Long before there was Edward Cullen, or even Bela Lugosi’s classic take on Dracula, there was the 1922 film Nosferatu, largely regarded as the first vampire film ever made. Based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Nosferatu is a classic horror tale that is eerie in its simplicity.
Vampires, and Dracula in particular, have never waned in popularity. Bela Lugosi is most often regarded as the Dracula but he certainly was not the first to play the popular character. Nosferatu bowed in 1922, starring Max Schrek as Count Graf Orlok/Nosferatu. In this take there is more of a love story as Count Orlok finds he has an interest in a real estate agent’s wife. The well known traits accustomed of Dracula are well in tact here (i.e. Transylvania, Crypt-sleeping, etc.) following Stoker’s tale with a twist. What is interesting is that Nosferatu is no Edward Cullen; he is not handsome with his pointed ears, fingers, and teeth. However that is what makes him interesting and a frightening villain.
The film is stylistically simple in black and white; combined with the silence making the film an eerie piece of art that is worthy of all horror fans attention. Sometimes silence speaks volume and here it effectively tingles the spine because it relies on the eyes. For the eyes there is no color to see but rather a misty gray that is apropos for Nosferatu. In Stoker’s tale Dracula manifests as a mist on many occasions, something that is captured well within the frame of a 1922 shot.
Many older horror films can be dismissed as campy but Nosferatu is not one of them. It serves as an excellent debut for one of horror’s most infamous villains. It was worth a look to experience horror in a different way that does not depend on shrill screams and buckets of fake blood.