For the third installment in my Drawn to the Vampire series, I ventured back to the earliest days of cinema, offering my rendition of the infamous Count Orlok, from the 1922 silent film Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, starring Max Schreck.
This one was a blast to work on. Nosferatu is a classic vampire flick, holding a rating of 97% on Rotton Tomatoes (which ain’t too shabby). It’s a must-see film for fans of both vampires and horror. In the case of this movie, the silent nature of the film actually adds to the suspense, and Schreck’s performance as Count Orlok is wonderfully creepy.
This was originally intended to be a Dracula film, but due to issues the German production company faced obtaining the rights, they released the film as an unauthorized adaptation (changing vampire to nosferatu, and Count Dracula to Count Orlok). Stoker’s heirs sued and won, and all copies of the film were to be destroyed. Fortunately for us, some survived.
In 1979, Werner Herzog wrote and directed a stylistic remake of the film titled Nosferatu the Vampyre (or Nosferatu: Phantom of the Night, translated from German). In this version, some of the original names from Stoker’s Dracula were used, like changing the name of Count Orlok back to Count Dracula.
The image of Count Orlok, as depicted above, has been revamped throughout countless media (does that count as a pun?). Vampire: The Masquerade is a tabletop role-playing game (RPG) in the same vein as Dungeons and Dragons. One of the classes of vampire players could choose to belong to was the Nosferatu Clan, and the disturbing character descriptions are strikingly similar to the visage of Max Schreck’s Count Orlok. In 1996, Aaron Spelling produced a short-lived TV series based on the RPG titled Kindred: The Embraced, and in it actor Jeff Kober masterfully played a lead member of the Nosferatu Clan named Daedalus. I loved this show, and it’s hard to saw how long it would have lasted had the lead actor of the series, Mark Frankel, not faced an untimely death from a motorcycle accident.
That should do it for today. As always, stop back soon for the next installment of Drawn to the Vampire!