Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens
Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens ("Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror" in German) is a German Expressionist film shot in 1921 by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, and released in 1922. 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 instead to film his own version with only slight changes to the story. For instance, "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).
* Max Schreck as Count Orlok (Dracula)
* Gustav von Wangenheim as Thomas Hutter (Jonathan Harker)
* Greta Schröder as Ellen Hutter (Mina Harker)
* Alexander Granach as Knock (Renfield)
* Georg H. Schnell as Mr. Harding (Westenra)
* Ruth Landshoff as Ruth Harding (Lucy Westenra)
* John Gottowt as Professor Bulwer (Abraham Van Helsing)
* Gustav Botz as Dr. Sievers (Jack Seward)
* Max Nemetz as the Captain of Demeter
Thomas Hutter is an employee at a real estate firm in Wisborg, Germany, happily living with Ellen, his wife. One day, his employer, Knock, receives a mysterious letter, written in strange symbols. Knock decides to send him to visit Count Orlok in the Carpathian Mountains to finalize the sale of a house. Hutter leaves his wife with his good friend Harding and his wife Ruth before embarking on his multiple-month journey.
Close to his final destination, Hutter boards at an inn, where the locals become frightened at the mere mention of Orlok's name, and discourage him to travel to his castle during the night. In his room at the inn, Hutter finds a book entitled The Book of the Vampires, which he disregards before falling asleep.
Hutter is left to finish his journey on foot after his hired driver refuses to pass the bridge to the castle. However, he is soon picked up by Count Orlok's coach, which is driven by a strange specter that hides its face, and moves at an unnatural speed. At his arrival at the castle, whose doors open by themselves, he is welcomed by Count Orlok. Hutter has dinner at the castle; Orlok refuses to eat and silently reads a letter. A bell rings at midnight and a startled Hutter cuts his thumb. Count Orlok tries to suck the blood out of the wound, before being repelled by a cross hanging around Hutter's neck. Hutter falls asleep in the parlor after a conversation with Orlok.
Hutter wakes up to an empty castle with fresh wounds on his neck, which he attributes to mosquitoes. That night he is joined by Orlok and they sign the documents for the sale of the house facing Hutter's. Hutter finds The Book of the Vampires in his luggage and starts to suspect that Orlok is a nosferatu. He tries to hide in his bedroom as midnight approaches. However, the closed door opens by itself and Orloks comes in. At the same time, Ellen sleepwalks and is found by Harding in a comatose state, screaming after Hutter. Her screams stop Orlok, who leaves Hutter untouched.
Waking up, Hutter explores the castle and its crypt. He finds a coffin, where Orlok is resting in a dormant state. Paralyzed with fear and the shear sight of the nosferatu, he dashes back to his room, where he witnesses Orlok piling up coffins onto a coach and climbing into the last one before the coach leaves. Hutter escapes the castle through the window, but is knocked unconscious when he falls and hits the ground. Meanwhile, the coffins are shipped down a river on a raft.
Next, Hutter is at an hospital after his flight from the castle. The coffins are put into a large boat, after being checked by the crew as being full of soil and rats. In a psychiatric yard, Knock is in a confinement cell where he eats flies and tries to bite the neck of his doctor. Hutter decides to leave the hospital to warn his town against Orlok. In his cell, Knock steals a newspaper with news of a new plague, which causes him to rejoice. The sailors on the boat carrying the coffins get sick and soon, all but two are dead. One of them decides to destroy the coffins, which are now crawling with rats. However, Orlok wakes up and confronted to this vision, the sailor jumps in the sea. The captain ties himself to his ship's wheel. Orlok is the new master of the boat.
The ship arrives. Orlok leaves it unseen with one of his coffins, quickly followed by the rats. Knock escapes from his cell. Hutter also arrives in Germany. Next morning, the ship is inspected and it appears empty, except for the dead captain with wound marks on his neck. The logbook of the ship is found, the doctors realize they are dealing with plague. The town is stricken with panic. Ellen reads the book of vampires, despite Hutter's forbidding. She learns how to kill a vampire: a woman pure in heart must make him forget the rooster's first crowing. The town is flooded with corpses and its people chase Knock, mistaking him for a vampire.
Orlok is staring from his window at the sleeping Ellen. She opens her window to invite him in but faints. As Hutter leaves to get help, Orlok comes in. He drinks her blood and forgets about the rising day. A rooster crows and Orlok goes up in smoke as he tries to escape. Ellen dies. The last image of the movie is Orlok's castle in the Carpathian Mountains now in ruins.
The story of Nosferatu is similar to that of Dracula, although the first official film version of the story would not be made until 1931. Nosferatu retains 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 character "Mina" sacrifices herself to him. In the book (and many later versions of the story) Dracula is destroyed physically. The timeframe of the story is significantly earlier: according to the logbook of the ship captain, it takes place in 1838, while Dracula takes place in the 1890s. A preview for the film can also be found, in which the scene where Ellen sits up and the subtitles say "Hutter!," is changed to the subtitles saying "Jonathon, Jonathon, hear me!" It can be inferred that this scene was cut out after Mrs. Stoker filed a lawsuit against F.W. Murnau.
This list is not exhaustive, but intended to convey a sense of the differences between the film and the novel:
* The setting is shifted to circa 1838 Bremen.
* All the characters' names are changed.
* The characters of Arthur Holmwood and Quincey Morris are omitted.
* Renfield is Harker's employer.
* Dracula brings with him the plague; he ravages the city, but he makes no other vampires.
* Dracula must sleep by day.
* Dracula is killed by Mina, who lures him to feed upon her until sunrise, when he burns up in the sun.
This was the first and last Prana-Film GmbH film — the company declared bankruptcy after Bram Stoker's estate — acting for his widow, Florence Stoker — sued for copyright infringement and won. The court ordered all existing prints of Nosferatu destroyed, but copies of the film had already been distributed around the world. These prints were then copied over the years, helping Nosferatu gain its current 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 depictions of film vampires. 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 rather totally repugnant. The victims usually die and are not turned into vampires themselves. The more common archetype is the "Dracula-type" (established by Bela Lugosi's version of Dracula and perpetuated by Christopher Lee), a charming aristocrat adept at seduction and whose bite turns his victims into new vampires.
Parts of the film depicting Transylvania were in fact 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 film was remade in 1979 as Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht, which was directed by Werner Herzog.
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"; published 1885) and in her travelogue The Land Beyond the Forest (1888) (Transylvania's English translation).
The word itself does not mean "the undead" or "vampire", as is popularly thought. Theories regarding its etymology link it either to the Greek nosophoros (νοσοφορος; "plague-carrier"), or the Romanian nesuferitul ("the insufferable one").
* 1975 - The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the character of Riffraff (butler/handyman) was created with Nosferatu in mind.
* 1979 – Salem's Lot director Tobe Hooper chose a distinctly Nosferatu-like look for the vampire Barlow.
* 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.
* 1992 - A principal villain in Tim Burton's Batman Returns is named "Max Shreck."
* 1993 – Clips from a Nosferatu parody appear and he jumps off the screen in an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? called "The Tale of the Midnight Madness" (Season 2, Episode 2).
* 1994 - In the film, Interview with the Vampire, when Louis, the main character, returns to the New World, he witnesses sunrises by way of film. Two films he sees are both directed by Murnau, and they are Sunrise, A Song of Two Humans and Nosferatu.
* 1994 - in the film Killing Zoe When Eric Stoltz has sex with the call girl (Julie Delpy) the film "Nosferatu" is on the television and is used to erotically charge the scene.
* 1996 - The short-lived TV series Kindred: the Embraced, based on the White Wolf role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade, featured a clan of vampires known as Nosferatu, which were modeled after Schreck. They are lead by Dædalus, portrayed by Jeff Kober.
* 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. In episode "Orpheus", Angelus performs the famous rising out of the coffin (this time out of some junk) of Count Orlok. It's the only time that a vampire in the Buffyverse does so.
* 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.
* 2002 - On SpongeBob SquarePants, Orlok makes a cameo appearance at the end of the episode "The Graveyard Shift".
* 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.
* 2006 - The Opie & Anthony Show on XM Satellite Radio has an intern that is known as Nosferatu because of his resemblance to Count Orlok.
* 2006 - In the show Mr. Meaty, there is an episode involving a vampire named Natalie called "Nosferateens"
In addition to other works inspired by Nosferatu, the film the and its variant of the vampire legend has had a significant influence on Gothic rock and death metal music. The following list of references is by no means comprehensive.
* 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.
* 1979 - 'Nosferatu' was the title of an album by The Stranglers' lead-singer/guitarist Hugh Cornwell and Captain Beefheart percussionist Robert Williams.
* 1982 – Clips from the film are included in British rock band Queen's (featuring David Bowie) Under Pressure video.
* 1987 – Nosferatu is the name of a song on the album R.I.P. by Coroner.
* 1988 - Canadian metal band Nosferatu release their debut cassette "Burning to Damnation"
* 1988 - UK based Gothic Rock band Nosferatu is formed, heavily influenced by classic horror, vampires, and vampyre subculture.
* 1988 - Nosferatu was a movie-concert for the film by Art Zoyd.
* 1991 – Nosferatu Man is the name of a song on the album Spiderland by Slint.
* 1993 – Nosferatu is mentioned in the Type O Negative song Black no. 1.
* 1995 - Illbient group Liminal released a soundtrack for the film; the recording was improvised as accompanying music when the film was screened at the Knitting Factory in New York City.
* 1996 - The Detroit-based horror rap group House of Krazees release a song called Nosferatu about the vampire of the film.
* 1997 – Clips from the film are included in Ozzy Osbourne's Back On Earth video.
* 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.
* 2000 - The Swedish melodic death metal band Guidance of Sin had a song entitled Nosferatu's Head on their Album '6106'.
* 2001 - The American groove metal band God Forbid had a song entitled Nosferatu which is thematically based around the character of Count Orlock/Nosferatu.
* 2002 - The music video to Farin Urlaub's 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.
* 2004 - In the song "Telekinesis" by Lemon Demon, the singer suggests that his true identity is, for all we know, John F. Kennedy's love child with Nosferatu. He then admits that, despite having to, nobody knows.
* 2006 - Metal Band, Pinkly Smooth wrote a song called Nosferatu does a hefty dance
* 1932 - Tarzan comic strip by Harold Foster; shadow cast by unseen monster, also famously used by Frank Frazetta (see above image).
* 1979 - The father of a female vampire in "The Lady of the House of Love" by Angela Carter from her book of short stories, "The Bloody Chamber" is named Nosferatu.
* 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.
* 2004 - In issue 14 of the Spectacular Spider-Man, Morbius the Living Vampire is drawn to look like Count Orlok.
* 1991 – In White Wolf, Inc.'s Vampire: The Masquerade there exists a vampire clan of hideously deformed vampires known as the Nosferatu.
* 1993 - Mortal Kombat 2 introduced a character called Baraka, for whom the live actor wore a modified Nosferatu mask during filming.
* 1994 - The game Nosferatu by Seta USA pitted the player against Nosferatu in a bid to rescue his captured girlfriend.
* 1997 – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night featured an enemy named "Olrox" who resembles Orlock.
* 1990-2005 – The name Nosferatu also exist as a dark magic spell in the video game series Fire Emblem. It later became a light spell in its latest installment and an enemy class. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance.
* In the game Resident Evil: Code Veronica, there exists a boss known as Nosferatu who loosely resembles Count Orlock.
* In the game Warcraft 3, a custom map named 'Vampirism' was created which featured a vampire named Nosferatu.
* In the game EVE Online, an item called Nosferatu exists. It sucks energy from the enemy. Ships fielding a "Nos" are so called Vampire-Setups.
* 2007 - A yet to be released game, The Darkness, is said to feature the film Nosferatu as part of the video loop playing on in-game televisions.
* This film was #47 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments.