Friday, March 28, 2014

Horror Super-Classics: Nosferatu

Many years ago, when I was in high school, I was like, "I should see that original Nosferatu because it looks creepy as shit." But with less swearing because I was a Mormon teenager. So I went to the local Hollywood Video and rented what I thought was the 1922 classic. But instead it was actually the 1979 Werner Herzog Nosferatu the Vampyre. My sister and I were sorely disappointed and also bored but watched all (what seemed like) 4 hours or whatever. Luckily we have Netflix now and we can watch the 1922 film (also German). We are told that this film has been restored from various old-timey copies. I'm gonna have to read this shit because it's a silent movie with intertitles for dialogue/narration. Full title: Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror.

This tale is An Account of the Great Death of Wisborg 1838. It says something about a "Deathbird calling your name at midnight." Don't say its name out loud! Apparently "Nosferatu" is kinda like Beetlejuice.

Hutter and Ellen, a young couple lived in Wisborg. Hutter has shitty hair and is putting on his tie. Ellen plays with a kitty. It is clearly the 1800s. Hutter wanders about, picking flowers while Ellen sews at home. He comes in and surprises her with a bouquet. They kiss each other's cheeks like affectionate acquaintances. "Why did you kill them?" she asks about the flowers. Hutter meets some old guy on the street who warns him to slow down, "No one can outrun his fate." FORESHADOWING?

Am I right or am I right?
Knock, an estate agent. Rumors. He pays well. He looks like Ebenezer Scrooge and is staring at a piece of parchment that looks like something Charlie from It's Always Sunny wrote down. Knock is clearly evil/greedy/possibly Jewish? This is a German movie, after all. I think Hutter works for him. That's some Bob Cratchitt shit. Count Orlok, from Transylvania wants to buy  a house in Wisborg. Hutter is given the account. It's going to require "a little sweat and maybe...a little blood." Knock is a creep with shifty eyes.

That letter SRSLY looks like a code written by an elementary schooler. Knock's got some eyebrows. Hutter finds Transylvania on a map. Knock says the Count wants an empty house (And?). He points to a giant rundown mansion across the street from Hutter's place. PERFECT. Apparently Hutter has to go to Transylvania to pick up Count Orlok or something: "to the land of thieves and phantoms." Racist.

Hutter is excited about the big job, but Ellen's all sad that he'll be leaving. They kiss awkwardly. He hands her all his coats. Harding, a rich ship owner, and his sister are supposed to look after "anxious" Ellen while Hutter is gone. (*Insert HARDing penis joke here* HEHEH INSERT) Ellen is totes dramatic while Hutter tries to leave. Now we meet the real star of the film, a horse. Hutter puts on a stupid hat and rides him away. Eventually he comes to the foothills of the Carpathians. (Aren't those Star Trek aliens?) This coat kind of makes Hutter's butt look big. He arrives at a rural traveler's inn. He wants his dinner pronto since he's headed to Count Orlok's. RECORD SCRATCH.

The inn's proprietor tells him he can't go further tonight because there is a werewolf in the woods. I think Hutter thinks he's joking. I'm pretty sure it's not a wolf, but a hyena and it scares some horses. Hutter's staying at the inn on a very tall bed. Maybe it's a weird striped dingo? Old ladies shudder. Hutter's bed is super tall for some unknown reason. In his hotel room he finds a book entitled Of Vampyres and Other Phantoms and the Seven Deadly Sins. It talks about Nosferatu, from the "seed of Belial." YESSS Satansperm. Supposedly it lives in caves and tombs and coffins filled with cursed dirt from "the fields of the Black Death." Mass graves? Hutter thinks the book is silly. His tall boots are totes in style now.

Hutter wakes up to a bright, sunny Transylvanian morning. He's apparently very well-rested. He sees horses frolicking in the fields outside. He ties his nightshirt around his waste and basically dunks his head in a giant bowl of water to wash. Hutter hires a carriage outside to take him up to the mountains. They travel all day. The driver stops before the castle and is like, "We don't go any further. We've got a bad feeling about heading over the pass!" Hutter is pretty cheerful about the whole thing and takes his tiny duffel bag to walk the rest of the way. He crosses a bridge and is suddenly "seized by the eerie visions he so often told me [the narrator] of..." Hutter walks up toward the castle, seemingly growing out of a rocky crag.

Talk about a welcome wagon, amirite?
Another carriage approaches, covered in black curtains. A creepy dude has him get in. Even the horses look like they're wearing black KKK outfits. The driver looks tired but has a jaunty feather in his cap. At the castle, the driver points to a tower and drives away unnaturally quickly.

Hutter spots the Count. The Count takes tiny, effeminate steps. He's in all black, holding his hands creepily up in front of himself. Hunched back. Hutter takes off his cap to greet him. The Count's eyebrows are sweet. He says it's almost midnight and the servants are asleep, so he has to let him in himself. The Count is very skinny.


Hutter eats dinner as Orlok pores over a letter written in bizarre symbols. Cool skeleton clock strikes six. Hutter cuts himself while slicing bread. Orlok comments on the "precious blood," grabs Hutter's hand (possibly sucking on the wound), and effectively creeps out his guest. Even though it's late, Orlok wants to keep hanging out since he sleeps during the day, "completely dead to the world..."

Sunrise and Hutter feels better. He apparently just passed out in a chair by the fireplace. Hutter stretches pretty dramatically. I feel that. Uh-oh, Hutter notices two small red marks on his neck, but he's not worried. A lovely breakfast is spread and ready for him. Hutter goes for a walk and grins stupidly at a beautiful view while writing a letter to his wife. Even the bugs that harass him are funny. Mosquitoes--he thinks those are bug bites on his neck. Hutter tries to flag down some barefoot dude passing on a horse to mail his letter. The guy does not want to approach the castle, so Hutter has to go to him. Later: "The ghostly evening light." Hutter's freaked out by the shadows.

He and Orlok are going over paperwork. Hutter drops his photo of Ellen on the table somehow and Orlok is way too interested. He says "Your wife has a lovely neck..." Orlok is pumped to buy the deserted house across the street from them. Back in his room, Hutter consults the Nosferatu book. It "Suckles himself on the hellish elixir of their blood." Also, you should avoid his shadow. Good thing he stole this book from the inn.

The clock strikes 6 and Hutter peeks out of his room to see Orlok creepily standing and staring down the hall. Hutter runs to his bed to hide, I guess. Orlok approaches. The door opens on its own. He walks through the door. Hutter hides under a blanket. Back at home, Ellen awakens and walks out to a balcony on her toes. Harding is smoking a gigantic pipe. I think Ellen is sleepwalking along the railing. Harding saves her and calls for the doctor. Orlok's shadow approaches Hutter.

Ellen wakes back up, screaming Hutter's name. Orlok seems to sense her and maybe doesn't attack Hutter again? The castle's doors have no knobs because they open and shut by themselves. Ellen can sleep now. The doctor says it was just a "mild case of blood congestion." OH, GOOD. Hutter wakes up at dawn, looking a bit worse for wear. He goes to investigate. Through some creepy double doors he finds a basement crypt thing. Oh, a fancy coffin. He sees Orlok sleeping in it because part of the lid is gone, I guess.

Hutter throws off the lid, but Orlok (with his eyes open) apparently doesn't wake up. Why hasn't Hutter run away yet? He's just been hanging out in his room, scared. It's dark again, but he can see Orlok stack several coffins on a wagon, climbs in the top one, the lid puts itself on and the horses run away. Hutter is worried about Ellen. For some reason, Hutter has to use his sheets to escape from his room. He gets scared when he gets stuck to a bush because he is dumb. The coffins are piloted downs a river on a raft. The screen has a blue wash, so I think it's still nighttime.


A hospital. A nun there says Hutter was brought in by some farmers. He wakes and starts screaming about coffins. According to a title screen, Paracelsian Professor Bulwer explained to our narrator some shit about the dirt-filled caskets getting loaded on a ship. There are documents for "6 crates of dirt for experimental purposes." OH OF COURSE THAT EXPLAINS IT. "Experiments." The dock workers open one to check it out. They dump it out and find a bunch of rats under the dirt. Dude gets bit in the toe and starts trying to kill them. More shit about the Professor. Something about carnivorous plants. Prof. shows his students a Venus flytrap. He loves it. "Like a vampire, no?" HAHAHA HILARIOUS.

Knock apparently fell under Nosferatu's spell as he approached. A cop tells some dude that the prisoner has gone mad. The prisoner is Knock. "Blood is life!" he's eating bugs out of the sky in his very roomy cell. The cop's stache is pretty awesome. Knock attacks the warden, but the cop pulls him off. Back with the prof, he keeps showing his students creepy nature shit eating other creepy nature shit. Knock loves spiders now.

Ellen is at the beach thinking about her dude. Lots of crosses at the beach. Is this some sort of beach cemetery? Harding and his sister play a lively game of croquet. A letter arrives. Game over, I guess. The ocean. Sad Ellen on a bench in the wind. They bring her the letter, it's the one from Hutter. The letter doesn't comfort her, it just freaks her out.

Back it the hospital, Hutter insists he's well enough to go home, despite the nun's protests. Ship in the sea. Orlok and his dirt boxes are on their way! Here's Hutter with a horse in the woods, I'm just going to assume it's the same one as before. Lots of sails on the ship. WHO WILL GET TO ELLEN FIRST?! Back in prison, Knock steals a piece of paper out of a guard's pockets while he sweeps. It's a notice warning that a plague epidemic has broken out in Transylvania and in the Black Sea ports. Masses dying. Victims with strange neck wounds. Mysteries. Docks closed to suspicious ships. Knock is pumped his boyfriend/master is making progress. Hutter crosses a stream. Now back on the ship. What is happening with  the captain's sideburns? Is he Martin Van Buren? A barefoot sailor says somebody's "fallen ill" below deck and is delirious. The captain yells at the sick sailor in his hammock. They give him a bit of booze, which he drinks hard. They cover him with a blanket and he goes back to sleep. He wakes up later and sees Orlok's ghost (he's kind of see-through?) sitting on the coffin pile.

Plague eats up all the sailors. Their bodies are dumped into a "Dark, watery grave." Only the captain and first mate are left as they throw another body overboard.The first mate says he's going below with an axe and says "If I'm not back in ten minutes..." WHAT?! The captain has kind of a sickly Wolverine look. Hutter is still horse-riding. The sailor goes down to hack up the rat-infested coffins. Orlok rises from his coffin and raises his creepy long fingernails towards the sailor. He runs away.

P.S. I love his little rat friend here. 
Oh, it's blue again, so I guess it's nighttime and Orlok can come out. The captain is tying himself to the wheel even though it's perfect weather. ?? Orlok approaches him very slowly. OMG scared. FADE OUT. "The deathship had a new captain." Deathship is my new band name CALLING IT.


Nosferatu's breath filled the ship's sails. Weak but determined Hutter continues to race him back to Wisborg. Ellen stares at the moon in a virginal nightgown. Why is she always tiptoeing? Oh, it's sleepwalking again. Ship. Ocean. Waves. Harding's sister finds Ellen who says she must "go to him." Hutter bails out of a wagon somewhere, I guess. Ellen runs out of the house. Knock tries to look out the jail window at the harbor. The deathship rolls in, seemingly abandoned. No one will suspect a thing! "The master is near!" -Knock. He has Krusty the Klown hair. Blue wash; Orlok rises out of the belly of the ship. Knock attacks a careless prison guard and escapes. Narrative screen- dirt boxes from where vampires were originally buried give them power. Nosferatu walks into town, carrying a coffin totes easily like, "What up?" Rats also escape the ship.

Dramatz music. Hutter arrives home to meet Ellen--I guess she ran to their house from the Harding place. Orlok continues to walk with his coffin. Ellen is kind of spaced out but also wants to bang her dude. Orlok walks up to their house and looks sinister as they kiss inside. "Everything will be fine now." ARE YOU SURE, HUTTER? Fade out as they bang. Orlok stands on a boat as it drifts creepily on a canal up to his abandoned new house. He apparates through the door?

At the harbor. Dudes find the dead captain tied to the wheel with the plague marks in his neck. They touch his body like idiots. Is he still alive? Why would they bother to move him otherwise? Okay, JK, he's not alive. Why are the bringing the captain's body ashore? I guess the rats already got out. Some guy in charge has sweet striped pants and a top hat. Another dude finds the captain's log INTERESTING. All about errybody dying. Also, beautiful handwriting. The log says the first sick sailor talked about an "unknown passenger" below deck. Later, lotsa rats.

The Wisborg city fathers: sharp dressers, not sharp thinkers.
So many great plaid waistcoats in this inquiry. Uh-oh, mention of plague! All the dudes are instructed to run home and bolt their doors because germs respect locks. A dude in the street drums. He is going to make an announcement. Municipal authorities say plague victims have to stay inside and can't be taken to hospitals so the disease won't spread.

This wake is gonna be EPIC, bro!
Chalk crosses on doors. Funeral procession. We're trying to figure out how the plague/vampire thing works. Do they get bitten by the rats and get sick so that Nosferatu can get at them? Or is it all straight-up vampirin'? Or does he just like it when everybody dies? Ellen is mesmerized by Hutter's book of "frightening visions." "Better book-burning than book-learning, I always say," says Isaac, who has a PhD and teaches young adults.

Ellen looks like she's either suffering or orgasming as she reads about Nosferatu. An "innocent maiden" has to sacrifice herself to keep the vampire from hiding from the sunrise or something. Can Ellen really be an innocent maiden what with her bangin' her husband? Hutter's like, what up? And she's all, "I'm terrified of the house across the street." WITH GOOD REASON, MADAM. I'd say they should run, but I guess everybody's under quarantine. Harding's sister is upset about some shit. She rings for a servant, but no one comes. Ellen, still fully dressed at night, stares out the window at a procession of several coffins down the street. Ellen's totes going to make sure the vampire doesn't heed "the first crowing of the cock." (Heheh, COCK.)

Town full of fear. Vampire rumors. Old biddies. Here comes Knock, chased by a posse of dudes, nope, just the whole town. Knock appears on a roof, gleeful and throwing shit. The townspeople throw rocks at him and he escapes rather spryly over the other side of the building. Ellen is stitching "I love you" (in Germgerm) on a giant piece of fabric. Knock runs out into the woods and the people run after him. He hides in a field. The people murder a poor scarecrow.

Orlok stares out the window. Same night still? Ellen awakes. She grabs her own boob. Hutter is asleep in a chair, as is his wont. Ellen sleepwalks to the window. Nosferatu is pumped in his own way. Ellen seems to be half-wake. Hutter's got a serious Joseph Smith look happening. Right era, I guess. Ellen throws open the windows to Nosferatu's siren song. She wants it. The D. Or the V, in this case. She covers her eyes as Orlok ventures out. She wakes Hutter, who puts her back in bed. She yells for Hutter to get the professor guy. Is he the same guy as the doctor? I guess maybe back then biologists were all doctors. Hutter runs off to do her bidding.

Nosferatu's shadow up the stairs. Claws to door. Ellen's going to sacrifice the fuck outta herself, but she's scared and clutches her heart/left boob. Orlok's shadow claw grabs her boob.

Hutter shakes awake the professor, whose robe is awesome. Orlok feeds on Ellen. Knock has been found. Cock crow! Keep drinking, Nosferaaaatz! But innocent maiden blood is so goooooooood. Knock is worried about the master while sitting in his prison cell. It's red (morning twilight). Hutter is hurrying back as the sun begins to rise.

Orlok's coat has so many buttons. He's stayed too late! Um, run and hide instead of standing by the window? He disappears into a small smoke pile. Knock knows he's dead and is sad, all tied up. Apparently Ellen's not dead. She wakes up and calls to Hutter, collapsing. He grabs her as she falls and cries and I think is now dead. The professor is chubby and wipes tears from under his glasses.

The "Greath Death came to an end." Sunrays blahblahblah. Nosferatu's castle is now a ruin on the cliff. THE END. Pretty good!

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