Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens



Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens ("Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror" in German) is a German Expressionist film shot in 1922 by F.W. Murnau. He had wanted to film a version of Bram Stoker's Dracula, but his studio was unable to obtain the rights to the story. Murnau decided to film his own version and made only slight changes to the story. The resultant movie has many similarities to Stoker's original tale. "Dracula" became "Nosferatu" and the names of the characters changed, with Count Dracula changed to Count Orlok. The role of the vampire was played by Max Schreck. Other major actors in the film were Gustav von Wangenheim (as Thomas Hutter/Jonathan Harker), Greta Schröder (as Ellen Hutter/Mina M. Harker), and Alexander Granach (as Knock/R.M. Renfield).

Count Orlock's move to Bremen brings the plague traceable to his dealings with the realtor Thomas Hutter. While hope in the city sinks, Hutter's wife Ellen, with whom the Count is obsessed, turns out to be the only one with the power to end the evil.

Stylistically, Nosferatu is similar to Dracula, although the first official version of the story would not be made until 1931. Nosferatu leaves the core characters (John and Mina Harker, the Count, Dr. Seward, etc.) but weeds out many of the secondary players, such as Lucy. All the characters' names were changed as well, although in some versions of this film the Dracula names have been reinserted.
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

The ending is also substantially different from that of Dracula. Count Orlock (Dracula) is ultimately destroyed when the 'Mina' character sacrifices herself to him. In the book (and many later versions of the story) Dracula is destroyed physically. The timeframe of the story is also set back significantly: according to the logbook of the ship captain, it takes place in 1838, while Dracula takes place in the 1890s.

This was the first film of the production company Prana-Film GmbH; it was also the last as they declared bankruptcy after Bram Stoker's estate—acting for his widow, Florence Stoker—sued for copyright infringement (plagiarism) and won. The court ordered all existing prints of Nosferatu destroyed, but a number of copies of the film had already been distributed around the world. These prints were then copied over the years, resulting in Nosferatu gaining a reputation as one of the greatest movie adaptations of the vampire legend.

With the influence of producer and production designer, Albin Grau, the film established one of two main lines of vampire depiction in movies. The "Nosferatu-type" is a living corpse with rodent features (especially elongated fingernails and incisors), associated with rats and plague, and neither charming nor erotic but totally repugnant. The victims usually die and are not turned into vampires themselves. The more common other line is the "Dracula-type" (established by Bela Lugosi's version of Dracula and perpetuated by Christopher Lee), a charming aristocrat adept at seduction and turning his victims into new vampires.

Parts of the film allegedly showing Transylvania were filmed in Slovakia. Nosferatu's castle, for instance, is Orava Castle in northern Slovakia, and other locations are in the High Tatras and on the Váh River around Strečno Castle.

Murnau's Nosferatu is in the public domain, and copies of the movie are widely available on video—usually as poorly transferred, faded, scratched video copies that are often scorned by enthusiasts. However, pristine restored editions of the film have also been made available, and are also readily accessible to the public.

The original meaning of the word nosferatu is difficult to determine. There is no doubt that it achieved popular currency through Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula, and Stoker identified his source for the term as the 19th-century British author and speaker Emily Gerard. Gerard introduced the word into print in a book chapter ("Transylvanian Superstitions" - 1885) and in her travelogue the Land Beyond the Forest (1888) ("land beyond the forest" is literally what Transylvania means in Latin).

The word itself, does not mean "the undead" or "vampire", as is popularly thought. Actually, "Nosferatu" means "plague-carrier" and derives from Greek nosophoros (νοσοφορος, "disease-bearing").

The film was remade in 1979 as Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht, which was directed by Werner Herzog.

In film and television:

* 1979 – Salem's Lot director Tobe Hooper chose a distinctly Nosferatu-like look for the vampire Barlow.
* 1987 – The starship of Sabalom Glitz in the Doctor Who episode titled "Dragonfire" is called Nosferatu. Later Glitz acquires a Nosferatu II.
* 1991 – The vampire Radu from the Subspecies series of films has visual cues from Nosferatu, including the grotesque white face, and over-long fingers and nails.
* 1993 – Clips from a Nosferatu parody appear and he jumps off of the screen in an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? called "The Tale of the Midnight Madness" (Season 2, Episode 2).
* 1997 – The Master, the villain throughout the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was visually based on Nosferatu, having long nails, large bat-like ears, and a bald white head. In the Angel episode "Why We Fight" there is also a Nosferatu-looking vampire on board a submarine, though it is implied he is actually supposed to be Count Orlok. Also in the seventh and final season of Buffy, the protagonists fight a race of über-vampires called the Turok-Han who are also very reminiscent of Nosferatu.
* 1998 - In Dark City, the Strangers are parasitic creatures who use dying human bodies as vessels and bear a physical resemblance to Nosferatu.
* 2000 – A Hollywood movie called Shadow of the Vampire told a fictional story of the making of Nosferatu, imagining that actor Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe) was himself a genuine vampire, and that director F. W. Murnau (John Malkovich) was complicit in hiring the creature for the purposes of realism.
* 2000 – Several episodes of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command feature the recurring villain NOS-4-A2, a robot that feeds off of the energy of anything mechanical.
* 2001 - In the vampire anime Hellsing a member of the Iscariot Organization refers to the main character Alucard as "Nosferatu Alucard" in reference to his despicable demeanor and his occult supernatural powers which are far greater than any normal bitten vampire. As well Incognito, the Vampire towards the end of the series, are referred to as a "true Nosferatu".
* 2002 – The movie Blade II introduces mutant vampires called Reapers that resemble Count Orlok.
* 2002 - The film Star Trek: Nemesis features the villainous race called the Remans, who were designed based on the appearance of Count Orlok.
* 2005– General Grievous, a new Star Wars villain, is based on various aspects of Nosferatu. Rob Coleman (one of the top VFX workers on Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith) when speaking about movements for the character is quoted as saying, "In fact, we talked about Fagin as well as classic vampire movies, including Nosferatu."
* 2006– The character Uta Refson (Erica Cerra) [Nosferatu backwards] is introduced in the series The L Word. Uta Refson is shown to have a bony figure, very intense eyes, long sharp fangs and finger-nails, a casual avoidance of being seen in mirrors, exceptional stamina, a preference to only go out at night, an aversion to discussing religion and far greater strength than her body suggests.

In music:

* 1922-1929 - American composer Aaron Copland's first ballet, Grohg, has a plot loosely based on and inspired by Nosferatu, involving a vampiric necromancer who brings his victims back to life. Copland adapted music from the ballet (which was never staged) into his Dance Symphony of 1929.
* 1977 – The narrative song "Nosferatu" closes the album Spectres by Blue Öyster Cult.
* 1982 – Clips from the film are included in British rock band Queen's (featuring David Bowie) Under Pressure video.
* 1988 - UK based Gothic Rock band Nosferatu is formed, heavily influenced by classic horror, vampires, and vampyre subculture.
* 1991 – "Nosferatu Man" is the name of a song on the album Spiderland by Slint.
* 1996 - The Detroit-based horror rap group House of Krazees release a song called "Nosferatu" about the vampire of the film.
* 1998 – German experimental krautrock band Faust releases Faust Wakes Nosferatu, an accompaniment or alternative soundtrack to the film. The vinyl and CD editions of the record, however, contain completely different music.
* 1999 - The Swedish Progressive Metal band Evergrey has a track on their 1999 album Solitude - Dominance - Tragedy titled "Nosferatu."
* 2002 - The music video to Farin Urlaubs second single, "Sumisu" is shot in the style of the movie and features Urlaub playing a character bearing strong resemblance to Count Orlok.
* 2002 - Jill Tracy and The Malcontent Orchestra release the CD Into the Land of Phantoms, selections from their acclaimed score to Nosferatu.

In print media:

* 1991 – Millennium Publications releases a four-part comic series, Nosferatu: Plague of Terror written by Mark Ellis with art by Rik Levins that provides an origin for Orlock separate and distinct from Dracula. The series also portrays his career after the events of the Murnau film.
* 1992 - The Bat Boy story of Weekly World News debuts, with the title character resembling a young version of Nosferatu.
* 1999 – Jean-Marc Lofficier wrote Superman's Metropolis, a trilogy of graphic novels for DC Comics, illustrated by Ted McKeever, the second of which was titled Batman Nosferatu. Batman's costume was remodeled to resemble Orlok's, but most of the plot came from an equally renown German expressionist film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
* 2004 - In issue 14 of the Spectacular Spider-Man, Morbius the Living Vampire is drawn to look like Count Orlok.

In games:

* 1991 – In White Wolf, Inc.'s Vampire: The Masquerade there exists a vampire clan of hideously deformed vampires known as the Nosferatu.
* 1997 – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night featured an enemy named "Orlox" who resembles Orlock.
* 1999 - Final Fantasy VIII featured a demon, often summoned by a "caller", called Nosferatu.
* 2000 - Resident Evil Code: Veronica featured a mutated creature called Nosferatu as a boss.
* 2002 - Disciples II (and its prequel) feature a character called a Nosferat, a general for the Undead Hordes.
* 2006 - In the Base Set of Wizkid's Games Horrorclix Battling Mininatures game, there is a figure named Nosferatu.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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