Sunday, November 03, 2002

Nosferatu (IMDB) (Netflix)
The 1922 German classic Dracula story, with the names changed (Dracula is "Count Orlock"), but this is the original from which all the other vampire movies have sprung. It played at the local art house, complete with a live organist to round out the experience.

Eighty years is a long time to ask a film to stand on its own two feet, so Nosferatu has to be seen as a historical artifact--but an important one. It's a movie that not only defined its genre, it now highlights how far we've come technologically and in the language of film. What was a groundbreaking moment of horror then is often a giggle-inducing cliche now, and the young kids in the audience didn't seem to require counseling at the conclusion. Still, there are some compelling moments, and it's a movie that every horror/vampire film buff should see, so they can give props to whom they're due, director F.W. Murnau.

For a well-done remake from the modern era, try Bram Stoker's Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola, and for an entertaining speculation that Max Shreck, the actor playing Orlock, was so good in Nosferatu because he actually was a vampire, see Shadow of a Vampire.