The 2020s are going to be a monumental time for cinema. In 2020, the German expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari passed the 100-year mark. On 4 March 2022, this honour was officially passed on to Nosferatu.
Nosferatu is a milestone in more ways than one, and the story of its creation is just as interesting as the story it depicts. While the film is a loose adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, the inspiration for the film actually began with The Great War (WW1). Albin Grau, an occultist who was to become the producer of Nosferatu, said that the idea of making a vampire film came from a conversation he had with a Serbian peasant. The peasant told him about his own experiences with vampires in Romania, known as Nosferatu in the region.
After the war, Grau co-founded the Prana Film studio alongside Enrico Dieckmann. The studio was designed to produce films focusing on the occult and the supernatural. The two have commissioned Henrik Galeen to write the script for their vampire film. Galeen’s previous works at the time included The Golem, The Spinning Ball and Roswolsky’s Mistress.
Diekmann and Grau asked for an adaptation of Dracula, but there was a problem… the two had not obtained the film rights! For this reason, some characters, such as the vampire hunter Van Helsing, were deleted from the story and the main vampire character would be called Count Orlok instead of Count Dracula. The names of the main cast members were also changed.