I went looking around trying to figure out what the next film in the end of July Binge-Watch would be. I was feeling in the mood for a black and white horror movie so I started looking through the catalog of the Universal Monsters, but none of those films were tripping the trigger tonight. Then, I noticed Nosferatu.
Nosferatu was an all-time classic from 1922 in Germany. It was originally an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula and wound up having to be destroyed. However, some copies survived and they became a classic. The film was eventually released in the United States in 1929.
The movie is a silent picture, meaning that the only dialogue inside the film appears on screen to be read. The version I saw had the words in German, and then translated into English at the bottom. Yet, calling this a silent movie is a misnomer because there were no moments in the film where it was silent. There was an amazing score playing constantly, helping to create the mood of the film. The subtitle of the film was actually “A Symphony of Horror.”
Probably the most significant thing that Nosferatu has going for it is a distinctly horrifying lead performance. Max Schreck played Count Orlok, the vampire known as Nosferatu (“The Bird of Death”). Schreck is as creepy as you could possibly be and the film does a tremendous job of maximizing the use of Schreck to maintain that fearsome appearance. There are a couple of iconic moments in the film that anyone familiar with vampire/horror movies would have seen. Count Orlok rising from his coffin is one such scene.
If you are a fan of horror movies or cinema at all, Nosferatu is a film that you must see. It is a film that took the medium to new heights and inspired countless filmmakers since.