Nosferatu | Artopia


A Symphony of Horrors (1922)

A Closer Look

F.W. Murnau shot much of Nosferatu on location in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, using real landscapes and towns and an actual castle. This was unusual for the time and adds a great deal to the atmosphere of the movie. Max Schreck, whose name means "terror" in German, brings a nightmarish quality to the vampire with his rat-like face and long fingers. Murnau, like other expressionist filmmakers, worked on a small budget but his visual genius made up for it.

About the Media

F.W. Murnau's classic horror film Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horrors, starring Max Schreck as Count Orlock, the vampire, is an adaptation of Dracula by Bram Stoker. Murnau did not secure the rights to make the novel into a film and Stoker's widow, Florence, sued the producers and demanded that all copies of the film be destroyed. But like the vampire himself, Nosferatu was difficult to destroy; bootlegged copies of the film remained and by the 1960's it had regained its popularity. Today it is considered a masterpiece.

About the Artist

Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau was a German expressionist filmmaker. Expressionism was a popular art movement in the 1920’s that placed greater value on emotion than realism. As a young man he worked with expressionist theater director Max Reinhardt and learned techniques of lighting, acting and staging from him that he applied to his films. Murnau continued his career in Hollywood but died in a car wreck at the age of 33.


  • Make a list of what you see and hear in the film clip.
  • How does the filmmaker use the elements and principles of design?
  • What is your opinion of the film clip? How does it make you feel?