Sunday, 20 February 2011

Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie Des Grauens

One of the most iconic images in horror movies. As Max
Schreck's count is silhouetted on the wall
image via wikipedia
In 1922 the legendary German director F.W. Murnau made one of his most famous films, Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu, A Symphony of Terror). Regarded as one of the greatest and most important horror movies of all time, the film takes the story of Dracula but changes the names in an attempt to avoid litigation from Bram Stoker's estate (it failed. Many copies of the movie were destroyed at the court's request following Florence Stoker's successful copyright infringement lawsuit). These people, however, seem to be unaware of this film's historical importance. Or perhaps they don't care. Here. We. Go:
I know it was filmed over 80 years ago, but this is pure and utter bore (It is many things, nearly 90 years old for example, but it is not boring. The images of the Count [played wonderfully by Max Schreck] prowling around his castle are beautifully shot and are worth the price of admission alone)! How on earth can people say this is the best scary movie ever made and briliantly filmed and acted i dont know (Because those people have taste? Because those people know what makes a good horror movie?)! 
Firstly, the picture quality is astonishingly bad (It was made in 1922, and most of the original copies were destroyed, with mostly just the copies surviving. What do you expect? Fully HD, IMAX quality film?)! You'd think that with all the new technology available today that someone could make the picture atleast bareable, yet instead it practically hurts to look at (It's not great, but I've certainly seen films in worse condition.). 
The caharcters can NOT ACT (Several things. Point 1, it's spelt characters. Point 2, they are actors. The fictional beings they play are the characters. Point 3, they can act. And they do. It's just acting was different back then. The acting styles were influenced heavily by the stage, so that the audience could grasp the emotions without sound)! its worse then a 5 year olds christmad concert at school, the movements are corny and its all sooooooooooooooooooooooooo terrible! (You know you've got a review when they stick extra letters in to emphasize their point...)
I know you'll read this review and decide to buy it anyway because the overall rating is 5 stars (I certainly hope so. I'd hate to think that someone decided not to watch this film because of your crap review), but trust (Trust what?)....its way over-hyped. (No. You're just a clueless idiot.)
If that wasn't enough, I have more!:
 When I saw all the marketing blurb about this film, I thought it would be pretty good (Then you were shocked to find it excellent?). Modern vampire films are entertaining and exciting (What vampire films? This review is from 2007, so the only ones I can think of are the Blades, of which only the first two are good, and even then they aren't masterpieces. And possibly I Am Legend and 30 Days of Night which are good and okay respectively, but are hardly legendary.), but they very rarely scare me, so when I saw the information claiming that this film "continues to haunt and terrify modern audiences," I thought Nosferatu would definitely be worth a watch (And it definitely is.). 
I was disappointed (Why? Did you forget to watch it?). I'm not going to comment on the quality of filming, special effects or anything because the film is so old and the technology was nothing like today's, so it's not really relevant (Yay. I suppose?). However, I found this film pretty laughable (Less yay. More groan). I thought the fact it was a silent film would add to the creepiness (It does.), but I found that the overacting in place to make up for lack of words just gave me the giggles (You don't want to complain about the effects etc., because they're so old, but you will complain about the acting? Didn't you see my explanation for that? I don't care if you wrote this nearly 4 years ago.)
The storyline of course, was good because it was based on Bram Stoker's novel, published 24 years earlier than this film (Pretty loosely though). But there seriously was no fear factor for me (and I'm a wimp!) (You do realise that the 'fear factor' isn't the be-all and end-all don't you? Stick to Saw in future please). All of the vampire's skulking around, and appearing in doorways, staring out of windows etc, had me clutching my sides in mirth (Then, sir, you have no appreciation for great cinematography). Maybe that's just me, but I'm pretty sure that's not the reaction they were going for when they made this film. (No. But brainless morons weren't their intended audience either.)
Maybe I'm cynical, maybe I've seen too many other vampire movies and read too many vampire books, but there are certainly much scarier things out there than this (Scarier? Yes. Better made? Almost certainly not.). This is not a patch on Dracula the novel - simply because drawing your own imagery from your imagination can be so much more effective (Never, ever compare the movies to the novels. I used to, but have realised it's a fruitless exercise. The film can never match the detail of the novel.). Unless you're a total film buff, or know someone that is, I'd give this a miss. (I bet non 'total film buffs' could find some enjoyment from this film. My brother, for example.)
Well, there's only one stupid review left, so I might as well use it:
While people who have watched a lot of films from the same era as Nosferatu may find this movie a 'masterpiece', anyone who just wants a horror movie to scare the sh*t out of them need not bother (Again, there is more to this film than its ability to scare. Which, I shall concede, has been lessened by the passing of the decades. However, I feel the need to point out [and not for the first time] that shock and gore are not truly scary. Most modern horror movies play for instant shock, rather than true terror and dread that sticks with you after the credits have rolled. And they are much the poorer for that.).I was expecting to be scared senseless, the reputation of this movie is to be one of the best horror movies of all time, maybe that was the case when it was made, but now I would say the average episode of Eastenders is more scary than this (Best horror movie of all time is meant in a technical, and historical importance sense, rather than purely by its ability to scare. Once more I am forced to advise you to stick to torture porn).
This movie is definately only one to be bought only by people looking for a taste of what early movie attempts were like or want to study early german silent movies (Or those, certainly not you, who can appreciate an excellent film, regardless of its age) (despite the fact that the new score at times doesn't seem to be on the same track as the movie). (What's that? A possibly useful point on this particular version of the movie? Deary be.)
Well, at least I managed to avoid any massive rants this time... 

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