Book Review: The Nosferatu Story

The Nosferatu Story: The Seminal Horror Film, Its Predecessors and Its Enduring Legacy
Published by McFarland, 2019. 225 pages
By Rolf Giesen

As a horror fan, I am forever grateful to all the authors out there that decided that they were going to do all this research and study on a particular film, or a sub-genre as a whole, and then put all of that work into a book so that other film fans can learn so much more about them. Whether it is on a specific sub-genre or a certain film in particular, I know that after reading it, I will have a little bit better understanding of the subject matter upon visiting it once again. Giesen’s book on Nosferatu, as well as early German horror cinema, is just that book. You’ll read about a lot of important names that would have a huge impact on the horror genre.

I was a little disappointed when I first started it because it took a couple of chapters before we even started to get into the main subject. But as the subtitle of the book states, you must cover the subject a little before it became something to understand the “why” and “how” it was created, putting a little better perspective on it. Giesen covers director Murnau’s early days, as well as other key players in how our first real cinematic vampire came to life, such as Albin Grau who was the producer and so much more, to the cast including the unforgettable Max Schreck as Graf Orlok, a role that made him as immortal as a real vampire.

There is also a lot of information on the copyright infringement battle that Bram Stoker’s wife Florence fought for several years, winning her case, but not really accomplishing much other than setting a precedence for authors and their work.

The book does go beyond just the film and the influences and legacy of this incredible piece of cinema, and the impact it made back then, as well as a century later. If you’re looking to learn more about Nosferatu, then you need to add this to your library!

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