Monday, October 01, 2012

31 Days of Dracula | Max Schreck (1922)



It's October 1 and the first day of the Official Countdown to Halloween. I started early with Casper and the 50 Horror Classics movies, but my original plan was to follow up last year's countdown with a similar theme. Frankenstein is my favorite monster, but Dracula runs a close second place. I identify with Frank, but Dracula is who - in darker moments - I wish I could be. Maybe not the blood sucking part, but his charisma and power are qualities I'm tempted to envy.

So all this month I'll be focusing on a different interpretation of the world's most famous vampire. Some of the entries will be more inspired by Dracula than direct adaptations of him, but I'm sticking to vampires with obvious connections to the original Count and his unique sense of style.

Like last year, we'll do this in chronological order, so the natural place to start is Max Schreck's classic performance in F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu. Technically, Schreck is playing Count Orlok, not Dracula, because Nosferatu changes all the characters' names. But it's a faithful adaptation of Bram Stoker's plot and Orlok is undeniably Dracula at heart if not in appearance.

Schreck is the most frightening version of Dracula ever. He and Murnau gave up charisma for sheer power and horror, and some of the images in Nosferatu are scarier than anything in the last 90 years.

6 comments:

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

I don't know how you manage to juggle all these ongoing posts at the same time. Either way I'm looking forward to this particular thread.

Moncynnes said...

It says something that after years of horror movies, this is the one movie I absolutely cannot bear to watch after dark.

Michael May said...

Yeah, I probably should've done this in reverse chronological order so I could end with the best. There are some great ones along the way, but it's mostly downhill from here.

Erik, thanks! I'm hoping to make it through all three features by not having a ton to say about any of them, but we'll see if I make it through with more sanity than Renfield.

Caffeinated Joe said...

Great idea for the Countdown! Heck you could have called it the COUNTdown LOL... Looking forward to seeing all the incarnations you post. Nosferatu is super creepy, one movie that has really never lost its power to frighten.

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

I certainly hope you do!

I know we'll be seeing Bela Legosi soon enough, but are you also going to be looking at Carlos Villarías in "Spanish Dracula" also made in 1931? Many film fans swear by its quality. If you're unfamiliar with it, heres a quick summary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYOuGJY7ObE&feature=related

Michael May said...

@Joe: "COUNTdown!" Man, I should've hired you as a consultant before I started this. Heck, for the rest of the month, that's what it's called.

@Eric: I've seen the Spanish version and it's better than the English in several ways. I don't remember Villarías' performance being one of them, though. It's good, but it's not as iconic as Lugosi's. The woman who plays Mina on the other hand... WAY better than the English version.

Unfortunately, I'm going to limit it to 31 different Draculas and Villarías didn't make the cut. I'll probably give him a shout-out in Lugosi's entry though.

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