(Average=4.30 out of 5; Total Number=135)
It's The DVD Not The Movie. (rating=1)
I have loved this film since I was a child but this DVD has a HUGE problem, I cant hear the dialogue. All you can hear is this dopy piano music. The people that made this DVD tried to make up for the lack of spoken dialogue by putting these stupid black cards in between scenes (the cards had text on them). Hello if I wanted to read I would be looking at my issue of PLAYBOY. Remember Nosferatu is great, its this DVD that sucks.
A Masterpiece Of The Cinema. (rating=5)
F.W. Murnau's "Nosferatu" remains the greatest of all vampire movies. It is a haunting, visually stunning experience and one of first true visual masterpieces in the history of film. Max Schreck is the best vampire I have ever seen in a movie because unlike the usual Draculas (well, here for copyright reasons it's Count Orlock), his is scary as hell. He makes Hannibal Lecter look like a sissy! Murnau presents some of the most haunting and hypnotic gothic images ever filmed and his story rarely needs the typical title card where the dialogue appears because just by looking, we know what's going on, we are drawn in and captured. It remains a creepy little gem. The only movie to even come near its effect is Werner Herzog's 1979 color remake. Murnau's film is an example of true art in the cinema, of real storytelling and building of atmosphere through sheer images. When film historians and critics look back at the beginnings of filmmaking, "Nosferatu" will forever be mentioned. It ranks among "M," "The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari" and "Metropolis" as one of the great German works, and among all movies is a giant. It deserves more than one viewing, it will draw you back for a second viewing.
The Best Dracula Movie Ever (rating=5)
This movie is a beatifully shot and brilliantly told version of Bram Stoker's novel. Unfortunately for its makers, it was also an unofficial one, and they were sued by Stoker's widow. Maybe if she knew what some of the later Dracula movies would be like, she wouldn't have done that. I prefer "Nosferatu" to the Bela Lugosi version (which was not bad, but a bit cheesy even for an old movie), the Christopher Lee version "Horror of Dracula" (which was quite good), and the Gary Oldman version (which was weak in my opinion). "Nosferatu" is a silent film, so don't see it unless you're in the mood to read! I saw it on T.V. on Halloween, when I was recovering from surgery, and I was very impressed with the film. It's a truly different cinematic experience. The nature shots and castle shots are beatiful but eerie, and the title villian is chilling rather than corny. He's very menacing, with none of the romantic appeal often associated with Dracula but all of the sinister presence. Seeing the scene on the ship, it seems as though "Nosferatu" paved the way for the soulless killer archetype later represtented in "Halloween" (among other films). And boy, is he ugly! The scene where he looks at the guy who cut his hand is easily the scariest version of that scene ever filmed. I did find the ending a bit anticlimatic, but it is one of those endings that's anticlimatic in a somehow charming way (also similar to "Halloween," not in content but in feel). This atmospheric picture is not only a fun and spooky film to view, but it also appears to be quite influencial on the horror genre.
WARNING: The soundtrack to this movie is horrible. Remember, back in the silent era of cinema the music was added by some guy at the movie theater playing the piano, so there was never any official original soundtrack to "Nosferatu." Still, the people who restored it could have done without the tropical island music that couldn't be more out of place in a 1922 German film. They might as well have put a hip hop soundtrack to the movie. I'm serious, it's really that out of place. However, this didn't bother me too much, and it shouldn't bother you. Why? Because it's a silent film. Just MUTE the [darn] thing!
As noted critic Pauline Kael observed, "... this first important film of the vampire genre has more spectral atmosphere, more ingenuity, and more imaginative ghoulish ghastliness than any of its successors." Some really good vampire movies have been made since Kael wrote those words, but German director F.W. Murnau's 1922 version remains a definitive adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Created when German silent films were at the forefront of visual technique and experimentation, Murnau's classic is remarkable for its creation of mood and setting, and for the unforgettably creepy performance of Max Schreck as Count Orlok, a.k.a. the blood-sucking predator Nosferatu. With his rodent-like features and long, bony-fingered hands, Schreck's vampire is an icon of screen horror, bringing pestilence and death to the town of Bremen in 1838. (These changes of story detail were made necessary when Murnau could not secure a copyright agreement with Stoker's estate.) Using negative film, double-exposures, and a variety of other in-camera special effects, Murnau created a vampire classic that still holds a powerful influence on the horror genre. (Werner Herzog's 1978 filmNosferatu the Vampyre is both a remake and a tribute, and Francis Coppola adopted many of Murnau's visual techniques forBram Stoker's Dracula.) Seen today, Murnau's film is more of a fascinating curiosity, but its frightening images remain effectively eerie.--Jeff Shannon