NORTH ADAMS -- Can George A. Romero's classic 1968 zombie film "Night of the Living Dead" be just as scary without the taunting lines "They're coming to get you, Barbara!," or the moans of the undead?
Local Romero fans and zombie aficionados will have the chance to find out Friday night, when the Andrew Alden Ensemble performs an original score to the silenced film at the North Adams Movieplex at 8 p.m.
The group will also play a live original score to the 1922 German horror classic, "Nosferatu," at the cinema on Saturday at 8 p.m.
"For people who really love ‘Night of the Living Dead,' it can be a little jarring at first to see the film as a silent film with subtitles," Andrew Alden, a Northern Berkshire native, said Wednesday during a telephone interview. "Everyone I've talked to after one of our showings says that it's weird at first, but then they completely love it."
The live scores aren't based on the original soundtracks, but are "eclectic" blends of modern chamber music, rock and jazz, he said.
"My influences are jazz, canned 1960s cinema music, John Coltrane, The Velvet Underground and a lot of music that I was exposed to while working at Toonerville Trolley during high school," he said. "All the things I listened to [at Toonerville Trolley in Williamstown] still resonate with me. The work is an amalgamation of those influences and modern classical music."
Alden, who attended Williamstown's Pine Cobble School, said he wrote the score for "Night of the Living Dead" during his winter break at Berklee College of Music in 2011.
"I had put together my own chamber music group and had started thinking about writing cinematic music," he said. "When I began thinking about a movie I could write music to, I thought of ‘Night of the Living Dead' because it's in the public domain. I sat down and began writing it and in January 2012, we began playing it."
Originally the ensemble began with nine members, but over the last year that number has dwindled down to four core members: Alden, who plays keyboard and percussion; Andy Cantu, who plays drums and percussion; Beltran Del Campo, on violin and viola and Nat Saralamba on electric guitar.
"We began adding other silent movies, like ‘Nosferatu,' ‘The Lost World' and ‘The Phantom of the Opera' to our list. Then in the fall, we began talking about seeing how far we could go with [performing live scores]," Alden said. "We've been touring since the last week of January."
The group's tour schedule has taken them across the country, with performances as far west as Illinois and as far south as Tennessee. On Wednesday, the group was on its way to play at The Pavilion Theater in Brooklyn, N.Y.
"I've wanted to play in North Adams for a while, but Mass MoCA has such a long waiting list," he said. "I actually saw the Alloy Orchestra perform their live score for ‘Nosferatu' at Mass MoCA. Having lived in the area, I knew of the movie theater when it was located near the Adams town line. I reached out to them to see if they'd be interested."
North Adams Movieplex Manager Scott Ingalls said his interest was peaked when he received an email from Alden.
"We're constantly trying to mix it up and offer a little bit of something for everyone," Ingalls said Wednesday. "There's already a buzz up at the college about these two shows."
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, email