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The legendary vampire film, over three quarters of a century old and
still worth watching. Say that about yourself when seventy-seven you
are, as Yoda would put it. It's also hosted by David Carradine, he
provides a short opening piece which seems blue screened for some
For those of you who were raised by wolves and haven't seen this film before, the plot follows. Knock receives a letter from Orlok. The Count wishes to buy a home in Bremen, he quickly dispatches his assistant Hutter with the necessary contracts. Thomas arrives in Transylvannia to find the Count is a frightening visage, though he first chalks up the strange happenings as bad dreams. Too late he realizes that Orlok is a vampire and the monster wants Ellen (after seeing her picture in a locket).
The vampire's earth filled coffins are loaded on the ship Demeter; en route across the seas crew die one by one as he drains their life. Meanwhile, Thomas struggles to reach Ellen by land, arriving after the crewless Demeter docks. With Nosferatu's coming a plague falls upon the city, it is only when Ellen sacrifices herself that evil is banished.
This version is remastered and includes the most enjoyable soundtrack I've seen it put to yet. Type O Negative's metal/Gothic songs rarely seem out of place and then only for moments. The film itself is a masterpiece, with a tidy plot and excellent makeup for Nosferatu.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
That old silent film is of course a classic. It comes from the German
school of horror films in the 1920s. It is an adaptation of Bram
Stoker's Dracula, but it takes liberties with the original. It is
situated in Bremen and not in London. His girlfriend or wife is quite
rightly Mina. Rensfield is the boss of the real estate agency. The trip
to Dracula's castle is standard. Dracula's voyage to Bremen is also
very standard. The real change comes at the end when Mina sacrifices
herself by giving herself to Dracula to keep him active up to after the
cock crows. Then he dies and everyone is saved. Naive rewriting of the
ending into some palatable cathartic compensation of the horror of life
: salvation is possible and escape is a real eventuality. But it is
also a very Christian ending in a way, or isn't it Jewish after all ?
The woman sacrificing herself for the sake of the social group that is
menaced by Dracula. And this sacrifice is epiphanic since it brings
salvation. This fantastic and horror period in the German cinema seems
to be longing for a happy ending, just as if the reality of Germany
then was so bleak that happiness could only be a dream and a
consolation or a solace the cinema could propose to people. The film
though is admirable by the quality of the pictures and the shooting. A
black and white film on such a subject could easily become drab, which
it never does. The pictures are always innovative in a way or another
with a contrast or a composition that makes the poor technique of the
days quite able to translate complex situations. The acting of these
silent actors is also quite admirable in the body language they use
that is never overdone which would make it grotesque. It is just
expressive enough to mean what it is supposed to mean without any
negative second level reading.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University of Paris Dauphine & University of Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne
Nosferatu, the famous German version of Bram Stoker's Dracula is
something of a disappointment. Visually, it's nothing compared to
expressionist masterpieces like Caligari or Metropolis. I understand
that actual Eastern European locations and buildings were used instead
of sets. That was a mistake. You just have to look at the beauty of
Lugosi's castle in the 1931 English version of the Bram Stoker novel to
see why. There is no reason why Nosferatu - given the expressionist
abilities of the Germans - could not have been even more beautiful than
Also, the pacing feels quite sluggish for a 94 minute long movie. The only exceptional thing for me was Max Schreck as a truly vile Count Orlock. He is physically repulsive and looks like a monster. He has none of the campiness of Lugosi or the physical power of a Christopher Lee - just a menacing, detestable, sickly creature. There is an excellent movie called The Shadow of the Vampire starring Willem Dafoe as Schreck. Its a fictional movie but much more watchable than Nosferatu. I actually wasted time watching this because of Shadow of the Vampire and my liking for Caligari and Metropolis. This isn't even remotely as good.
Director: F.W. Murnau, Script: Henrik Galeen, Novel: Bram Stoker, Cast:
Max Schreck(Orlok), Gustav von Waggenheim(Johannes), Greta
This is the ultimate vampire movie. Easily superior to the Tod Browning, Bela Lugosi version done in 1931. This has long been a favorite early horror film among fans. Murnau had difficulty producing this film due to resistance from Bram Stoker's widow. To get around this, all the character names where changed.
This film is set in 1800's Germany. Johannes, a real estate man, has to leave his wife, Ellen, for a while to travel to Transylvania to sell a flat to Orlock. Orlock, of course, is the vampire and the place that he is to selling to Orlock is across the street from Johannes's place. When Orlock arrives in Bremen, their town, a plague is brought among the village. The journey that Johannes takes to get there is amazing. We are taken through beautiful country with the alps in the background. When he gets close to Orlok's, he comes to a bridge and his ride stop's there. The driver of the carriage will not go across the bridge to "the land of the phantoms". The bridge represents a change from normalcy to an eerie otherworld.
This movie even by todays standards has some rather creepy moments. Orlock has a rat-like face with big front teeth and big ears. He is easily the creepiest Dracula. There is a scene where it is nighttime and Ellen gets out of bed and goes to the window to find this shadow of a figure starring into her apartment from his window across the street--very creepy. Max Schreck had such a strange persona that it was rumoured that he was a real vampire. Who am I to dispute this! He sure was convincing. This film is a fine example of the German expressionistic films that where made between the two wars. If you have no horror films from the silent era and are interested in acquiring some, this is the best place to start. Murnau and Fritz Lang was among the two best German directors of this time.
This is the single-most disturbingly atmospheric Vampyre film of the
lot. No matter how good effects get, no matter what our technologies,
no matter the brilliance of our actors, this movie will always be the
best Vampyre flick of all time.
Rumors have always run rampant among history buffs, and fans alike. Max Schreck was "supposed" to have been an actual Vampyre. But both dis-spellers of such rumors, and fans of it, have pointed out one seemingly show-stopping point; that you're not supposed to be able to photograph or view reflections of Vampyres. Even with that stumbling block, the rumors persist.
But what if the modern liberties taken recently by so many directors were already in place, hundreds of years ago? What if a Vampyre's inability to tolerate sunlight, fear of crosses, or weakness to garlic, WERE the myth? And what's left is this (rather large, I dare say) community of Beings of legend? And let's face it: a stake through the heart would kill ANYbody.
This is a haunting film, if only you believe.
It rates a 9.8/10 from...
the Fiend :.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I consider `Shadow of the Vampire' one of the most intelligent films ever made. Herzog's remake of this is even interesting if terminally flawed (as Herzog himself gets bitten).
And this has some intensity to it. One can readily imagine it set in its time as a masterpiece of true horror. But transporting ones vision back eighty years strains all the visceral pleasures away. Either way, this is pretty lame stuff now. Everyone should watch it - not for enjoyment but as a foundation for fuller realization of what followed.
The one interesting thing here for me was the historical splinter of true magic: the Bulwer character. I think he is original to this version. He is based on the famous novelist Bulwer Lytton (influence of Henry Irving who Stoker managed), who cofounded a `magickal` society based on stuff derived from cabala and celtic mysticism. This stuff was pretty potent in terms of its evil side and is the true incubator of the vampire myths.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
Nosferatu is a pretty good silent film, but I don't think it has aged as
well as other silent films. Some of the cinematic techniques haven't aged
well - I'm particularly thinking of the scene where Nosferatu stocks his
wagon, getting ready to leave. The film is speeded up, a technique which is
associated more with silent comedies, especially of the Keystone variety, so
it made me laugh. I also laughed at the line: "Your wife has a beautiful
However, Max Schreck has to be the best vampire I've ever seen. I saw this film about five months ago in preparation to see Shadow of the Vampire, which I had heard about when it was at Cannes.
So, although I don't think it has aged well, Nosferatu is certainly worth watching, if only for Schreck, who more or less steals the entire film anyway.
"Nosferatu" is a horror movie which was an unauthorized adaptation of
Bram Stoker's "Dracula" with some changes because of rights, so they
changed the names and from "vampire" became "Nosferatu" and "Count
Dracula" became "Count Orlok". But the plot and also the storyline is
about the same as we know it nowadays.
I have to admit that even though this is an old movie I liked it because it is considered one of the must see horror movies in order to understand the history of horror. This movie maybe is considered as a just old horror movie that can not give you anything but I have to disagree with this opinion and for instance I have to say that this movie can give you a lot. Some of them are that this movie was the idea of vampires to be killed by sunlight and of course this movie was the start of horror movies in that times.
Finally I believe that "Nosferatu" is a movie that everyone has to watch because through this you can have a historic lesson about cinema and of course horror. I have also to prepare you not to have any visual expectations from this movie or plenty of action but instead of this it has much of suspense. Also you have to take into consideration that this movie is about one hundred years old, so do not judge it hardly and also do not judge it before watching it.
Nosfuratu feeds off its own theme, has the human race grown incompetent
or is there a stronger force than us human. The movie plays with our
expectations in order to get this theme across. It depicts everyone in
the film as somewhat incompetent, some more than others. But the film
doesn't rely on the characters stupidity to make the film interesting,
it relies on a balance of suspense, ambiguity, and incompetence.
The film was supposed to be an adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel, "Dracula". But, the rights were refused and forced the creators to change the names, places, and events of the film. But this doesn't slow the film down, it smooth-ens it out. The film's protagonists are all flawed but not majorly. Everyone has this minor hint of incompetents, paranoia, or plain stupid. But none of it goes overboard. The film understands that humans are not perfect, but not apes. But still, what if something was just a little more faster, stronger, or more intelligent, the Nosfuratu(vampire). Nosfuratu isn't god, but more of a grim reaper, with his hypnotic trance, ability to talk to people all across the world, and being one step faster than everyone around him. But, as said before, everyone's flawed. The whole film's a "but", and that's the brilliance of the film. There is absolutely no way to know if a victim was smarter the Nosfuratu or if Nosfuratu was just more lucky.
The visuals also add to the idea. You always get this feeling of isolation from the film, a feeling of helplessness in every shot. The film combines the black and white camera lens and the pitch white make-up of Nosfuratu while using optical illusions and much more. When you're with the humans, you feel like you're in a dark and empty room. When Nosfuratu's around, it feels like a cryptic nightmare. Each second has its own unique propose and all of them fantastic.
The film as a whole is the closest thing to art in the "Horror" gene and I hope to see it higher on the "Top 250" in the future.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Count Orlok is not a "pretty" vampire- he is all monster, and not
solely because of his long teeth and attenuated hands and nails. Orlok
does not seem to do very much other than lurk about watching his
intended victims, but this is precisely what makes him so very
frightening. One is not really sure what he is planning. Max Schreck
gives an outstanding performance as the menacing vampire. The other
actors are very good, too- especially Greta Schroder as Ellen. She is
both repelled and attracted to the vampire simultaneously. Ellen's
confusion and struggle to reach her decision to sacrifice herself are
very well conveyed. Alexander Granach characterization as the mad
henchman Knock, was perfectly balanced between a sly accomplice and a
completely insane victim of Orlok's hypnotism.
The cinematography is beautiful. Many scenes are stunning as works of art apart from the movie or its plot. The scenes of the rigging of the ship, the sand dunes and crosses, and the scenes of the creatures studied by the professor are particularly well composed. The iconic scene of Orlok ascending the staircase with his shadow illuminated on the wall is incredibly creepy.
I also found the special effects to be surprisingly advanced for such an early film. Orlok is able to move objects via telekinesis. The effect is done with good taste and does not seem gimmicky, but was integrated nicely into the plot.
The surreal nature of the film makes me liken it to a nightmare- Orlok's behavior, saying little, but always just waiting in the shadows, makes him a perfect nightmarish villain. I would have rated the film a ten, if there were not a few slight discrepancies in the plot. I highly recommend this film.
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