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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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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.9) Introduction
Source:
(p.3) Devil’s Advocates
Author(s):

Cristina Massaccesi

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9780993238451.003.0002

This introductory chapter provides an overview of Nosferatu. Eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu. A Symphony of Horror), which was directed by German director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau in 1922. A compelling example of poetic cinema progressing through secret affinities and correspondences rather than a prosaic story of horrific events and adventure, Nosferatu's chilling advancement towards a tragic climax is built along the lines of what can now be seen as a classic vampire story made familiar to audiences through an infinite number of books, adaptations, and films. However, when it was released in 1922, Nosferatu was an absolute novelty not simply as a horror film but also in terms of Expressionist — and more generally cinematographic — aesthetics and narrative. Its very connection with Expressionist cinema has been widely contested and discussed not simply because Weimar cinema is too diversified and contradictory to fit neatly under one umbrella term but also because Nosferatu presents a series of features and motives that seem to arch back all the way to German Romanticism. Moreover, its inextricable connection with the visual arts makes it a multifaceted and complex canvas, and this underlying complexity is the ultimate reason for its enduring allure.

Keywords:   Nosferatu, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, vampire story, horror film, Expressionist cinema, Weimar cinema, German Romanticism, visual arts

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