Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nosferatu


This is a true masterpiece of film. It has reached a high cult status and is just as scary today as it was when it was released in 1922. It's taken almost verbatim form Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula", which didn't sit well with Stoker's widow who had never given away rights to the story. Therefore, all references to "Dracula" must never be used and then she went a step further and decided that it was completely plagiarized and tried to have all copies of the movie destroyed. Fortunately, she was unsuccessful at halting the movie entirely. Director F.W. Murnau changed a few characters names, slightly altered events, including the name of the movie to Nosferatu. Instead of Count Dracula, we have Count Orlock. Even with the changes, this is without a doubt, an obvious adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel. Rights or no rights, we have it today to enjoy and that's all that really matters. The part of Count Orlock was played by Max Schreck, who was a very very eccentric person who actually thought he was a vampire in real life, only filmed at night and traveled around in a coffin at all times. He ate bats and rats and pretty much freaked out anyone who had the non advantage of being around him. Due to his vampiric ways, the movie took much longer than anticipated, special sets had to be built of a ship because Max Schreck refused to film on a real ship. Despite the controversy about Max Schreck and the ongoing problems that plagued the making of the film, Max Schreck delivers a bone chilling performance. He's so creepy looking, it literally gives me chills and has been scaring the hell out of people for over eighty years now. The filming of this movie and the antics of Max Schreck have been legend for years and was used as the topic of a recent film called "Shadow of the Vampire" starring John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe.

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