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Five Clips That Prove We’ve Never Gotten Over Nosferatu

A still from Nosferatu (1922), presented by LA Opera at Ace Hotel

A still from Nosferatu (1922), presented by LA Opera at Ace Hotel

Vampire films have been around forever. One of the earliest was Nosferatu (1922). A visually striking and influential film (a product of director F.W. Murnau’s collaboration with outré graphic designer/illustrator Albin Grau), we’ve never really forgotten this influential piece. The titular character is a rodent-like vampire designed with severe lines and angles. His dome-like bald head contrasts with the almost architectural extensions of his ears and fingers. Actor Max Schreck needed minimal movement to characterize this monstrous take on novelist Bram Stoker’s suave and debonair Dracula. The hauntingly effective character design would go on to influence generations of filmmakers and will likely never stop doing so.

Before seeing our presentation of the classic 1922 Nosferatu at the Ace Hotel, check out five of the more memorable tributes to the Nosferatu character design selected by one of our resident horror experts, Keith Rainville.

Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

There’s an astounding quality to Werner Herzog’s low-budget/high-art remake of Murnau’s film that’s difficult to pinpoint, but it genuinely gets under one’s skin. He chose the path of the faithful update rather than to redefine a film he considered the most important German film ever made, and certainly wasn’t going to alter the character himself. The casting of Herzog regular Klaus Kinski was written in the stars. Kinski’s performance, aided by both color film and particularly sound, sculpts a mewling, hissing and even more repugnant version of Nosferatu. (And for opera fans, he did it amidst a score augmented by Wagner’s prelude to Das Rheingold.)

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