Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)

Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror / Terror of Dracula / Nosferatu / Nosferatu, a Symphony of Terror

Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922) - poster

Raiting: 7,9 /10

Genre: Fantasy

Director: F.W. Murnau

Stars: Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim and Greta Schröder

Country: Germany

Release date: 16 February 1922

Length: 96 minutes

"Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens" (1922), directed by F.W. Murnau, is a seminal work in the horror film genre and a masterpiece of silent cinema. This unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" tells a haunting tale of obsession, fear, and the supernatural, set against the backdrop of early 20th-century Germany and Transylvania. The film's eerie atmosphere, innovative use of shadows, and groundbreaking visual effects have made it an enduring classic.

The story begins with Thomas Hutter, a young real estate clerk from the fictional German city of Wisborg, who is sent to Transylvania by his employer, Knock. Hutter's mission is to visit a new client, Count Orlok, who expresses interest in purchasing a house in Wisborg. Unaware of the horror that awaits him, Hutter embarks on his journey with enthusiasm, leaving behind his beloved wife, Ellen. Upon reaching the Carpathian Mountains, Hutter is warned by the locals about the evil that lurks in Orlok's castle but dismisses their fears as superstition.

Upon meeting Count Orlok, Hutter is struck by his host's strange and menacing appearance. As the visit progresses, Hutter discovers Orlok's supernatural nature and realizes that he is a vampire. One night, Hutter finds Orlok sleeping in a coffin, confirming his fears. Meanwhile, Orlok sets his sights on moving to Wisborg and fixates on a photograph of Hutter's wife, Ellen, whom he desires for her purity.

Orlok's journey to Wisborg aboard a ship brings death and plague, with the vampire feeding on the crew members one by one. The townspeople of Wisborg are soon gripped by fear as a mysterious illness spreads. Hutter rushes back to save Ellen, arriving just as Orlok takes residence in the house opposite theirs. Ellen, having read an ancient book about vampires that Hutter brought from Transylvania, learns that a vampire can be destroyed if a pure-hearted woman distracts him until dawn. Sacrificing herself, Ellen lures Orlok and keeps him engaged through the night.

As the first light of dawn appears, Orlok is caught by the sunlight and vanishes in a puff of smoke, defeated by Ellen's bravery. However, the victory comes at a great cost, as Ellen dies from the ordeal. "Nosferatu" concludes with the menace of the vampire eliminated, but the shadow of loss and sorrow remains over Wisborg. Through its pioneering visual style and the haunting performance of Max Schreck as Count Orlok, "Nosferatu" remains a timeless tale of fear, love, and sacrifice, capturing the imagination of audiences for nearly a century.

Top cast - Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)

Gustav Botz

Gustav Botz

Professor Sievers

Alexander Granach

Alexander Granach


John Gottowt

John Gottowt

Professor Bulwer

Max Nemetz

Max Nemetz


Wolfgang Heinz

Wolfgang Heinz

1st Sailor

Trailer - Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)

"Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens" (1922), directed by F.W. Murnau, stands as a monumental film in the horror genre and is a testament to the power of silent cinema. This unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" has managed to create a sense of dread and terror that remains effective even a century after its release. With its gothic settings, chilling atmosphere, and a haunting performance by Max Schreck as Count Orlok, "Nosferatu" is a work of art that continues to influence filmmakers and captivate audiences around the world.

The film's expressionistic style is one of its most striking features. Murnau's use of shadow and light, exaggerated sets, and stark contrasts contributes to an otherworldly aesthetic that perfectly complements the film's supernatural theme. The character of Count Orlok is a visual icon of horror, with his gaunt figure, elongated fingers, and rat-like features. Max Schreck’s portrayal of Orlok is both mesmerizing and terrifying, providing an image of the vampire that is far removed from the suave and charismatic Dracula seen in later adaptations.

The storytelling in "Nosferatu" is economical yet powerful. Murnau's direction ensures that each scene builds upon the last in terms of tension and foreboding. The narrative is enhanced by a strong sense of place, from the eerie landscapes of Transylvania to the quaint, doomed town of Wisborg. The film's pacing, combined with its visual composition, creates a sense of inevitable doom that hangs over the characters and the audience alike.

One cannot review "Nosferatu" without acknowledging its silent film status. The lack of spoken dialogue means that the film relies heavily on its visual elements and the performances of its actors to convey the story. The intertitles are used sparingly, allowing the images to speak for themselves. The score, which has been reimagined and reinterpreted over the years, adds another layer to the film, enhancing the mood and complementing the onscreen action.

In conclusion, "Nosferatu" is more than just a cornerstone of horror cinema; it is a masterclass in visual storytelling and mood-setting. F.W. Murnau's film is as eerie and effective today as it was in 1922, a remarkable achievement for any work of art. Its influence on the horror genre and the vampire mythos is undeniable, and its status as a classic is well-deserved. "Nosferatu" is an essential viewing experience for anyone interested in the history of film or the art of storytelling through visual means.