Nosferatu (1922)

Nosferatu is considered by many the first true horror movie. Based on Bram Stoker's Dracula, the movie was almost lost when Stoker's widow sued for copyright infringement. Thanks to an early form of illegal sharing, the movie survived, so that we can enjoy its brilliance to this day.


So good, it’ll almost make you forget Twilight.

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German expressionism makes all the actors look mentally disturbed when you see them with a modern eye. This is especially the case with Knock. Geez, the old man might actually be scarier than Count Orlok.

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It takes quite a while until our hero, Thomas Hutter, arrives at the castle. But when he does, the movie gets really interesting as it introduces the iconic Count Orlok (Max Schreck). Every single scene involving him is great. The poor image quality might be the reason why, but Schreck’s makeup is not noticeable at all. It makes Orlok look authentic as a character.

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On various occasions, Hutter, our hero by default, reveals himself to be an idiotic kid who knows nothing about the world. He doesn’t even know how to slice bread without injuring himself, for crissakes! I guess Knock knew it all along and that’s why he chose to send him.

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I should definitely use that quote next time some dude shows me a picture of his loved one. Maybe I’d end up in a pile of trash with a few broken bones, but I’m pretty sure it’d be worth it.

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Count Orlok’s silhouette is still as effective as it was back in the day. Thinking about this film without thinking of that ghostly shadow climbing up the stairs, long fingers spread forth, is just plain inconceivable.

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The film does a wonderful job of giving the viewer a sense of vastness. There are countless locations on display throughout the movie. Various houses and buildings are used for filming, as well as forests, plains, shores, and even the ocean. You really get the feeling that the Count’s castle is very far away, which makes the whole story much more believable.

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The Count notices the sun rose, but inexplicably walks in front of the window, exposing himself to the light, which promptly disintegrates him. Even if this was made in 1922, it’s still nonsensical. I guess Orlok’s back stiffness prevented him from crouching under the sun’s rays?

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I can’t but use good old Roger Ebert’s words here as a conclusion because he’s so damn right about Nosferatu. This movie isn’t scary: it’s haunting. Nothing pops in on the screen at any time, nothing will make you scream out in terror. You won’t get a heart attack by watching this film. But it has an aura. It’s almost as if this is a documentary on vampires, as if you were watching a reconstruction of real events. It doesn’t have the expertise current horror flicks have gained throughout the decades, but it’s still captivating because it is one of the first in the genre. When you watch it, you watch the horror genre as it begins to stand on its two legs.

1 Comment on Nosferatu (1922)

  1. I love this movie, and your review really does it justice. It’s amazing to me that the visuals created by Murnau in 1922 are impossible to recreate to this day. There is something so poetically haunting about Schrek’s on-screen presence, like he stepped right out of a nightmare. So yeah, the story is silly, but man, those shots of Count Orlok… The stuff of beautiful nightmares.

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