Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Folklore and great movies are two examples of things that are timeless. You could even argue that one helped create the other as sitting around the campfire, telling spooky stories about mythical creatures, probably while eating whatever was considered snacks back then (pinecones?) was kind of the early man’s idea of going to the cinemas. So it’s ironic and exceptionally cool that today I get to talk about a movie that is a certified classic, turning 100 years old this year and starring one of the oldest existing monsters that exist in every culture’s folklore in one form or another.
Let’s take a look back at 1922’s Nosferatu.
Can you believe we get to watch a movie that’s a century years old! It honestly blows my mind especially when you consider how well this classic tale of vampire Count Orlock has held up to this very day. Directed by F.W. Murnau with Max Schreck as the nightmare inducing Graf Orlock, Greta Schroder as Ellen and Gustav von Wangenheim as Hutter, of all the versions of Dracula that have been adapted from Bram Stoker’s eponymous novel Nosferatu is by and far the most visually impressive (and this comes from someone who considers themselves a massive fan of Francis Ford Coppola’s version).
I have an affinity for films that can tell a story without the use of dialogue and this silent film, with it’s beautiful use of shadows and light as well as Schreck’s otherworldly portrayal of the Count and a haunting score backing up Murnau’s superb directing, is German expressionism at its very finest.
But the truest testament to how masterful this movie was and still is lies with the lasting impact Max Schreck has created with his chilling performance. One of my very first articles I ever wrote for this site was a list of the Top 10 Ugliest/Scariest Movie Vampires and guess who made it to number one? I remember the first time I saw Nosferatu. I was too young to appreciate the atmosphere, the aesthetics or the nuance of this psycho-sexual tale; no, what stuck with me was the image of this rat-like man with his too long fingernails and penetrating gaze that seemed to bore into your soul. I was horrified and while I forgot every other aspect of the film at that point in time, I NEVER forgot Count Orlock. Fast forward to an older movie lover who has grown to see films through a more well-rounded lens and, while I still think Orlock is hideous, I can also see the mesmerising beauty of the movie as a whole.
So if you’ve never bothered to watch Nosferatu I think you’re robbing yourself of the opportunity to witness a masterpiece of movie history. A film that set the tone for so many that followed, the fact we have the opportunity to view it in all of its glory is almost magical (there are at least five different restored versions you can choose from and even a very solid remake by Werner Herzog that I think is also worth watching). I can imagine how absolutely terrifying this must’ve been for audiences back then to behold. As they say, “You really can’t beat the classics”.
So what do you think of this iconic vampire film? And you can check out more content to sink your teeth into below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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