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I am ashamed of this, but I have never seen this film. This is one of the OG’s or horror, so I was very excited to start this year off right by watching an all time classic. I know that it’s a silent film, and I am cool with that. I’m mostly excited about the imagery to be honest. It’s awesome to see what was once the top of the food chain. This is film that has been referenced countless times, including in American Horror Story Hotel and Are You Afraid of the Dark. I will be blogging as I watch, so I am labeling that as spoilers. If you wish to just skip that, the last paragraph will be my final thoughts and my rating. Please enjoy.
So this begins in 1838. The writing is in German I believe, so that could make this a tad difficult. Oh, hello English subtitles, come to Big Poppa. So there is a Hutter and his wife, Ellen, and they have a cat and live in Wisbourg, Germany. These are not handsome people. Knock, is a property agent who pays his people well and has a lot of rumors swirling about him. Count Orlok wants to buy a house in their nice town, so Knock wants Hutter to take care of it. Knock’s eyebrows are something to behold. Knock wants him to offer Orlok the house across the street from his, and Hutter is cool with traveling to the land of spectres and thieves, and Ellen seems worried. Oh, and utter has to travel to meet Orlok at his castle….in Transylvania….dun dun dun!!! Hutter has Ellen stay with shipowner Harding and his sister because Ellen is overly concerned. Man, Harding is a dapper looking gent.
Hutter shows up in town at a tavern and wants food quickly so he can get to Orlok’s castle, and the room goes quiet. The great looking barkeep warns him of not going out tonight due to a werewolf. In his room, Hutter finds some literature on Nosferatu, the vampire. The guys taking Hutter on the horses and carriage refuse to go anyplace beyond the pass. They are scurred. This dude dressed very uniquely under a cloak and whatnot, comes and gives him a ride and directs Hutter to the right area. Even the horses got all dressed up. How nice. He arrives and Orlok is pissed at how long he had been waiting. So ends Act I.
Hutter cuts himself while slicing off a piece f bread and Orlok has a raging clue. Orlok explains that he goes to bed around sunrise. Hutter wakes up with 2 tiny marks on his neck and a table full of good eats.Now it is Hutter with the raging clue. Hutter writes Ellen about mosquitos and the bite marks. Hutter is showing Orlok some paperwork and a locket or some picture of Ellen falls on the table, so Orlok is all about complimenting her lovely neck. Now he will buy the house. He’s got a neck fetish apparently. By the way, the clock at Orlok’s is fucking amazing. Hutter checks on Orlok and is creeped out after reading that book again, but there’s no easy way out. Ellen is out and about sleepwalking on a balcony. Ellen is having nightmares about Hutter. Hutter got a note from the doctor about Ellen’s condition, so he wanted to leave at sunrise as he wasn’t doing too well himself. Hutter finds Orlok in the basement or crypt, sleeping in a coffin. He witnesses Orlok get some coffins on a wagon and the horse tow them away with him inside of one. It was cool looking. The cargo gets on a cool raft. Hutter tries to leave. End of Act II.
Some farmers brought Hutter in to a doctor and he had a fever and is freaked out by coffins. The coffins end up on the Empusa ship and are to be taken to Wisbourg, and it is 6 coffins filled with dirt. They inspect a coffin and there’s dirt and rats. The rats attack. We see Professor Bulwer teaching students about carnivorous plants and we see a venus flytrap trap a fly. Knock has apparently lost his shit and is infected and ravenous. Ellen hung out on the beach a lot and seems to be mopey, but gets hype when she gets Hutter’s letter. We find out that there is a plague going around at the very least. Now a sailor has fallen ill. He wakes up and sees a vision of Orlok it appears. All but the captain and a shipmate fell ill during their voyage. The shipmate has had enough as he brings a hatchet with him and tells the captain that he is going below deck for ten minutes. He hacks open one coffin and out come the rats, but then Orlok rose out of his in a great scene. Loved it! Well the dude is spooked and he jumped ship, and the captain pissed and ties himself to the wheel. Orlok goes after the captain. End of Act III.
Hutter is making his way back home. Knock can sense that his master is near as the ship lands in the harbor. Orlok rises from the bottom or the boat, looking creepy and hilarious. Knock attaches a guard. Ohhhh, vampires can only draw their shadow power from the accursed earth that they were buried in. I never knew that. Hutter finds Ellen, they embrace as Orlok is bringing his coffin around with him. It’s a tad ridiculous, but great. The town people check out the ship and find the bleeding captain. So there was a record stating a captain, shipmate, and 5 sailors, and they are all gone minus dead captain. Reading the captain’s notes give them an idea of the crew going nuts. The Professor says there’s a risk of plague and for everyone to go home. A drummer plays in the street and everybody opens their windows and he reads out his proclamation. Oh, they even said proclamation. Basically, they don’t want people traveling or wandering the streets in order to keep this plague under control. End Act IV.
A guy is going door to door to check for people who are alive and marking doors where there are dead ones. Hutter told Ellen not to touch the book, so naturally she has to read it like a jackass. Women….am I right? “Take heede that his shadow not ember thee like an incubus with gruesome dreams. Wherefore no other salvation is possible, but that a maiden wholly without sin maketh the Vampyre forget the first crow of the cock. Would that she give freely of her blood.” So there you have it. She points across the street and sees Orlok just looking out his window staring at them and Hutter is a sad panda. Harding’s woman appears sick. Ellen watches as a line of men are carrying coffins. Knock is running around town like a fucking maniac and the whole town is giving chase. He ends up on a roof so people start pelting him with stones. He climbs down the other side and flees. This whole scene is solid. The people attack a scarecrow as they can’t seem to find Knock who is hiding in a field. Ellen wakes up, grabs hr tit and is in a trance of sorts as she looks over to Orlok. I’m pretty sure Orlok just did the moves to Thriller. Ellen asks Hutter to fetch Bulwer, so he goes a running, and then she gets up to look across the way, but no Orlok His shadow comes up the stairs and he reaches for the handle. That was great. She is clutching her tit in terror. The shadow grabs her tit and she loses consciousness. Hutter wakes up Bulwer and Orlok is biting. Knock has been captured. The cock has crowed while Orlok is feasting, and he looks so disappointed. Knock yells for his master. Ellen’s plan has seemingly worked and Orlok stand up, grabs his tit in dismay as he sees the sun coming up and he disappears, and Knock knows his master is dead. So sad, terrible day for him. Ellen wakes up and yells for Hutter who comes a running. That’s all this guy does in the final act, and she collapses. Bulwer appears to be crying. The great death has come to an end. End Act V.
Final Thoughts – It was very interesting to say the least. The music was really good and kept you interested. The acting was, well it was what you would expect from this era. Some over the top because they had to convey things without speaking. Some of it was a little hokey, but it worked. Max Schreck was really great in his role as Orlok, and Hutter and the captain were both pretty solid. I didn’t really care for Ellen, and I kinda want to blame it on the actress. I don’t think she was very good to be honest. I think Harding’s woman would have been better suited for the role. We’re 5 years away from this film turning 100 years old. Think about that. That’s crazy, but cool. I would recommend this film. Let’s face it, you know the era, you know it’s silent, so you know whether or not you can handle this or not. Some people will be bored to tears and put off by it. The thing is, you know what you are getting into with this and if you sit through it, I feel you will have enjoyed the experience quite a bit.
Rating: 7.0 I don’t even feel that it’s fair for me to rate this film because the criteria is so different. For it’s time, it’s a fucking masterpiece and worthy of a higher number. By today’s standards, it’s very cheesy at times. So no matter what rating I give, I can argue for it to be higher or lower depending on criteria. Just watch it. It’s free on YouTube.
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