Nosferatu - 2024

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A moment for horror movie fans.....another Nosferatu remake upcoming. I recall seeing the last one at some point, the 1979 version, with Klaus Kinski as the titular vampire. That one was pretty good, although still short of the 1922 original, which was both the first and the strangest of all vampire movies.

The silent 1922 Nosferatu was lost for decades due to nitrate film rot, reconstructed from pieces of un-rotted film and digitally fixed. I have the disk on my shelf now.

It's a big task to think of another Nosferatu do-over, but after The Lighthouse, The Northman and The VVitch (Eggers movies), if anybody is going to get it right, it would be Robert Eggers.

It's a big hill to climb, but we will see...next year.

Will it work? The most legendary of all horror movies? Re-done?



Eggers tackles Nosferatu?

Iím so there!

Not much I look forward to. This guy is kind of interesting. I'm in.



This has been in the news for like 2 years already. Eggers is the only contemporary American filmmaker who could pull it off.



My first introduction to the character was on the Nickelodeon show Are You Afraid of the Dark?. There's an episode ("The Tale of the Midnight Madness") in an old movie theater where they're screening Nosferatu and it comes to life, and it was one of the scariest things I'd ever seen. It was the de facto scary thing I thought about when I thought about being scared for awhile afterwards. I was nine.

They did a pretty good job with it:



(Side note: the fact that Nosferatu comes out of the screen, and that I had a similarly horrified, prolonged reaction to the end of The Ring, suggests there's something about that idea specifically that has always scared me. I'll have to think more about that, as I don't think it occurred to me before writing this post.)

Anyway, this is an origin-story kind of personal fear which has enough distance that I'm pretty excited to see this, either in spite of (or because of?) the idea that it might trigger all that again.

It's a big task, for sure, but I think it's one of those things that's actually ripe for the attempt. It is shocking, however, that even those original images are haunting to this day. It's so easy for horror, in particular to lose its punch a couple generations later, nevermind a century, but the staying power on that character design is something else.



Anyway, this is an origin-story kind of personal fear which has enough distance that I'm pretty excited to see this, either in spite of (or because of?) the idea that it might trigger all that again.
You're just afraid all those users you banned will come out of the screen and punch you in the nose.



It is shocking, however, that even those original images are haunting to this day. It's so easy for horror, in particular to lose its punch a couple generations later, nevermind a century, but the staying power on that character design is something else.
Those images have been around long enough to finally gain an aesthetic property which cannot be acquired by spending any sum of money, antiquity. The real thing. Not some fake old castle they just nailed together. The film itself reaches out to us across a void. A little dated is a little boring. Dated is, at best, quaint; we still get it and laugh at our parents for having been impressed by it. Beyond dated is true antiquity. Ancient, old, odd, stuff that is subtly strange simply for still existing. It does not matter that they just nailed together the set when they made Nosferatu, the film itself is a haunted house.



This may or may not have been what you meant, but what you said made me think of it, regardless: part of the brilliance here is that the monster is decrepit. So if it looks old and flakey and falling apart...well, that doesn't necessarily hurt it. It might enhance it. Ditto for the grainy quality and the distance from the camera and all that. That stuff, that found footage, that analog horror stuff, is in vogue anyway, so it's probably scarier to the culture as a whole than it was even a few decades ago, when it wasn't quite as old.

I think that probably ties into why it has staying power, too: most of the people reading this will be familiar with the idea of the vampire as metaphor for disease, particularly syphilis. So part of our revulsion is the basic human instinct to pull back from disease itself when it gets close to us (which ties into the coming-out-of-the-screen thing, the movement towards you having an extra layer of meaning and threat beyond the obvious).

And yeah, to (I think) build on what you're saying, horror from the 70s or 80s is close enough that we recognize it as a poorer version of what we might create now, but century-old horror is foreign and alien in a way that can make it more sinister.



This may or may not have been what you meant, but what you said made me think of it, regardless: part of the brilliance here is that the monster is decrepit. So if it looks old and flakey and falling apart...well, that doesn't necessarily hurt it. It might enhance it. Ditto for the grainy quality and the distance from the camera and all that. That stuff, that found footage, that analog horror stuff, is in vogue anyway, so it's probably scarier to the culture as a whole than it was even a few decades ago, when it wasn't quite as old.
Yes, it has reached an age where it almost looks like documentary to a modern audience.

I've always said the silent factor is also important. Shreck's vampire and Chaney's phantom are both iconic images, but they could easily be undermined by a weird vocal delivery or dated performance or mismatched voice. Chaney's speaking voice was very American, so it's hard to imagine how he might attempt to play a demonic Frenchman. Luckily we don't have to confront that so we're allowed to imagine what these characters would sound like.
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This may or may not have been what you meant, but what you said made me think of it, regardless: part of the brilliance here is that the monster is decrepit. So if it looks old and flakey and falling apart...well, that doesn't necessarily hurt it.
Ultimately, we're repulsed by death. It's not disease and decay. These are merely heralds. And I don't really mean the creature which should be dead and yet is still animate. I mean rather the image which is still animate. It should be gone, but still is. The Langoliers forgot to eat this one. Death, wearing a mask of death, appears with us as we march along in our perpetual parade of the present. Thus, we arrive at cinematic coulrophobia. It's old and silly, a mere amusement, and yet it still is. And it still moves. We have the toy image of death in the frame, but subtler reminder of death is the distressed image itself. Death is winking at us through, and not in between, the scratches and film grain.

And yeah, to (I think) build on what you're saying, horror from the 70s or 80s is close enough that we recognize it as a poorer version of what we might create now, but century-old horror is foreign and alien in a way that can make it more sinister.
Right, it is old enough to be alien.



You're just afraid all those users you banned will come out of the screen and punch you in the nose.




It will be interesting. Part of what made the old one work was not just how creepy it was, but the fact that it was silent. On two occasions, I've seen the 1922 movie, accompanied by two different live chamber music groups providing contemporary original music and that whole concept really made the thing more creepy than any normal sound production that I would imagine. It was far preferable to someone dubbing in realistic sound. Moving to the new one, do you do sound? It's such an iconic silent movie that it almost seems like it would be like redoing Ben Hur without chariots.

I don't know what dialog you'd put in Orlock's script since the character is so rat-like and non-verbal......nothing like Bela Lugosi and "Good Even-ing".

I also recall seeing Shadow of the Vampire, another Nosferatu spin-off. That one was pretty good, but was more of a a fictional making-of movie, having an actor portraying a character that really exists, preying on the crew. It was pretty good as I recall, but definitely a spin-off and not a remake.



Yes, it has reached an age where it almost looks like documentary to a modern audience.

I've always said the silent factor is also important. Shreck's vampire and Chaney's phantom are both iconic images, but they could easily be undermined by a weird vocal delivery or dated performance or mismatched voice. Chaney's speaking voice was very American, so it's hard to imagine how he might attempt to play a demonic Frenchman. Luckily we don't have to confront that so we're allowed to imagine what these characters would sound like.
I recall seeing images from Nosferatu long before I saw the movie. It was essentially lost for some decades, and subsequently pieced together from sections of film that had not melted or been destroyed due to alleged copyright problems. The estate of Bram Stoker claimed to own the concept of a vampire and won their case, hence copies of the full movie were destroyed, leaving "lost" and deteriorated copies and fragments as the only source. What we have now is the outcome of an extensive restoration process, believed to be mainly complete.



Moving to the new one, do you do sound? It's such an iconic silent movie that it almost seems like it would be like redoing Ben Hur without chariots.
The most high-fidelity remake of the original would be a copy of the original. A shot-for-shot remake, however, would be pointless.




Eggers (worry not, I don't say it with a hard "r") kind of "went there" with the cinematography of The Lighthouse, so who knows? I don't think that a formal requirement of a remake of Nosferatu is that it must be shot in black and white or be a silent film accompanied by an organist in a theater, etc., etc.


BtVS gave it a shot, but they didn't have the stones go silent for the entirety of "Hush." It's a tough sell. Films are supposed to make money and people are kind of attached to talkies these days. Capital speaks and I don't see capital green-lighting a silent movie.



My guess is something that will look a lot like The Lighthouse with sound. And that will be OK. Will there be long Kubrickian stretches without dialogue? Maybe?



The most high-fidelity remake of the original would be a copy of the original. A shot-for-shot remake, however, would be pointless.




Eggers (worry not, I don't say it with a hard "r") kind of "went there" with the cinematography of The Lighthouse, so who knows? I don't think that a formal requirement of a remake of Nosferatu is that it must be shot in black and white or be a silent film accompanied by an organist in a theater, etc., etc.


BtVS gave it a shot, but they didn't have the stones go silent for the entirety of "Hush." It's a tough sell. Films are supposed to make money and people are kind of attached to talkies these days. Capital speaks and I don't see capital green-lighting a silent movie.



My guess is something that will look a lot like The Lighthouse with sound. And that will be OK. Will there be long Kubrickian stretches without dialogue? Maybe?
I guess, I will need to take a peek at the 1979 remake. I saw it years ago, recall Klaus Kinski being "Count Dracula" and looking like Max Shrek, or something like that. I see in IMDB that they also had Lucy, Mina and Jonathan appearing straight from Bram Stoker, so it must have been a hybrid of Stoker and the silent version. Apparently, you can stream it on Tubi or Peacock.

It's an interesting quandary. Any horror fan knows that the original was silent and monochrome, but, if that doesn't seem marketable now, they will need to somehow evoke the creepy, twisted feeling of the 1922 version, but update the technology. That might work, might not. If anybody could make it happen, Eggers seems like the guy.

I see that there is a web page with a bunch of Nosferatu-styled vampires, if you stand all of the ads that pop up on this ad-junk-ware web site, so it's not a unique thought.

https://nofspodcast.com/13-unforgett...in-film-and-tv



The estate of Bram Stoker claimed to own the concept of a vampire.

Bram Stoker's estate claimed to own the rights to Bram Stoker's novel.

Nosferatu is quite clearly based on his novel.

That is the issue. Not that they had dibs on the concept of vampires, which clearly predates both.

Dracula =/= vampires



During these trials, and sensing that her finances would always be fraught, Florence reluctantly agreed to a proposal by actor Hamilton Deane to adapt Dracula into a traveling play for the UK's countryside. Although a laughing stock between critics, the traveling play was sold out in every small town. However, it ignored most of the dialogue from the novel and created an image of the famed count that persisted -- with a tuxedo and a cape.

One of the main changes in Murnau's film included Orlok being killed by sunlight, while it merely affects his skin in Stoker's novel. Orlok is also presented as a grotesque killer whose shadow has a life of its own, unlike the suave Dracula from the novel, who turns his victims into vampires. From then on, the various iterations of the famed count cemented the vampire lore. Stoker's novel presented an image of a changing, conquering, modern world, whereas Nosferatu was a critical view of how the medieval age still corrupted society.

https://www.cbr.com/dracula-nosferat...-vampire-lore/