Three Takes on Nosferatu

Here’s F.W. Murnau’s seminal 1922 vampire film, Nosferatu, in full, thanks to public domain laws. Nosferatu is a horrifying and beautiful example of German expressionism at its finest. Max Schreck is terrifying as the vampire Count Orlok (an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s character Dracula). Observe–

Werner Herzog’s 1979 remake is also gorgeous, but employs a more naturalistic style. Klaus Kinski plays Dracula. Two scenes–

In 2000, director E. Elias Merhige gave us the underrated gem Shadow of the Vampire, a fictionalized account of the making Murnau and his crew making the original Nosferatu. Willem Dafoe is amazing as Max Schreck–or really, as Orlok, rather, as he stays in makeup and costume for the entirety of the production. The movie is both hilarious and frightening, and at times even sadistic. It’s also of a piece with the wave of meta-textual films that surged in the last decade,like Being John Malkovich, I Heart Huckabees, and Adaptation.

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