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Thursday, October 4, 2012

October 4- Nosferatu (1922)

Max Schreck as Count Orlok
     Today, we're going to be stepping back a bit into the silent era of the 1920's with the German Expressionist film Nosferatu, also known as Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horrors. Originally supposed to be titled Dracula, this is considered to be an illegal adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel, as the studio was unable to obtain the rights to the story itself from Bram Stoker's widow. So, to save face and avoid a lawsuit, director F.W. Murnau changed the name of the vampire from Count Dracula to Count Orlok, even though all prints of the film I've seen still use Dracula as the character's name, as well as all the characters from the novel including Renfield, Jonathan Harker, Nina, and Van Helsing. Also, the story is virtually identical to what's in the novel and what would be made into 1931's Dracula.

Orlok, played by Max Schreck, is definitely the one that steals the show. He is very creepy, even by today's standards, but must have been terrifying in 1922. His pointy ears, disfigured face, and long bony fingers just make him a memorable character for anyone who's seen this movie. Two memorable scenes that I can think of are when Orlok makes his way through a doorway in the castle that is barely large enough to fit his figure and the scene where Orlok is sneaking up the stairs and all you see is his shadow.

Orlok's shadow, creeping up the stairs
Barely fitting through the doorway.
Another aspect of the film that I really enjoyed was the background music, which sounds like an organ the entire movie. The notes and melodies just add a tone of creepiness and discord to an already creepy film. For anyone interested in watching this movie, it is in the public domain, so feel free to look it up on the internet or you can watch it right here. I highly recommend this film, it's scarier than you think. 

Here's a link to a higher quality version on YouTube:

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