Monday, October 03, 2005

Nosferatu (1922)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: Basically, it follows the Bram Stoker Dracula plotline--Harker goes to sell Count Dracula/aka Count Orloc/aka Nosferatu some real estate, leaving his wife behind as he travels abroad. He begins to suspect that something evil is up with the count, given all the lurking and the lack of desire to spend time awake during daylight hours. Nosferatu travels abroad to his new home, bringing death with him. It sticks pretty much to the Stoker version until the destruction of Nosferatu.

Scariness factor: Max Schreck is most certainly one of the creepiest-looking vampires to grace the big-screen. Every time he rolled onto the screen, all the hackles would stand up on the back of my neck. However, given the over-dramatic, hyperbolic acting of old silent-films, this had a tendency to kill the creepiness of some of the scenes. When you have a Harker character who is constantly grinning and chuckling and throwing vampire books on the floor with jolly laughter, it's kinda hard to stay creeped out.

Originality: I'd venture to guess that, at the time, the movie may have been original and spooky in its originality. (You can check out a fairly extensive list of vampire films reaching back to 1909 HERE--it is one of the earlier ones, and most certainly one of the more notable early ones.) It still retains its spookiness for the most part--and Schreck is most certainly one of the more original renditions of Dracula to float through a vampire movie.

Complaints: Not too much, other than the hyperbolicness of the acting. But it is difficult to complain about this really, seeing as I'm watching the movie as a 2005-er rather than a 1922 silent-filmer, so it's just a matter of styles changing. However, the one big complaint I had was that the score that was attached to the movie (which was silent originally and typically accompanied by live music) was terrible. The swelling of the music and the mood of the music never matched up to what was going on in the movie. Nosferatu would be looking creepy and lurking in the hallway, and music that sounded like it should be accompanying a child on a pony-ride on a bright and cheery day would be playing in the background. I finally just muted it and enjoyed the rest of the movie this way.

High Points: Max Schreck, no doubt. It was also interesting to watch having seen Shadow of a Vampire and having pictured what a creepy guy Max Schreck could've/might've/had been in real life. Either way, Schreck is cree-eepy and no doubt worth checking out.

Overall: The pace of the rest of the film may not keep you on the edge of your seat, but the scenes with Schreck in them are well worth it. And of course, as a horror-movie geek, this should be on your list of Must-See's, as it is a classic.

Grade: A/A-



At 10:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great movie from the very beginnings of horror film, but hilarious in a version I saw with a soundtrack dubbed in by local news anchors and music by the Ramones.


Post a Comment

<< Home