanding their performance region slowly until they were touring the entire US iby 2016. Many art house cinemas and film festivals call The Invincible Czars one of the best in the nation for silent film accompaniment. “Thank you for making this movie actually scary,” is heard at least once at every show.
The band operates as a collective with a few core members and a rotating cast of additional members on any given project or tour. They sound different from season to season and year to year. The touring ensemble for 2023 is
Phil Davidson – violin, keyboards, percussion
Skunk Manhattan – piano, keyboards, bass
Josh Robins – guitar, bass, samples, percussion
Louis Landry – drums, percussion, keyboards
Hampton Rattan – flute, clarinet
Photo by Gary R. Hook. Left to Right: Josh Robins (guitar, sound effects), Skunk Manhattan (piano), Katie O’Neil (flute), Eoghan McCloskey (drums, sound effects), Phil Davidson (violin, keyboards), Henry Q Vines (bass guitar, bass synth)
Art by Leah Lovise
“Gorgeous” – Metal Sucks
“Bizarre, haunting scores” – Kerrang!
“(The Invincible Czars’ soundtrack for Nosferatu is) a brilliantly realized wedding of contemporary musical sensibility and technology with early 20th century cinema.”
– Chico News Review
5 – Lubbock, TX – Alamo Drafthouse
6 – Albuquerque, NM – Guild Cinema
7 – Santa Fe, NM – Center for Contemporary Art
8 – Denver, CO – Alamo Drafthouse
9 – Ft. Collins, CO – Lyric Cinema
10 – SLC, UT – Salt Lake Film Society
12 – Boise, ID – Egyptian Theatre
13 – Seattle, WA – SIFF Cinema Egyptian
14 – Olympia, WA – Capitol Theatre
15 – Tacoma, WA – The Grand Cinema
16 – Vancouver, BC – Rio Theatre
18 – Eureka, CA – Eureka Theatre
19 – Sacramento – Crest Theatre
20 – Chico, CA – Pageant Theatre
21 – SF, CA – Alamo Drafthouse
22 – Oakland, CA – New Parkway
23 – Larkspur, CA – Lark Cinema
24 – Santa Ana, CA – Frida Cinema
26 – Los Angeles, CA – Alamo Drafthouse
27 – Phoenix, AZ – Majestic Tempe 7
28 – Tucson, AZ – Loft Cinema
29 – Phoenix, AX – Majestic Chandler 9
30 – El Paso, TX – Alamo Drafthouse
4 – San Antonio, TX – Alamo Drafthouse
5 – Houston, TX – Alamo Drafthouse
6 – Mobile, AL – Crescent Theater
7 – Atlanta, GA – The Springs
8 – Athens, GA – Ciné
9 – Norfolk, Va – Naro
10 – Raleigh, NC – Alamo Drafthouse
11 – DC – Alamo Drafthouse
12 – Ashburn, VA – Alamo Drafthouse
13 – Lancaster, PA – Zoetropolis
14 – Emmaus, PA – Emmaus Theatre
16 – Brooklyn, NY – Alamo Drafthouse
17 – Yonkers, NY – Alamo Drafthouse
18 – Huntington, NY – Cinema Arts
19 – Ithaca, NY – Cornell Sage Chapel
20 – Buffalo, NY – North Park Theatre
21 – Toronto, ON – Fox Theatre
22 – Kitchener, ON – Apollo Cinema
24 – Chicago, IL – Music Box Theatre
25 – Des Moines, IA – xBk
26 – Omaha, NE – Alamo Drafthouse
27 – Normal, IL – Normal Theatre
28 – Carbondale, IL – Varsity Center
29 – Tulsa, OK – Circle Cinema
30 – Dallas, TX – Texas Theatre
31 – Austin, TX – Alamo Drafthouse
11/2 – Austin, TX – AFS Cinema
11/3 – Corpus Christi, TX – Alamo Drafthouse
Seattle International Film Festival
Texas A&M University
Cleveland Institute of Art
Fort Worth Museum of of Science and History
Sam Houston State University
Discovery Green (Houston)
Alamo Drafhouse (almost every US location)
University of Hartford
North Park Theatre (Buffalo)
Little Dog Cinema (Hattiesburg, MS)
Texas Theatre (Dallas)
Adventures Underground (Comics Store)
Tower Theatre (SLC)
Loft Cinema (Tucson)
CCA Santa Fe
Pickford Film Center (Bellingham, WA)
The Athenaeum (Chicago)
Rio Theatre (Vancouver, BC)
Apollo Cinema (Kitchener, ON)
Fox Cinema (Toronto, ON)
The New Parkway (Oakland, CA)
Eureka Theatre (Eureka, CA)
Pageant Theatre (Chico, CA)
Kiggins Theatre (Vancouver, WA)
Grand Cinema (Tacoma, WA)
Crescent Theatre (Mobile, AL)
Olympia Theatre (Olympia, WA)
The Marquis (Montgomery, AL)
Lark Theatre (Larkspur, CA)
Clinton St. Theatre (Portland, OR)
etc., etc., etc!