Max Schreck inhabited the role of vampire Count Orlock so completely in this beautiful nightmare, he inspired a cottage industry of conspiracy theories casting him as an actual vampire. These theories eventually inspired their own film.
Director F.W. Murnau, whose other credits include The Last Laugh (1924) and Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), died tragically in an automobile accident or he would have taken his place among the great German expressionists.
After the estate of novelist Bram Stoker sued to have this unauthorized adaptation of his novel suppressed, a judge ordered the film’s destruction. Thankfully, one solitary print survived or this classic film would have been lost forever. The lawsuit forced Prana Film into bankruptcy, but their innovations to the vampire mythos have had a lasting effect.
This was replaced as my favorite film released in 1922 by Dr. Mabuse, the Gambl
When Ignatius Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) proposes to his longtime girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple), she rejects him, telling him she loves someone else. The next morning, Merrin is found dead and everyone in town, except for his childhood friend Lee (Max Minghella), believes a spurned Ig murdered her.
A car explodes for no apparent reason, and the body parts of its passengers slowly fall to earth.
This short film, directed by Cecil Hepworth, illustrates fear of technology was as prevalent one hundred years ago as it is today and stands as a stark reminder Tarantino and Saw are merely the latest manifestations in cinema’s long fascination with the macabre.
This was succeeded as my favorite film released in 1900 by The Fat and the Lean Wrestling Match.
Francis recounts the time he exposed Dr. Caligari as a murderous sociopath who hypnotized one of his patients to commit his crimes. As he finishes his story, we learn Francis is actually patient at an insane asylum and his account is his latest delusion.