One of the most commonly viewed horror films belonging to the silent film era, Nosferatu is, without a doubt, a creepy creepy German film. We have all at least seen footage of it, have seen still images of that awful Count Orlok lurching around all wide-eyed and gangly and long-horrible-fingered. Dreadful. But what of the film itself? Well, for those of you not in the know, I’ll tell you.
First of all, is it Scary? I hear you wondering that. And I have to say that it really isn’t all that bad by modern standards. There is indeed a worrying quality that accompanies watching film that is so old, and the monster IS nightmarish in most respects. But it is rather slow-paced and of course never gory or anything. It is basically based on Bram Stoker’s story of Dracula, totally unauthorized with the names changed and some plot details altered just a bit. Actually, I think I read that Bram Stoker’s widow sued them to pieces and it was ordered that all copies of Nosferatu be burned. Obviously, that didn’t happen, and I guess we are just viewing contraband.
Netflix used to have TWO versions of this movie on their Instant Watch List — although if you look it up anywhere, including YouTube, you will find that there are dozens of versions. Dozens and dozens. Well, I watched the “Original Version” (allegedly) and the “Gothic Industrial Mix” (whatever that means). I decided to watch the Gothic Industrial Mix because I had never seen it before. I put on my black lipstick and got out my cutting razor, expecting to hear, you know, Goth Music or Industrial Music while visions of long-dead horrors danced in my eyes and mind. But as I sat in the mausoleum I rented for the occasion, I sat disappointed. The music started and ended with jaunty classical music, but everything in between was boring, lame, and in a lot of ways totally inappropriate and misleading. Gross. At least it gave me more inspiration to whine, mope, and express my dark thoughts in the form of poetry.
From what I understand, there are SEVERAL versions of Nosferatu floating around out there, all with different, totally crappy, soundtracks.The original score, which I think I link later in this article, is played on an organ. It is probably the closest we will get to an appropriate musical accompaniment until Trent Reznor can get off his high horse and create a GOOD soundtrack for this film. That is not something I will ever bother wishing for, of course, unless I can get a proper time machine and find Mr Reznor during that brief time in our lives when he was brooding and sullen without being TOO ridiculous about it. Well, without being unbearably annoying? Well.. Okay if not Trent Reznor, then who should it be, smartypants??
Actually, someone made one featuring just Type O Negative, if you’re into that kind of thing. I imagine this must trip some of your triggers out there, so do please enjoy it as it was meant to be. However, it is like a half an hour shorter than the previous one linked. Why? How? Is it even noticeable? WHO KNOWS.
After being disappointed by the version tailor-made for the Hot Topic kids, I decided to glance at the original version, which I had seen before, but I was curious as to how its soundtrack sounded and if there were any differences. Cats and kittens, it is like TEN MINUTES SHORTER, and also the dialogue and narration cards are all different! Imagine my shock and confusion. Also imagine my angst. My angst was deep and ravens flew around my head. So I watched the Original Version as well. I watched Nosferatu twice in the same night. I couldn’t really tell you how the Goth Mix was able to add in ten minutes in a way that I was unable to detect, so I will attribute it to black magic.
So which version do I recommend you watch? Why, the original of course. The music is pretty intense, but at least it doesn’t distract you with strange music that you were not exactly expecting to hear. Actually, there is also this version that I found on YouTube that is someone’s greatest hits, somewhat seemingly at random because it doesn’t really go along with what’s happening on screen, but whatever. It turns out by the way that I’m not much of a goth after all. God. I’ve caused my black heart to suffer even MORE anguish by this realization. When will it ever end??
Nosferatu is actually a cinematic masterpiece, worthy of being watched, enjoyed, studied. It is spooky and weird in its 1922 German way. Apparently it was BANNED IN SWEDEN for “excessive horror,” so I mean I think that alone makes it worth watching. It is a good story of course, and this is actually the source for the part of the vampire legend that says that they die in sunlight. Before that, I guess vampires were all right by the light of day. At least, this is what I’ve read. I fail in my gothery by also not knowing everything about those vampire folk. Sigh.