The other day, I took ink and paper and Count Orlok emerged from the depths of the page.
I remember watching Nosferatu, a symphony of horror (by F.W Murnau, 1922) as a cinephile teenager, when I was 16 or 17. Like most of the German expressionist movies, it is a masterpiece, an influential sublime piece of the 7th art. Maybe it was a little less phantasmagoric or dreamlike than The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari or The Golem, yet it has an enduring appeal, made of horror, accuracy and raw aesthetic due to the absence of elaborate decor or superfluous artifice. These gloomy times we go through could certainly fit in the allegory of the disease spreading everywhere embedded in this film.
Incidentally, Count Orlok, the main character stemming directly from Bram Stocker’s Dracula, was played by the actor Max Schreck, whose surname in German means “Terror”. How apt. He is indeed terrifying.
Klaus Kinski would later, in Werner Herzog’s movie Nosferatu the Vampyre, revive the character, with an undeniable success.
The silent B&W movie of 1922 nonetheless, with the iconic stills taken from as equally iconic scenes, remains a powerful horror one to this day. And this is the image I keep from the movie, along with the final one, where Orlok turns into smoke, struck by the fatal sunlight.
Have you seen it?