As I mentioned yesterday, I recently downloaded and watched the movie “Nosferatu”. But before we begin, I must make a clarification. This version of the film is a newer version. Made in 1979, it is based on the 1922 silent film, which is in itself based on Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. What separates this film from the older one is mainly sound, colour, and character names. I would have liked to watch the 1922 version (as well), but this one was all I could find. Being somewhat interested in monster legends, I figured I would be interested in such a film. Indeed, I was interested, but it really turned out to be a mixed bag.
The main plot of the movie is based around three central characters; Jonathan Harker, his wife Lucy, and Count Dracula. Jonathan is sent on a trip to sell a house to the mysterious Count. Dracula becomes enamored with Lucy when he sees her picture in Jonathan’s locket. He then seals the house deal, bites Jonathan, and travels to the town of Virna to claim his house and his new love. The plot is pretty straightforward and easy to follow, but it takes a long time to set things into motion. If you were to cut out all of the artistic filler and montages, the entire movie would probably be cut from almost two hours to about 40 minutes. The movie itself is interesting, but all of the “blank space”, as I’m going to call it, makes it boring to watch through. I watched half, then had to take a break out of sheer boredom. And for the most part, it doesn’t get to the real good stuff until it’s over halfway done.
And how about the characters? Well, our heroes are kind of annoying, actually. John is just annoying in the traditional sense, but Lucy is like something straight out a Shakespeare tragedy. The whole movie I couldn’t stop thinking of how this is like something you would watch in a high-school English class if it weren’t so obscure. But more on that later. There’s this one chracter, Renfield, who is Dracula’s servant, and he’s just so obviously insane that it’s funny every time he’s on-screen. Not to mention near the end, he’s dressed up almost exactly like the Joker, just without the green hair and makeup. One of the other heroes, Dr. Van Helsing, doesn’t even make his real appearance until near the end of the movie. This isn’t a bad thing, as until the final scene, he’s quite a pompous ass.
Count Dracula, obviously, is the real show-stealer. He not only looks rather creepy with his ghostly white complexion and long fingernails, but the way the character is played out, you almost want to see him win. And I was quite surprised (though I shouldn’t have been, he’s freaking Dracula) that while he looks so old and frail, he can lift objects that look quite heavy and sprint around town with the best of them. And the absolute greatest scene in the movie is when he enters Lucy’s chamber while she brushes her hair. We see her doing her thing in the mirror, and the door behind her opens. Only, there’s no-one there. As you probably know, vampires don’t have reflections, but the shadow was cast on the wall, creating a really cool effect, and scaring the shit out of Lucy. It wasn’t as impressive as some of the special effects they do these days, but I liked the scene pretty well.
The other great scene is right at the end, after the Count is killed (again, I was surprised that he just started convulsing violently and died stiff, rather than burst into flames or something), Van Helsing goes and finishes him off, coming downstairs to some dude and the last town worker. The dude insistes the town worker arrest Van Helsing for killing the Count (which nobody knew was the bad guy), but the old town worker keeps saying he can’t, inciting a dialogue that brings to mind the antics of Monty Python. It was quite hilarious, and the ending scenes are all rather funny, in a stange twist of genre.
Like I said before, this is the kind of thing you might watch in a high-school English class, were it not so obscure. It just seems like that kind of movie. There are a bunch of religious references, and a lot of artistic things that teachers would just love to quiz their students on. It was way better than “the Crucible”, that’s for sure. I wish they didn’t bother having every book students read have to be some kind of social commentary. I’d like it if they just went and picked a good work of fiction that really didn’t have anything to do with anything, but still had enough depth and subtext to learn something from. But in any case, “Nosferatu” was a decent movie. I recommend you watch it, but take some ritalin first, or just be ready on the fast-forward button, as the first half is really slow and doesn’t do much but set up the rest of the plot, much like “The Fellowship of the Ring” does for the other Lord of the Rings books/movies. Heck, after the first half, the main character even shifts. Craziness, I say. But it was way freaking better than the last movie I downloaded – “The Village”. That was just awful.
So there you have it. You can find the torrent over at Bi-Torrent.com. Go for it. I believe it was worth my time to watch, if even only for the ending scenes. Now it’s really just a hunt for the old 1922 version. Make sure to tell me if you ever find it somewhere. Oh yes, and the December archive is up as well.