When Vampires were Vampires

Before vampires became pretty boys and a simplistic adolescent metaphor, they were ugly creatures and much more sinister. They represented all everything that kept you awake at night. Fears and desires hidden in your thoughts and in the shadows. The only thing that could kill it was the light.

Released on this date in 1922, the classic German Expressionist horror film, F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” with Max Schreck as Count Orlok. A true monster without a hint of romance.

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One Response to When Vampires were Vampires

  1. Che! says:

    “Nosferatu” is one of the two German Expressionist horror films (wherein reality is silently rendered as acute, distorted, tortured, twisted, etc.) I’ve seen from the early nineteen twenties. (The other is “The Cabinet Of Doctor Caligari,” more appropriately considered in another post.)

    Murnau’s superb cinematic realization of Bram Stoker’s novel: “Dracula” is an adaptation that the Stoker estate had not authorized in 1922.

    Risking litigation for copyright infringement, Murnau digressed from Stoker’s text. For example, the term “Nosferatu” is synonymous with “vampire” and “Count Orlok,” Murnau’s protagonist, is Stoker’s “Count Dracula.”

    Nosferatu is chilling, creepy, frightening and scary. He is indeed a monster, intended to frighten, not to seduce.

    In 1979, Werner Herzog presented our horror film community with his remake of Murnau’s adaptation titled: “Nosferatu the Vampyre,” featuring Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani and Bruno Ganz.

    Herzog’s film; audially and visually stunning, especially with his use of natural color; is one of those rare instances were, in my ledger, the remake, an homage to the original, is well-done.

    In both works our eponymous vampire is appropriately grotesque: a repulsively murine character, inspiring fear and loathing.

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