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NosferatuA Symphony of Horror$
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Cristina Massaccesi

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780993238451

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780993238451.001.0001

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(p.7) Preface

Cristina Massaccesi

Liverpool University Press

This chapter provides a preface on this book's study of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922). The appearance of Nosferatu in 1922 is the first appearance ever of a vampire in the cinema. The impact of this film has never really been given its proper place in the history of cinema; it represents an articulation of the supernatural that was previously relegated to literature. Nosferatu can be considered an experimental film because nothing like it existed before. Its use of technology and makeup, composition and lighting is so extraordinary that the filmmaking itself is 'supernatural' given the technology of film stock and lighting and cameras/lenses of that period. The fact that Murnau chooses to explore the supernatural and the uncanny using real locations set in Nature as opposed to the artificial world one could create in a studio setting represents a remarkable and visionary turn in how films are made. It is curious to know that at the time Nosferatu was made, the Stoker family felt it a demeaning embarrassment to adapt Dracula to the cinema screen, thus showing how early cinema was looked upon as a 'questionable' art not worthy of well-healed cultured audiences. This only magnifies just how forward thinking Murnau was in making Nosferatu.

Keywords:   Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Nosferatu, vampire, supernatural, experimental film, Dracula, early cinema, filmmaking, horror film

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