Logline: The vampire Count Orlok targets a man’s wife.
One of the earliest adaptations of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu is my favorite vampire film. Featuring the remarkable Max Schreck as Count Orlok, expressionistic cinematography, and some stunning visual compositions, Nosferatu has endured the test of time and remains one of the most influential horror films of all time.
Nosferatu was the first and only film produced by the German film studio Prana. The company declared bankruptcy in order to avoid copyright infringement suits from Bram Stoker’s widow for adapting her dead husband’s novel without permission. The name Orlok replaces Dracula. Schreck looks great as the vampire and his movements are perfect. The film Shadow of the Vampire (2000) suggests that Schreck was an actual vampire in its fictional depiction of the filming of Nosferatu.
Nosferatu is a great example of German Expressionism in the cinema. This film movement sought to convey the inner struggles of characters through the use of sharp, distorted sets and camera angles, shadow, and contrasts between light and dark. The use of shadow in Nosferatu is particularly effective.
Nosferatu was a breakthrough hit for German film director F.W. Murnau. Murnau was one of the most visionary filmmakers of the silent era, helming such classics as The Last Laugh (1924) and Sunrise (1927). His life was sadly cut short by an auto accident in 1931. Nosferatu is the film for which Murnau is most remembered. It is a highly influential horror film with an unforgettable performance from Max Schreck. Nosferatu remains an effective chiller from an excellent filmmaker.
Rating (out of ****): ***1/2