Historically, vampires come in three flavors…romantic, tragic and monstrous. Though based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the 1922 silent classic, Nosferatu, eschewed the novel’s romanticism and inherent sexuality to present the first onscreen vampire as an inhuman monster.
Unlike a majority of vampire films which followed in ensuing years, the title creature (chillingly performed by Max Schreck) is rat-like in appearance. Not only that, his victims don’t turn into the undead themselves…they die when he’s finished feeding. As such, Nosferatu is one of the few early vampire movies that can be considered pure horror. Watching the film 100 years later reminded me just how seldom we get truly monstrous bloodsuckers anymore.
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