F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922) is one of those movies I read about for years before actually seeing it in my early 20s. I had read a comment in a long-forgotten book calling the film “a chilly blast of doomsday” and I had the thought that was probably a bit extreme—until I saw the film and found it to be true. It remains the only horror film that ever gave me a nightmare (one so vivid I remember it to this day). Perhaps I’m overselling the film. I hope not. One thing about Murnau’s unauthorized adaptation of Dracula that cannot be oversold, I believe, is Max Schreck’s vampire, Graf Orlok. This is a figure right out of a nightmare—so much so that legends grew up around it that suggested there was no Max Schreck. Indeed, E. Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire (2001)—which is being screened by the Asheville Film Society on Tuesday, Nov. 16—is an outgrowth of that concept.
Don’t forget—especially those of you who voted for it—that our “new” serial, the 1943 Batman, starts at 7:40 p.m. Don’t be expecting Tim Burton or Christopher Nolan. Don’t even be expecting Joel Schumacher. What you’re getting is Lambert Hillyer and a Columbia serial budget. Also, what you’re getting—it’s from 1943, remember—is Batman vs. Japanese spies. All the same, J. Caroll Naish’s Dr. Daka is one of the actor’s few performances that don’t incite me to violence.