Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror
There was a time when cinematic vampires weren’t sexy.
That trend started with Bela Lugosi, who interpreted the vampire as elegant, well-mannered and slightly overdressed. Most of the vampires who followed—those performed by Christopher Lee, Frank Langella, Tom Cruise and Gary Oldman in particular—were equally repellant and attractive.
But the first vampire movie, 1922’s Nosferatu, offered uncomplicated horror. The film’s gaunt vampire, Count Orlok, was played by Max Schreck (his name means “horror” in German) as a stiff and ratlike freak without a shred of humanity, much less sex appeal.
Count Orlok’s face is one of the iconic images of film. I’ve drawn it here as part of a faux movie poster from Art Deco days.