before Universal Studios released Dracula, FW Murnau made an
unauthorized version of Bram Stoker's classic novel called Nosferatu.
The character's name was changed to Count Orlock, but it stole enough
of the original tale to invoke the wrath of Stoker's widow. After a
successful lawsuit, the judge ordered all copies of the film
destroyed. Luckily a few prints survived for the world to enjoy.
shots like this show an influence that
lasted 60 years later for Nightmare On Elm Street
silent film is grainy and spooky as hell! The use of shadows,
typical of many German films of the time, creates a sense of dread
not possible with a more crisp color film. There's actually quite a
few cool scenes in this film, but my favorite is when the guy is
cringing above and you see the eerie long fingernails of Orlock
creeping up the wall, revealing the shadow of his bald head and
pointy ears, ready to strike.
not only was the look of Orlock swiped
for the Stephen King "Salem's Lot" film, but this image of the
vampire hanging out by the window was borrowed as well
way, since this film is in public domain, there's a TON of shitty
versions of it available for sale. If you'd like to buy it, make
sure you get THIS version, which has about as complete of a copy of
the film you can get, with a nice added soundtrack and a commentary
track as well (some of the cheaper versions have the crappy American
title cards that refer to the character as Dracula and are missing
some key scenes.
Francis Ford Coppola paid tribute to
Nosferatu's brilliant use of eerie shadows when he made Bram Stoker's