Can a 90-Year-Old Vampire Movie Hold Up in the Era of Twilight?
11.14.12 by Mandy
"Is this your wife? What a lovely throat."
Nosferatu is a classic movie that is studied in film schools and is arguably the first horror movie ever. The story of Dracula interpreted by a member of the German expressionist movement is undoubtedly artistically significant, but is it actually a fun movie to sit down and watch on a dark and stormy night?
The Verdict: With the right musical score, this one definitely holds up, with the wrong soundtrack... meh.
We’ve developed a formula to determine the Longevity Index for a movie and it (sort-of) scientifically finds whether or not a movie will hold up after several years. This is the first time we've tried it with a really old movie, but we wanted to see if the formula would work on a classic like Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror.
P (Plot) = 8.4 With international travel, death, angry mobs, and a creepy snaggle-toothed real estate agent who likes to eat bugs, this one gets a strong score for plot.
S (Script) = 6.8 Since it's a silent movie, this is a difficult one to evaluate in terms of its script, but the flick does convey a sense of eerie creepiness using nothing but shadows, weird makeup, and extreme shoulder pads in the villain's coats, and that is certainly an achievement. The movie deserves points for all that stuff, and here seems a good place to put them.
T (Topicality) = 4 Nosferatu has the timeless appeal of the Dracula story, until the twist at the end that screams early-20th-century expressionist movement.
D (Dated) = 7 This one doesn't have any of those new-fangled effects like sound, so, yes, it definitely has a dated feel. It's also a little strange when everything else in a scene is made to look like it's from the early 19th century and then in walks some chick with a decidedly 1920s hairstyle.
U (Universality) = 70 This classic movie is about love and sacrifice and the undead and the arrival of a monster being confused with an black plague infestation. Maybe these aren't all the most universal themes ever to show up in a movie, but there's enough here that most viewers will find something to connect to.
Nosferatu's LI = 97.
It turns out that Nosferatu sits right at the cusp of holding up or not holding up, and while live musical accompaniment and an audience might push it over the edge into the "decidedly holds up" territory, a free online version with a mediocre score could leave some viewers distracted and a tad bored — while still being fairly creeped out by the super creepy Count Orlok.