"Nosferatu. Does this word not sound like the call of the death bird at midnight? You dare not say it since the pictures of life will fade into dark shadows; ghostly dreams will rise from your heart and feed on your blood."
The opening title of the movie establishes Nosferatu as a word that one dares not speak—such is the power of its evil. And yet, the book in which this warning is contained is notably skimpy on the details of what Nosferatu might be and how exactly whatever Nosferatu is will have the power to instill ghostly dreams that feed on your blood. Never mind, such mysteries will soon be solved.
“No one can escape his destiny.”
Bulwer makes this glib philosophical assertion to Hutter as he hurries along to keep an appointment with his destiny. The suggestion is clear: had something of great significance interrupted Hutter rather than a mere bag of shells from an old man, so much misery for all might have been averted. But fate is fate and there is no realizing the route it takes until after arriving at the destination it has set for you.
"Count Orlok—his Lordship...from Transylvania...would like to purchase...a nice house...in a small town."
Knock is the real estate agent working for the Count. His description of his client and his client’s needs suggests that when evil arrives, it can often go unnoticed, as it passes under the guise of the mundane.
"It will take a bit of effort...a bit of sweat and perhaps...a bit of blood."
A bit of foreshadowing as Knock tries to lure Hutter into going to Transylvania to help with the paperwork required of Count Orlok to put his planned move to Wisborg into action.
“You can’t go out now, the werewolf is roaming the forest.”
An important quote as it relates to the mythology of movie monsters. The werewolf is generally assumed to be a separate beast from the vampire, but here there is the strong suggestion that the vampire is, in fact, inseparable from the werewolf. The vampire here can take on the form of many animals, not just the bat. This quote also serves to refer us back to the idea of being beholden to fate. In fact, Hutter could escape fate if he believed in such things, and took proper caution. But he professes not to.
"The precious blood."
Only after he cuts himself and Count Orlok utters this line in an almost orgasmic delight at the potential for feeding does Hutter seem finally to realize in just what sort of trouble he has landed. For Orlok, the line is an admission of the truth of what he states: every drop of Hutter’s blood is too precious to waste because it is literally the blood of life that sustains his existence. More than that: the quality that makes it so precious is that it is the blood of an innocent, which has the power to keep evil alive in the world. For Hutter, the line is endowed with all the morbidity of one’s worst nightmares coming true before one's horrified eyes.
“Sunrise is far away and during the day I have to sleep, my friend.”
Nosferatu marks the origin of the trope that vampires are deathly allergic to sunlight. The admission by Orlok that he sleeps during the day foreshadows the climax of the film. Traditional vampire lore is vague on the effects of sunlight. In some cases, the rays of the sun merely cause tremendous pain, but the vampire can escape death if he can escape into the darkness in time. A few stories suggest that the sun can cause pain and physical damage, but does not have the power to actually send the living dead back to being merely dead. Orlok’s casual poetry regarding his relationship to sunlight serves to intensify the shock that comes when sunlight is revealed to work a fatal power upon vampires almost instantly.
"During the night Nosferatu clutches his victim and sucks their blood like a gruesome life saving drink."
At last, we learn exactly what the Nosferatu is, and how those dreaded nightmares arise. It must be remembered that Nosferatu was released in 1929, and was instrumental in establishing the lore, iconography and mythos of the vampire. While vampires were familiar parts of European horror folklore, as a trope in recorded culture they were a relatively unknown quantity for much of the viewing audience. Hence, the filmmakers realized that in order to establish the full dimension of the horror of their character, they had to follow up his grotesque physical appearance with information that today is common knowledge, but to 1929 audiences was every bit as revelatory as it was to the characters on screen.
"Blood is life! Blood is life!"
By now, poor Knock has fallen completely under the dominion of his master Orlok. His desire to feast upon the blood of bugs and small animals has led him to be consigned to an asylum.
"Nobody can save you unless a sinless maiden makes the Vampire forget the first crow of the cock. If she was to give him her blood willingly."
A plague is ravaging Wisborg. At least, that is the explanation given for the sudden pestilence of death and devastation gripping the city. What the citizenry do not realize is that the cause of this sudden targeting of their town for terror is its newest arrival. Count Orlok, of course, is the real source for the dark shadow which has been cast over Wisborg, and the book of knowledge indicates that the means of bringing that shadow to an end is literally to be found in the power of sunlight. The quote foreshadows the exact circumstances of Orlok’s final end, which will also end the curse that plagues the town.
Nosferatu Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Nosferatu is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
I saw this a long time ago. Still it holds up well to any vampire flick (Twilight ??) out today. Well that Scooby episode with the vampire was better than Twilight. Noserfatu is a silent movie hence Friedrich Murnau relied on landscape shots to...