You know those horror legend films you hear about? The ones that keep you up all night with the door locked and the sheets over your head? Sit back and recall on how many films truly scared you as a child. The Exorcist has been known to keep even grown-ups awake until the break of dawn, with beads of sweat dripping down the sides of their face. If you were fortunate enough, you didn’t see Nosferatu as a child. Despite how old it may be, Nosferatu is still a heavy hitter in horror and arguably the greatest silent film ever made.
Vampire Graf Orlok (Max Schreck) expresses interest in a residence in a township in England. Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) is to meet with him and discuss the arrangements, but little does Hutter know that he is to become Orlok’s victim and captive. Of course, once Orlok gets to town, he not only finds his new accommodations suitable, he also finds Hutter’s wife (Greta Schröder) simply irresistible. Hutter must stop Orlok or die trying.
Nosferatu is essentially the story of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but the film team couldn’t get the rights to it. So what do they do? Rename the characters and make it anyway! Great idea! Considering how it has held up today, it wasn’t a bad move on the team’s behalf at all. Director F.W. Murnau made the silent era his bitch with this film. Nosferatu is still known as one of the scariest films ever made. I have even seen it up there with The Exorcist on many lists.
One really has to compliment this movie. I’ve never been able to get over it. I’ve seen it over ten times now, and every time is as charming as the last. The shadow effects are brilliant and only rivaled (not to mention topped) by Vampyr. Max Schreck is absolutely horrifying as Orlok. Just his look sends shivers down the spine. He tends to float more than even walk, which just adds to his creepiness. The other characters, Hutter and his wife Ellen, are also portrayed in the great “innocent” couple way. Considering this was a newer theme back then, it made their experience all the more horrifying. Schreck just constantly adds to the ambience and the couple’s demise. Jason Voorhees and Michael Meyers wish they were this good.
Nosferatu is a must see, especially if you’re a horror fan or silent film buff. This is the best that this era has to offer, in my humble opinion. Granted, other films were incredible, like The Phantom of the Opera (or anything Lon Chaney did, for that matter) and the legendary Metropolis, but they just weren’t able to measure up to the greatness that is Nosferatu. See it now if you haven’t.