Historical context of Nosferatu
Released in 1922, Nosferatu: A symphony of Horror was an unapproved German rendition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel. The creators of the film were unable to gain legal creativity resulting in the films minor script changes, such as using the word Nosferatu instead of using the word vampire. The film creators also ensured that Count Orlok, their variation of Count Dracula, was not completely similar to Count Dracula. Instead of creating other vampires, Orlok simply just kills his victims. The film adaption also took place in 17th century Germany rather than Victorian London. However, the creators of the film did not significantly change the plot or characters enough to distinguish it from Stoker’s novel, which resulted in members of Stoker’s family filing a lawsuit against the filmmakers. The court found the creators of Nosferatu guilty and ordered them to destroy all duplicates of the film. However, this lawsuit did little to affect the success of the film as Nosferatu has been referred to as one of the best-reviewed horror movies ever made.
The film’s creators, Albin Grau and Enrico Dieckmann were first inspired to create the film when Grau met a Serbian farmer who declared that he was descended from a family of vampires. Grau and Dieckmann then founded a company called Prana-Film. Grau wanted to represent vampires for the company’s first film, which resulted in the creation of Nosferatu. Prana-Film recruited director F.W. Murnau who gained a reputation in the film world for his expressionistic style. It is noted in the article The Poet, The Physician and The Birth of the Modern Vampire, that the first ever concept of the vampire was created by John Byron's personal Physician, however, Nosferatu was the first movie ever starring a vampire. It has sparked a modern media phenomenon and has even been said to be one of the main influences for the Twilight Saga. Without this film, the popularity of the vampire as seen through the big screen might not have been as successful as it is today.
In class sources:
Bram Stoker's Dracula
The poet, The Physician and The Birth of the Modern Vampire