Cinema’s original vampire movie, this copyright-infringing adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is one of the great classics of German expressionist cinema.
“A visual and emotional treat. Schreck’s vampire is truly nightmarish, scuttling from shadows like something you’d really like to see back under its rock.”
Kim Newman, empireonline.com
Two years after a (now lost) version of Stevenson’s Jekyll & Hyde story called Der Januskopf, F.W. Murnau turned to another giant of Gothic literature: Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Unlike the suave, moustachioed count of Stoker’s novel, Murnau’s Count Orlok is immortally embodied by actor Max Shreck as a bald and bulbous ghoul whose emaciated fingers cast fearful, flickering shadows.
Forsaking the highly stylised sets typical of German expressionist films such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), Murnau imparted a sense of dread to a real world of forests, mountains and open sea. Stoker’s widow sued the production company for its unauthorised adaptation, but the damage was done: the vampire had entered the jugular of popular cinema and the contagion is still with us ninety years later.
Hollywood got in on the act in 1931 when Universal Studios cast Bela Lugosi as a more faithful incarnation of the count in Tod Browning’s Dracula.
14 critics voted for this film
|Roger Clarke||Frank Kessler|
|Philip Dodd||Sabine Niewalda|
|Stefan Droessler||Vladan Petkovic|
|Gian Luca Farinelli||Antonia Quirke|
|Christopher Frayling||Fernanda Solórzano|
|Erica Gregor||Susan Vahabzadeh|
|Heather Hendershot||Jason Wood|