Find the list here: The Top 250 Films List Total Films Watched: 250/250

Monday, 11 February 2013

#241 - 'Nosferatu' (1922)

"Wait, young man. You cannot escape destiny by running away!" - Prof. Bulwer
At almost ninety-one years old, 'Nosferatu' is most probably the oldest film on the list. I've seen the film before having studied Media in Sixth Form and Media Production at University. There's a lot to analyse thematically and contextually but I'm not going through all that again. It follows the story of Hutter, an estate agent's associate who is sent to Transylvania to meet with Count Orlok. The Count wants to buy a house in the town, opposite Hutter's abode. On his way to the castle, Hutter is met with some locals who seem uneasy to help him. The Count's curious sleeping habits and sudden interest in Hutter's bleeding hand raise suspicions. Is there more to the Count than meets the eye?
Count Orlok. One Count, Ah, Ah, Ah.
I'm am sure that this film was terrifying to 1920's cinema-goers. There is tension and drama built up through the music and the striking visuals of the Count. He is sinister and creepy. The famous shadow scene on the staircase is probably one of the scarier moments - the Count resembling a marauding cross between Lord Voldemort and Wolverine. Knowing that he is there, but only seeing his shadow emphasises the legend of phantoms spoken of earlier in the film. 
Nosferatu's  shadowy adamantium blades.
The other scary shot was on the boat, when the Count is discovered in his coffin below deck. He rises from the coffin from lying down to standing straight up - an impossible feat for any human. I found the majority of the film hilarious. I know I shouldn't have as I should have been appreciating the vintage cinema. But some of the sped up shots and the acting was brilliantly bad. As it is a silent film, all of the 'dialogue' is written on the screen after the character has mouthed what they were saying. It is a concept I couldn't get used to without finding it funny. 
Rise and shine!
This classic piece of horror would have been a marvel in it's time, frightening audiences around the world. Today, it still has it's charms, albeit not being that scary any more. Case in point being that the scariest shot for me was the close up of the spiders scurrying across the web. However, that's just because I'm a big wuss when it comes to all things arachnid.

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