Tag Archives: Nosferatu

It’s here! It’s here!

My Johnson Smith Company catalog has arrived!!  This is the first time I’ve gotten one in the mail in … 30 years?  35?  (I ordered it on a lark when I wrote that Throwback Thursday post a few weeks ago.)

What a trip!  The mail order company has definitely changed somewhat.  The catalog is far fewer pages now; as you can gather from the picture below, it’s closer in size to those free circulars that you can pick up outside the supermarket.

I was disappointed to see that there are fewer pranks and novelties aimed at kids.  (Whoopee cushions and X-Ray Specs, for example, are nowhere to be found.)  There are far more wares aimed at adults — they include a surprising number of sex toys for both men and women.  (The company adamantly asserts in bold red letters that these items are Non-returnable.)  There is an abundance of pro-Trump merchandise too — check out that “Donald Trump Life and Times Coin & Trading Cards Collection” in the second photo.

Ah, well.  You can still find some cool stuff.  Those “Alien” and “Predator” … “Body Knockers(?)” look pretty neat.  And that Mego “Nosferatu” doll is goddam spectacular.  (I had no idea that the Mego Corporation  was still making toys.)  I don’t know whether its eyes glow in the dark, but I really, really want to believe that they do.

 

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Getting into the spirit of things …

I just need a Halloween horror playlist, though.  I’ve already seen this year’s “Castle Rock” and (of course) the second season of “Mr. Mercedes.”

“Vampire” (1979) and “The Last Broadcast” (1998) both come highly recommended by some horror-fan friends that I truly trust.  I also believe that I have never seen any of the classic Universal Studios monster movies in their entirety.  I’ve watched bits and pieces of a couple of them on television when I was a young kid, including “Creature From the Black Lagoon” (1954) and “The Invisible Man” (1933).  When I was a tot in the very late 70’s, the studio’s Gothic monsters were still very much a part of the zeitgeist … my older brother even had the Aurora model kits.  I finally enjoyed F. W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” for the first time a couple of years ago, but of course the 1921 German film preceded the Universal movies, which re-imagined Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” entirely in 1931.

I’ll probably start first by trying to hunt down a copy of “The Wolf Man” (1941).  That’s the one that other everyone always recommends.

 

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Vintage “Nosferatu” posters.

Just for fun, here are a few images of period-era posters for F. W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu: eine Symphonie des Grauens” (1922).

I’d love to have one (or more!) of these professionally framed.  Anyone aspiring to be my wealthy patron, get right on that.

 

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Nolanferatu’s tip for a trippy vintage horror double feature!

Well there’s one thing I can cross off my bucket list.  (There’s a lot on there, and some of it’s weird.)  I finally saw F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu: ein Symphonie des Grauens” (1922).

And am I damn glad I did!  I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would.  I love plenty of classic movies; “The 39 Steps” (1939) and “To Have and Have Not” (1944) are among my all-time favorites.  But I’m accustomed to modern horror — my tastes generally extend only as far back as “The Birds” (1963) and “Night of the Living Dead” (1968).

I waited until I was in just the right mood.  (This is the first silent film I’ve ever seen from start to finish — the only exception being Mel Brooks’ 1976 parody, “Silent Movie.”)  Then I began it shortly before midnight.

The movie just worked for me. It was sublimely creepy.

I think it helped that the grainy, flickering, black-and-white period footage made this expressionist movie utterly atmospheric for a modern viewer.  These, combined with the shots of Max Schreck superbly made up as “Count Orlok,” were damned unsettling.  Schreck also appeared to be a great physical actor, with his gaunt stance and stilted, inhuman movements.  (Was he unusually tall too?)

The vintage footage also enhanced my enjoyment of the movie in a way that Murnau probably couldn’t have expected.  I know this is strange, but … nearly a century later, the thought that occurred to me several times during this movie was this: “Everyone involved in this production is long dead by now.”  Yes, I know that is a morbid thought — I’ve never done that before!  I think it was just the film itself that did that to me — it’s about undeath and immortality, after all.

It also helped that I’d read Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” (1897), of which this film is an unauthorized adaptation.  The resulting lawsuit by Stoker’s estate is interesting reading: supposedly all copies of the movie were ordered by the courts to be destroyed, bankrupting Prana, the production company.  But a permanent cult following developed for the few surviving prints.

Anyway, I followed this up with the palate-cleansing “Night on Bald Mountain,” the final segment of Disney’s “Fantasia” (1944).  That combination, too, totally worked for me — I followed up the black-and-white nightmare-fuel of the seminal vampire film with some vivid, incongruously hellish Disney nightmare-fuel.

“Nosferatu” is in the public domain.  You can view the entire film on Youtube at the link below.

 

 

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