Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)

The film that made it all happen, Murnau’s loose, unofficial adaptation of Stoker’s Dracula may not have been the first horror movie (that honour probably goes to George Meliés’s Le Manoir du Diable) but it’s certainly the most influential. So many keynotes of the genre emerge fully formed here: the use of light and shadow, threat and tension, beauty and ugliness, a man in grotesque make-up threatening an innocent girl. And what’s remarkable is that it remains a deeply unsettling piece of work: Schreck’s contorted performance, not to mention that hideous, batlike make-up, may be the film’s most iconic image, but the plague-of-rats scene is deeply unnerving too – we can only imagine how it must have seemed to audiences emerging from the First World War. TH
Dir FW Murnau (Max Schreck, Greta Schröder)

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