Friday, August 23, 2013

Nosferatu (1922)

My favorite vampire movie of all time is "Let the Right One In." There are just so many layers of meaning in the film to find and enjoy. Although "Nosferatu" won't be stealing first place any time soon, it's still a decent and memorable piece of German Expressionist horror.

   Radical for the time it was made, this silent era film pursues it's antagonist, Orlok (Max Schreck) like a waking nightmare. It's righteous hero, Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim,) who reminded me of "Brain-Dead"'s Lionel, only gayer, seemingly has no chance against the supernatural forces that surround him.

   Hutter is sent by his boss, Knock (Alexander Granach,) a rather repulsive old man, to go to bloodsucker Count Orlok's castle and have him sign a lease. Orlok, it seems, is looking to move in RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO HUTTER (a vampire in a residential area- isn't that lovely,) and Hutter, as an agent of Real Estate, is the man for the job.

   Leaving his fair and lovely wife Ellen (Greta Schröder,) Hutter travels to the castle, only to get wrapped up in the horror of "Nosferatu," the horror that Count Orlok engulfs his victims in. Will Hutter get out alive? Will lovely Ellen become Orlok's next victim? Is the Count himself unstoppable?

   I kept waiting for soft, girly Hutter to sack up and protect his innocent wife, but he never really stepped into action. Not to mention the eyeroller of a scene where Hutter tries to escape from Orlok's castle window with a rope, only to fall about half a foot and- you guessed it- knock himself clean out. With a husband like this, who needs  girlfriends?

   The make-up effects for this movie are very impressive, and the scary creation of Orlok bears little to no resemblance to his counterpart, Max Schreck. The makeup job on unsavory Knock was good too. To me, the scariest thing about, rat-toothed, bug eyed Orlok, ironically, was the way he held his arms straight at his sides when he walked.

 It certainly made him seem less human! It is possible that a hug might make him loosen up, but I seriously doubt it. Well, Orlok was freaky, Konck was gross, Hutter was a sissy- Ellen  was a typical boring '20s love interest, and the weakest of the four characters. As fragile as a feather, I expected her to faint dead away half the time, but admittedly. in the end she turned out to be a lot tougher than her lightweight husband.

   Overall, Nosferatu is a well-shot and made horror film, with a few scares, and fine performances from the leads. It's not as strong character wise as "Let the Right One In," nor as psychologically astute (although for me it was hard not to see hints of homosexuality in Knock's character in the way he touched and interacted with Hutter,) and I think it is a tiny bit over-rated, but overall it is a entertaining piece of classic horror.


  1. I think this is a very effective film.

    If you have not seen it you may want to watch Shadow of the Vampire. It's a fictional version of the creation of this film with the central premise being that Max Shreck (Willem Dafoe) is an actual vampire. Talk about "born to play the role."

  2. My family liked this one. It helps to read "Dracula" before seeing it. It follows Bram Stoker's novel closer than any of Hollywood's other attempts that bear the Dracula name. My opinion, of course! :)


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