The MOST Wonderful Time of the Year!

In celebration, may I recommend…

As noted critic Pauline Kael observed, “… this first important film of the vampire genre has more spectral atmosphere, more ingenuity, and more imaginative ghoulish ghastliness than any of its successors.” Some really good vampire movies have been made since Kael wrote those words, but German director F.W. Murnau’s 1922 version remains a definitive adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Created when German silent films were at the forefront of visual technique and experimentation, Murnau’s classic is remarkable for its creation of mood and setting, and for the unforgettably creepy performance of Max Schreck as Count Orlok, a.k.a. the blood-sucking predator Nosferatu. With his rodent-like features and long, bony-fingered hands, Schreck’s vampire is an icon of screen horror, bringing pestilence and death to the town of Bremen in 1838. (These changes of story detail were made necessary when Murnau could not secure a copyright agreement with Stoker’s estate.) Using negative film, double-exposures, and a variety of other in-camera special effects, Murnau created a vampire classic that still holds a powerful influence on the horror genre.

And we’re very lucky to have it at all, because, in 1923, Bram Stoker’s widow won a plagarism lawsuit against the film and ALL the copies were to be destroyed. Thank God for the folks who secreted away a couple reels. Now, watch it in the DARK, with no interruptions and you will be mesmerized, I promise. And completely creeped out.

9 Responses to “The MOST Wonderful Time of the Year!”

  1. Cullen says:

    God I love this movie! This is the first silent film I ever watched. I didn’t think I’d like it. I was in my early teens and was a bigoted toward silents.
    Man, this one changed my mind. And then I watched Metropolis and was forever hooked.

  2. peteb says:

    And as a companion in a double bill – Shadow of the Vampire
    Flawed.. but still worth watching, IMHO.

  3. Oh, I LOVE that! I swear Willem DaFoe was channeling Max Shreck. And it almost makes you think, maybe…nah.
    Couldn’t be.

  4. peteb says:

    Could be though, ths.
    Yep. DaFoe’s great in it.

  5. Cullen says:

    Shadow of the Vampire, I’m having flashbacks.

  6. The Real JeffS says:

    I get completely creeped out watching Howard Dean on TV. But vampire flicks are more fun.

  7. Cullen says:

    I’ll never think of hide the salami the same way again.
    Thanks File it Under.

  8. PB says:

    Max Schreck was a real looker, wasn’t he? I’m surprised the Democrats haven’t snared him to run for the Presidency.

  9. (Oh good Lord, PB, don’t even suggest it!) Then again, why wouldn’t they? The dead routinely vote for Democrats, so why shouldn’t they run for office themselves?

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