Precious Bodily Fluids

Nosferatu

My first foray into German Expressionist cinema was, fittingly, F.W. Murnau’s infamous Gothic work Nosferatu. The mother of all horror films (chronologically speaking), Nosferatu marvelously executed some great intercutting, showing parallel story lines simultaneously. And of course, Count Orlock was wonderfully “creepy,” as the film’s text pointed out explicitly a few times. Other than that, the film might be remembered mainly for the controversy it caused by supposedly violating intellectual property rights claimed by Bram Stoker’s widow for imitating Dracula a bit too overtly. Some effects were well-done for the period, such as the horse-and-carriage coming and going at breakneck speed, as well as the opening/closing doors and lid floating up and onto Orlock’s coffin. The film might have been one of the first to establish the juxtaposition prevalent in most horror films ever since, between carefree happiness (seen in Hutter waking up twice with a smile and a stretch) and sheer terror. Themes of eating and sleeping were also present, as horror feeds upon the most common and natural processes in order to instill maximum fear in the viewer. Though this was a work of Expressionism, the realism of the film was striking. Perhaps the Expressionism mostly lay in the subject/object relationship, the effect that the film has on the viewer. The effect would have been substantially less if not for the realism which fools the viewer into believing in the possibility of such horrors.

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This entry was published on May 8, 2008 at 5:53 pm. It’s filed under 1920s Cinema, German Film and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

5 thoughts on “Nosferatu

  1. Marie Gonzalez on said:

    I used to dare myself to look at the cover of this movie when I was little. It looked really scary. Even the letters were scary.

  2. Touchable says : I absolutely agree with this !

  3. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Attachment

  4. Actually Robert Weine’s “Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” was the mother of all horror films chronologically speaking. It predated F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” by two years.

  5. You are quite right. As I re-read this post (it’s been awhile) I can appreciate my education during this period. I’m surprised no one has mentioned this until now.

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