Sunday, May 21, 2023

Nosferatu: Adapted from the Screenplay by Henrik Galeen – review

Author: C. Augustine

First Published: 2020

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: Come, tour the wild hills and deep, black forests of Transylvania with us. Climb aboard the creaking carriage. We're headed to the Borgo Pass, to Castle Orlok, for a night of terror that will leave you screaming for the dawn... In the acclaimed silent film Nosferatu (1922), filmaking (sic) pioneer F.W. Murnau offered to the world what has been described as the most ""realistic"" vampire film ever made.Suppressed (sic) for many years by the estate of Dracula author Bram Stoker, the film was thought, for many years, to be ""lost."" Indeed, it was not lost, but , (sic) like the undead monster that is its subject, rose again from the celluloid graveyard of antique films, to haunt the world once more. Now, author C. Augustine has adapted the script fo (sic) this horror legend as a novel, one calculated to fulfill the gothic dread promised by the original film, and provide the reader with many dark, disturbing dreams.

The review: This was a novelisation of Murnau’s masterpiece, though not a contemporary one rather a modern-day author took that challenge on themselves and I wish I could be more positive about it.

The title suggests that Galeen’s script was the primary source, though some notable moments in the script, missing from the film, do not appear – most noticeably for me the (not so funny) humorous moments that poked fun at Ellen’s expense within the opening. That said, I wouldn’t have added those into a novelisation either. Whether the author actually worked from the screenplay, or assumed the screenplay from the film, I do not know, but there were also noticeable moments that made it to film that were missing, such as Ellen’s reaction to Hutter cutting the flowers – a moment that has significance to the makeup of her character. I did notice, incidentally, naming conventions changing so Hutter is referred to as Jonathan (which was from the American release off the film) and Ruth ofttimes becomes Annie within the same paragraph.

There were moments I found odd – Galeen’s script mentions the hyena but the intertitles of the film make it clear that it is a werewolf and, were I writing a novelisation, I would have dropped the word hyena and brought a veritable werewolf to life within the page. That said, this volume contains the novelisation from page 14 to 93, with a larger font, and spacious typeset. The room that the author had to play with evocative description has been eschewed and the novel is more novella. There were moments added in from Stoker rather than Galeen, I felt, though I understand doing that.

A curious missing piece was the vampire’s encroachment on Ellen first with the shadow moving up the stairs and then the shadowy hand grabbing her heart. The most iconic scene within the film (arguably) and yet it not there (Orlok enters through a window and then chows down) and yet this substance of the vampire as shadow-stuff is so very important.

The typos are an issue also. If you look to the blurb, cut and paste from Amazon, there are typos aplenty and these were also present on the rear cover so this was an issue within the production of the book. I know that indie book creation carries a risk, the low budgets often excluding the hiring of professional editing, but the book itself had numerous typos, including words garbled - for instance page 51 has both "recognixed" and "entracne", which any word processor would have picked up (for this review, Word not only picked the latter up, it autocorrected it).

I can tell that the author has a love for the film and a desire to capture it in prose, but for me it was a failed if brave attempt. That desire to try deserves a generous 4 out of 10.

In Paperback @ Amazon US

In Paperback @ Amazon UK


Khaia said...

More Nosferatu: https://www (dot) youtube (dot) com/ (at) vincentdigianni5872/videos

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Thanks for that Khaia, I'll be sure to have a proper look