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Nosferatu (1922)

nosferatu

The shadow of Alfred Hitchcock was not even this creepy…

As a kid, the older a movie was, the more it intrigued me.

I yearn for the days when I thought movies depicted real life, despite how absurd the circumstances. Perhaps it was because I possibly thought that it was documenting the events as they happened. A little bit of that feeling comes to me every now and then, and it does every time I watch the orignal Nosferatu (though I know it is pure fiction).

While I have not seen every vampire flick, I doubt any are as artistic or influential as the original Nosferatu. It is almost a century old, but has survived as the quintisential horror flick about vampires. At the time of its release, it was panned (by Bram Stoker’s widow) for being a rip off of his classic Dracula. Director F.W. Murnau could not get the rights, so they changed the names of the characters.

Thankfully, the film survives, and teaches us that being a vampire is not something one would aspire to be. We know th e rules of being a vampire: they die in sunlight, they can’t get near garlic or a cross, they drink blood, etc. Yet in this film, being a vampire is not the equivalent of being a hunky guy with his shirt off (as of this writing, I have not seen any of the Twilight films, nor desire to). Being a vampire is more of a disease, and if you don’t believe me, look into the eyes of Count Orlok (with an immortal performance by Max Schreck).

The story is relatively simple: Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) is sent off to Transylvania to talk to Orlok about buying a house opposite him and his wife Ellen (Greta Schroeder). When Orlok returns, all goes horribly haywire.

You may be wondering if a movie over ninety years old can still be scary. Probably not as much as it was when first released. Yet there are still some creepy moments. There is one scene in particular where the Count sees a picture of Ellen and comments “Your wife has a beautiful neck!”.

I don’t care how old the movie is, or whatever the circumstances maybe. When a dude says your wife has a beautiful neck, get yourself (and your wife) as far away as possible from that person. It is beyond creepy.

Parents, the movie is probably ok for kids seven and up. I mean, the movie is a vampire movie, but keep in mind it is from the 1920s. There is hardly any blood (there are some swears, but not any big ones.)

All in all, like a vampire, this film will live on (even in sunlight). The artistry is revolutionary, the music sublime (it reminded me of when I first truly discovered zombies playing the original Resident Evil game at nine years old), and the overall effect spot on terrifying.

Nosferatu is a film to quench any film lover’s thirst for movies.

 

Overall: Five Stars *****

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