April 20, 2012

Nosferatu (1922)



"Originally released in 1922 as Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie Des Grauens, director F.W. Murnau's chilling and eerie adaption of Stoker's Dracula is a silent masterpiece of terror which to this day is the most striking and frightening portrayal of the legend."

To be honest with you right from the beginning, I don't think much of "Nosferatu" (otherwise known as the the world's first movie copyright infringement). I only uploaded this film to YouTube because I realised that I still hadn't used my account for anything constructive in the six years since I joined the site.

Having recently discovered that I could actually upload movies longer than fifteen minutes, I decided to start filling my YouTube channel with public domain horrors. I know other people have done this, but since I also discovered that it takes over an hour to upload anything, I don't think I'm going to be a very great rival to the big name "PD" channels.

But anyway, "Nosferatu" sucks. Not only does Graf Orlok (or Count Dracula) suck blood as a vampire (albeit rather invisibly) but the whole film is wretchedly boring. I may have over a dozen copies of it scattered throughout my Mill Creek and other budget horror DVDs, but that's not because I like the film in any way.

For a start, it's all in black and white which is a bit shitty really. Then, to add insult to injury, it's silent (apart from the crappy music added to it after the fact) with a load of title cards which you have to read. Yes, read! Who the Hell watches a film to read it? You'll expect me to start reading subtitles on modern foreign movies next!!!

Of course, I'm being sarcastic as I'm quite aware of how much of a philistine any of that would make me look if I truly felt that way, but I really dislike "Nosferatu" to the point of absolute hatred.

What I hate most about the film is that it's all style over substance. It's just a few "scary" images created by the very odd looking Max Schreck with the ripped-off "Dracula" story underneath it all. Bram Stoker's novel is infinitely better than this crap, and the name changes don't help the movie's cause either.


I loathe the acting especially as I have no idea if the actors were actually saying anything resembling what appears as a caption on screen, and I find the whole cast to be very unattractive. I just can't think myself back ninety years ago into a time before I existed to appreciate any of it. Not only is "Nosferatu" old but everything about it is entirely alien to me, distancing, and it just doesn't grab my attention.

Now I know there are some people who will defend "Nosferatu" to the hilt with all the tired arguments about how groundbreaking it was and how I need to learn all about the styles of the German silent movie industry before being so judgemental, but seriously, have you ever tried watching this film recently?

That's another reason why I posted it back up to YouTube. I want people to actually sit there and watch this crap for as long as they can stand it. I can barely make it ten minutes in without wanting to switch it off, and that's not just because I've seen it so many times before.

"Nosferatu" simply isn't a very good film. Yes, we're lucky to have it since all the copies were supposed to be destroyed for copyright infringement, but it's still badly shot and directed. It's almost as bad as the later Bela Lugosi "Dracula" (based on the official Bram Stoker stage play), and that's saying something.

Basically, "Dracula" works well as a book but has never translated well to screen. Just because "Nosferatu" was the first movie adaptation of the story does not make it the best.

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