Monday, March 17, 2014


In the beginning...She Blinded Me With Silents (Post 8 of 12)

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Terror

You can't say the 1001 movie book doesn't have enough versions of Dracula.
Of course we have Bela Lugosi's Dracula (suave, if not a little campy) and Christopher Lee's Hammer films Dracula (Suave, but deadly).

Most Dracula's throughout filmdom had a suave air to them, (George Hamilton, Frank Langella, et al) to contrast their more deadly nature. I mention this because there is no pretension of suaveness in F. W. Murnau's famous silent rendering of the Dracula legend, Noserferatu.

Before watching the entire film for the first time, my main image of the film were clips of the creepy image of the vampire emerging from the hull of a ship to make victims of all its inhabitants. Nosferatu, as played by the wonderfully named Max Schreck, could never pass for anything in the real world other than a sideshow attraction. Nosferatu resembles more of a hobgoblin, with pointy ears, jagged teeth, impossibly bushy eyebrows and sharp claws for hands. No innocent young girl is going to fall under any romantic spell with this Dracula.

Nosferatu can't even be subtle with his dialogue in his initial scene with Jonathan Harker. When Harker cuts his hand cutting bread-no subtle Lugosi stare here. Schreck yells out (through title cards, of course) "Your blood! Your precious blood!" He leaps and starts sucking on Harker's cut finger, before Harker can pull it away.

Nosferatu also looks at a picture of Harker's fiance, where he says,"Is this your wife? What a lovely throat!" Couldn't he just comment on how pretty she is without bringing up her throat? He really is laying his cards all on the table at once here. But you got to appreciate a demon who actually acts like a demon.

The Murnau Nosferatu was remade by Werner Herzog in 1979. The 2000 film Shadow of the Vampire, starring Willem Dafoe as Max Shreck and John Malkovich as Murnau about the making of Nosferatu speculates that Shreck might really be a vampire!

He wasn't, was he?


  1. Then the question is: who is more believable? The gentleman vampire or the bloodthirsty demon? Shreck looks like a blood junkie desperate for a fix.