Friday, October 22, 2010

31 Nights of Horror - Night Twenty-Two: Nosferatu (1922)


F.W. Murnau's classic masterpiece, Nosferatu, is my absolute favorite vampire film ever created. I watched the film when I was in high school and immediately took to the beauty of its dark landscapes.

The film is an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic novel, Dracula...because the studio could not obtain rights to the novel so, they had to call the film Nosferatu and Count Dracula became Count Orlok. Sometimes legends are born in unconventional ways...and this film is pure legend that has stood the test of time and will continue to endure as a vampiric masterpiece.


Speaking of Count Orlok, Max Schreck gives a performance for the ages in this silent film. His mannerisms and total devotion to the role as the cursed vampire has gone on to become the standard in horror film. To this day, it stands as such a rich performance because of its base in silence. The acting is all organic and the fright is delivered in a much more spiritual way.

Klaus Kinski's performance in the 1979 homage called Nosferatu The Vampyre, directed by Werner Herzog, comes close to Schreck's with his disturbing details in the role. It was said that Schreck was difficult to work with and that he immersed himself completely in the role of the vampire...as chronicled in a more fantastical way by the 2000 film called Shadow of the Vampire. Perhaps Schreck was indeed a vampire.


The film is basically a loose retelling of the Dracula classic. Count Orlok has "Mina" under his spell and it is up to "Harker" and "Van Helsing" to save the day. Although it has most of the important elements of Stoker's story....it is the retelling in such a creepy organic way that makes it seem a bit more terrifying.

Nosferatu is an old school classic that is timeless in its story and beautiful in its portrayal. If you wanna check it out try to seek out the restored version with the new symphony production. It's a much more crisp version with nice tints and the music is so dark and powerful it makes for a memorable experience. One that is sure to set the tone for a frightening Halloween season.


5 out of 5

Thanks for reading,




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