The Best Video brought home one of his most anticipated annual events on Saturday night: Light Upon Blight live music from a horror movie, and this year’s pick – the 1932 classic. vampire – provided plenty of spooky and surreal imagery to inspire four musicians to create a soundtrack to suit the mood.
The principle of the film scores of Light Upon Blight is simple: the musicians sit in front of the screen inside the best video where the film is projected and provide musical accompaniment to a silent horror film, usually with only one or two rehearsals under their belt, thus improvising a soundtrack that draws on what they see on screen and what they hear from each other.
This year’s musicianship included band founder Jeff Cedrone on guitar and synth, Pete Riccio on drums, Lys Guillorn on lap steel guitar, and Conor Perreault on a variety of electronics, pedals and music. other items, including chimes, recorder and colander. Cedrone has led a variety of musicians in this event over the past six years through a stellar roster of classic films, including The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Haxane, Carnival of Souls, Faust, and The ghost car.
The costumes were encouraged by the invitation to the event, and many chose to participate in the effort, including Best Video Executive Director Hank Hoffman. A couple of cats and elves appeared in the room, and the group members joined in the celebration with appropriate holiday clothing and accessories. The store’s piano contained a variety of candles, as well as a photo from last year’s show of Cedrone and musician Rob Nelson, who died earlier this year. Cedrone had noted on the show’s Facebook event page that tonight’s performance was dedicated to Nelson’s memory, “a vampire lover, LUB contributor and missed friend.
Hoffman began the process by welcoming everyone “inside”, as the venue has been hosting shows on their patio for the past few months. He and Cedrone noted that this was the sixth year for this event, last year having been canceled due to Covid restrictions
The healing balm of live music continued with a slow, lush build-up of each instrument as the credits of the film of the night, Carl Theodor Dreyer vampire, originally released in 1932. The film focuses on the experiences of a certain Allan Gray, who “immersed himself in the study of devil and vampire cult,” according to the film’s prologue, which describes him also as “concerned about the superstitions of past centuries”. noting that “he has become a dreamer for whom the border between the real and the supernatural has blurred”.
Gray finds himself in a riverside inn where a mysterious stranger leaves a package – on which he wrote “open to death” – in Grey’s room. The man also pronounces the phrase “the woman must not die” and leaves. Following shadows that lead him to another mansion, Gray meets a doctor and witnesses a poison bottle exchange between the doctor and an old woman. He also sees the man who gave him the package being shot by a shadow. As he enters the house to offer help, Gray then encounters the man’s daughters, one of whom appears to be ill. He then opens the package to find a book on vampires, and thus begins his odyssey into a much darker realm than he ever imagined.
With imagery that ranged from ruthless to dreamlike, the film offered a wide range of frightening surreal and ethereal for the group to explore. Each musician offered their own interpretation of the procedure while blending into an orchestral noise-rock sound symphony. As shadows fell across the screen, Cedrone’s synth sizzled, and when the characters got more clueless, his guitar screamed when they couldn’t. Guillorn’s steel lap provided enough twang to shake your bones, and Riccio provided the heartbeat for the entire operation. Although no lyrics were sung per se, Perreault engaged in a multitude of sound effects via his own voice as well as the pedals and other objects on his table of plenty, adding a scream, scratch and an occasional bellows in the room. Audiences were held captive throughout and responded to the end of this 75 minute film with resounding applause and appreciation.
Did Gray make it out alive? Have the girls succumbed to the vampire’s curse? And what about that strange doctor and his bottle of poison? No spoilers will be provided by this reporter. Instead, here’s a quote from the book that was left with Gray called The strange story of vampires: “Because who can decipher the strange enigma of life and death? And who can penetrate the dark secrets hidden in the light of day? “