Rainy Day Movie is a feature here on Living With a Nerd that provides short insights into movies and series that you should save for a rainy day. In this edition of Rainy Day Movie, we explore the legendary vampire film Nosferatu.
Released in 1922, Nosferatu was the first (and still one of the best) film adaptations of Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula. Nosferatu took Bram Stoker’s story and changed the Count from a charismatic aristocrat into a rat-faced monster. To this day, the portrayel of Count Orlok (aka Dracula) is one of the best looking in cinema history. Long spindly fingers, large pointed ears, two razor-sharp front teeth, and stiff robotic movements aided in terrifying audiences.
The entire film was done with a single camera, so the entire film existed on one negative until copies were made. Permission was never obtained from Stoker’s widow, making Nosferatu not only the first film based on Dracula, but also an unauthorized one. She continiously sued the film company, Prana Film, in an attempt to get every copy destroyed. Despite her efforts until her death, a copy of the film always seemed to surface shortly after “all of them” were burned. In an attempt to get out of having to pay her, Prana Film declared bankruptcy, making Nosferatu its first and only production.
Huge exterior shots combined with fantastic footage of castles and a Lübecker Salzspeicher create a modern day gothic setting for the film, with well-designed interior sets and mostly static shots to increase the realism of the film. Much like Metropolis, the special effects were far ahead of their time. While very dated by today’s standards, they still manage to awe and provide the perfect visuals to match the macabre and eldritch settings the film takes place in.
If you have never seen Nosferatu, do yourself a favor and get a copy of it on DVD. It ranks up there as one of the best horror movies ever made.