Nosferatu (1922)

DVD Cover (Kino Video Ultimate Edition)
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Overall Rating 79%
Overall Rating
Ranked #1,513
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Connections: Dracula Nosferatu

In the town of Wisbourg, estate agent Mr. Knock is pleased to receive a commission from Count Orlok to find a house for him. He dispatches his young assistant, Hutter, to Orlok's castle in the far off Carpathians. He tells Hutter to get him to buy the vacant house just opposite Hutter's own. Hutter arrives at his destination safely and the Count is all too eager to buy the proposed property especially after he sees a photo of Hutter's pretty young wife Ellen. Hutter soon realizes the evil he's dealing with and is locked away while Orlok makes his way by ship to Wisbourg. As Orlok travels to Wisbourg, plague descends in his wake and the people of Wisbourg begin to sense the coming of evil. Hutter eventually escapes Orlok's castle determined to return home as quickly as possible but exhausted and ill, finds himself in hospital. Hutter nonetheless arrives home the same day as Orlok and the townsfolk begin to panic over the increasing number of deaths. --IMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: September 07, 2007
You've all heard the rumors -- you've all heard the legends -- and, hopefully, you've all seen the film. "Nosferatu" is a film that I analyze every year in my "The History of Horror: 1922-Present Day" lecture that I give to various college film classes. If I do say so myself -- it's an informative lecture, and "Nosferatu" takes up a large portion of that lecture because it is the most influential German Expressionist film to ever be released. The art of German Expressionism, in my opinion, was created to display politics on film without ever mentioning them. The style tells the story with the use of stark and haunting lighting, as well as music and pacing, speed and delivery. "Nosferatu" is the best of this style because its director, F.W. Murnau, was a master at invoking it.

Based on Bram Stoker's "Dracula", the filmmakers could not acquire the rights to the novel by Stoker, and therefore had to change the names of the characters involved, though this is basically the exact same story. The bizarre and terrifying Max Schreck plays Count Orlok, who inquires into purchasing more real estate and is sent a man named Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) to his estate to finalize the paperwork. Turns out Count Orlok is really a vampire, sucking the blood of the living and manipulating all animals of the world. The film is really somewhat of a twisted love story, as Count Orlok falls in love with Hutter's wife (Greta Schroder) and will do anything to possess her for his own. This film was banned in Sweden due to horror and was only allowed back into the country in 1972 -- maybe they just didn't get around to it for a while or something.

There was a film released in the 1990's called "Shadow of the Vampire", which was a 'semi-fictional' account of the making of this film, which suggested that Max Schreck, the gentleman who portrayed Count Orlok, was a real vampire and preyed on members of the cast and crew during production. This is, of course, fictional, but there has been talk for decades that Schreck was a vampire and lured into production by Murnau -- or that he took on the traits of his character to a staggering degree. One thing is for certain, there has been no actors before or since to command that kind of horror with his facial expressions and his eyes. Schreck is terrifying.

The film is also responsible for some classic sequences, as when you see nothing but Orlok's shadow taking the stairs -- classic German Expressionism at its finest. That sequence might be the standout sequence from all German Expressionist films. Then there is the sequence with Orlok rising from his casket, something that was once again used in "Bram Stoker's Dracula", by Francis Ford Coppola. This is the first influential horror film and probably the most influential horror film ever made. How many other silent films hold their ability to chill these many years later? Very few. But "Nosferatu" can and does. My suggestion is to watch this film, the remake by the great Werner Herzog and then watch "Shadow of the Vampire" for more perspective. It will give you a greater appreciation for this film and the art of German Expressionism.

Tristan #1: Tristan - added 09/07/2007, 12:28 PM
I enjoyed this one much more than Dracula. I felt it was really scary, and visually, it's just amazing. The scene where you see his leering shadow climbing the stairs, and his shadow clutches the girl's heart...ugh. I instantly fell in love. 9/10
Cryptorchild #2: Cryptorchild - added 09/07/2007, 04:29 PM
Indeed this is a great movie. I just love Nosferatu's form. The way he walks, looks...everything. Great film.
QuietMan #3: QuietMan - added 09/11/2007, 10:16 AM
Great movie when i watched it i didn't like the orignal scores so i put on a cd, and let me tell u Aphex Twin's Richard D. James Album totally goes with the movie like perfect
Wes #4: Wes - added 09/29/2008, 07:11 PM
You cannot say you are a fan of horror films unless you have seen Nosferatu. Period.
Optimus Prime #5: Optimus Prime - added 10/13/2009, 03:43 AM
I watched it basically because it's kinda one of those movies you have to see. I liked it but it will be nothing I go out of my way to watch again. I don't understand why this has to be your ticket to be a horror fan like this chap, Wes, said below. 7/10.
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