The Original Count

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror is a legendary pioneer for horror cinema. The 1922 silent film is the oldest adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in existence. Names were changed to avoid copyright infringement, but Nosferatu was sued anyway. Nosferatu was nearly destroyed as a result, but thankfully a very early cult following saved the movie. Nosferatu is such an iconic monster that most of my generation was introduced through an episode of SpongeBob (it makes more sense with context).

Nosferatu refers to the vampire Count Orlok. Unlike the charming Count Dracula, Orlok is a terrifying creature with a bald head, sharp teeth, pointy ears, and claw-like fingernails. Nosferatu is a German production with German actor Max Schreck to thank for his creepy performance. Just like Dracula, Orlok drinks blood, sleeps in a coffin, and is repelled by sunlight. Thomas Hutter stands in for Jonathan Harker, Ellen Hutter stands in for Mina Harker, and Knock stands in for Renfield. There’s no Abraham Van Helsing apart from a minor character.

As long as you’re familiar with the original story, you’ll have an idea of how the story will play out. One primary difference is a plague element involving Orlok’s coffin being surrounded by rats. The protagonist also uses a vampire book to defend himself against his undead foe. While it can never be as scary as it once was, the gothic black & white atmosphere holds up rather well. As long as you’re not watching the colorized version. Only then will you appreciate iconic shots like Count Orlok’s shadow ascending a staircase. Nosferatu left an impact that can still be felt in horror today.

Nosferatu

Nosferatu bites

P.S. Being public domain, Iโ€™ve supplied the full movie underneath.

4 thoughts on “The Original Count

  1. The background story to the film is just as fascinating as the film itself. An interesting bit of irony is that the word Schreck, star Max’s surname, means terror in German. For a while after the film came out, rumors starting flying about that Schreck was a real life vampire from crew members stories that he didn’t wear much make-up for the role and that in between filming he would disappear for hours into the woods. I don’t watch the film much, but it holds a special place for me as it was the first Classic Horror film I introduced my best friend who loves Horror films to, and now she likes the Old School films too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Those are interesting facts. Classic horror means a lot to me too. In fact, October for me will be nothing but classic Universal monster movie reviews (there’s enough to cover all 31 days).

      Like

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