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Nosferatu: The unforgettable face of horror

The nosferatu do not die like the bee when he sting once. He is only stronger; and being stronger, have yet more power to work evil. This vampire which is amongst us is of himself so strong in person as twenty men; he is of cunning more than mortal, for his cunning be the growth of ages. ~ “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” chapter 18


By Tara Yilmaz

→ Did you know the first iconic vampire movie in cinema history was “Nosferatu: A Symphony in Horror?” Long before the glorious days when movies and books depicted vampires as “babes,” the “undead” looked every bit of what should be feared: tall-lanky, blood-sucking, long- fingernailed, pointy-eared creature with fangs. Not like the twinkling teen heartthrob Edward Cullen in “Twilight” or the deliciously terrifying Gary Oldman in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.” The depiction of Nosferatu was meant to be an unforgettable face of horror.

→ Did you know Nosferatu is a 1922 silent German expressionist horror film? Directed by F.W. Murnau, the screenplay was written by Henrik Galeen and starred Max Schreck as Count Orlock. If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then Bram Stoker should’ve been proud if he was alive to see the film. Stoker died on April 20, 1912 just 10 years before Nosferatu debuted. Because of its unauthorized version of Stoker’s 1897 gothic horror novel “Dracula,” various names of characters were changed. Count Dracula became Count Orlock but the premise of the story remained the same. Spoiler alert: The Count is in love with another man’s woman. However, in the beginning credits, the filmmaker pays homage to Stoker’s masterpiece.

→ Did you know Nosferatu celebrated its 100th anniversary this year? On March 4, 2022, this film that almost didn’t survive distribution managed to land in the centenary film “hall of fame.” “Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror” became a copyright-infringement horror story. As stated, imitation is the highest form of flattery but Bram Stoker’s estate took it as plagiarism. Stoker’s estate filed a lawsuit against Prana Film, the production company, and won the suit. The court issued a permanent injunction that ordered the seizure and destruction of any copies of the infringing work. That judgment caused Prana Film to file bankruptcy which made Nosferatu the only film the company ever released. Unlike Nosferatu’s death in the film, a sole copy survived the light of day and made its way to the United States.

→ Did you know Pittsburgh native George A. Romero’s 1977 American psychological horror film “Martin” (internationally known as “Wampyr”) was his version of vampirism? “Martin” was different in many ways. It wasn’t the typical Transylvanian-born and bred creature of the night. It was about a teenager living in Pittsburgh with an unusual appetite for drinking blood. Martin’s old-world minded cousin Tateh Cuda calls him “the Count” and treats him as Nosferatu instead of as a person in desperate need of psychological intervention.

→ Did you know “The Lost Boys,” released in 1987, is a teenager vampire flick which picked up where “Martin” left off, showing modern day, stylishly dressed, long-haired teenagers who made fangs look cool. From there endless movies about “night walkers and one day walker” made cinematic history. “Dracula” (1992), “Interview with the Vampire” (1994), “Blade” (1998), and you best not forget “Queen of the Damned” (2002). Television shows such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “True Blood,” and “What We Do in the Shadows,” continued to reinterpret Bram Stoker’s iconic vampire for modern audiences. As Bram Stoker wrote in his “Dracula” book, “I want you to believe… to believe in things that you cannot.”



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