Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Nosferatu (BFI Film Classics) – review

Author: Kevin Jackson

First published: 2013

The Blurb: F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1922), the first screen adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, remains a potent and disturbing horror film. One of the outstanding documents of Weimar culture's dark side, the film's prevailing themes of human destructiveness, insanity, and moral and physical pollution had a stinging topicality for contemporary audiences.

Kevin Jackson's illuminating study traces Nosferatu's production and reception history, including attempts by Stoker's widow to suppress the film's circulation. Exploring the evolution of the vampire myth, both in the film and in wider culture, Jackson exposes how and why this film of horror and death remains enduringly beautiful and chilling today.

The review: A small, pocket size book, this is an interesting examination of Nosferatu and is in a range of books released by BFI. We have looked at a Kevin Jackson volume before, in the form of Bite: a Vampire handbook. That volume was accessible but weighted with opinion, this less so and we have a collection of end notes that includes references and a select bibliography, which are useful for the scholar.

The book explores Weimar culture as a background, the production, explores the film through its acts, the reactions to the film on release and some of the post-Nosferatu careers of those involved along with a look at a few of the later vehicles it inspired. This latter part is very light but not the main point of the book.

All in all, a delightful pocket sized read for fans of the films, with colour pictures through the volume, but perhaps a little light on an academic basis but suitably referenced. 7.5 out of 10 scored as a pocket book, perhaps drop a point or so if looking for a more academically meaty volume.

In Paperback @ Amazon US

In Paperback @ Amazon UK

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