The Many Faces of Monsters – Part 1
Horror films have gone through a significant number of changes since the dawn of cinema. People have become somewhat desensitised to many of the old tricks of the trade and it’s steered the genre towards a far more realistic direction since the days of old. Perhaps a greater knowledge of psychology and crime has showed us that monsters exist in the people around us, not just in the wood. Of course it’s important to be aware of current social situations in order to scare the masses but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be spooked by the goblins and ghouls of yesterdays tales. Some of the best horror stories in history are about fictional monsters and many of those have made great films, here are a few that are definitely worth visiting to give you a few ideas of your own.
I Want to Suck Your Blood!
There are many monsters to talk about, though none is arguably more popular than the most famous vampire of them all, Dracula. The story was originally told in the book of the same name by Bram Stoker. The titular character is a Count living in the remote mountains of Transylvania, he moves to England in order to find new blood to feed on and spread his vampires curse to others. There have been countless retellings of the story in film, many early versions were unlicensed and as a result have been lost through the destruction of the reels, one of these films however has been salvaged and is now noted as an influential masterpiece of horror cinema. That film is Nosferatu.
Released in 1922, Nosferatu is a German Expressionist movie directed by F. W. Murnau and stars Max Schreck as the vampire, Count Orlok. Much of the names of characters and small details were changed from the original novel as the film was an unlicensed adaptation, the efforts to change the piece however were in vain as mentioned before. Though whoever it was that hid a copy away for future generations is in need of thanks, many spooky tropes were first seen here in this film. The old black and white cameras help create a haunting castle of shadows and Count Orlok has a truly memorable and terrifying look that will still give you the heebie-jeebies now. Somehow it still serves as one of the most original takes on the character, perhaps due to its lack of charm, a characteristic that’s become synonymous with the character. What it lacks in charm though it certainly makes up for in creepiness.
As influential as Nosferatu may be, no image of the character is likely better remembered than that of the 1931 American film simply titled Dracula starring Bela Lugosi. It was here Dracula got his iconic look, slick back hair, smart tuxedo and long flowing cape along with the bizarre version of a Romanian accent that has since been known simply as a ‘Dracula accent’. Though different in appearance, this film owes plenty to Nosferatu, after its early success Carl Laemmle Jr. Saw the box office potential and acquired the rights to create a film of his own. It even contains one of the exact same scenes from Nosferatu. Similarities aside though this is still an excellent movie and worth revisiting for some frightful fun.