My favorite scene in Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens is the creepy shadow on the wall as Count Orlok ascends the staircase toward his final victim; it is one of the most iconic images in film and perfectly captures the ambiance of classic horror. In tribute to the simplicity of this still, I kept the artwork as minimal as possible. To contrast the near-black brushwork of the silhouette, I created a graphic background with my signature gradient banding in greyscale. Then I fit everything into an oval with a grainy vignette to sort of fuse vintage and modern into one look and tie it all together.
It's easy to watch Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens today and scoff at how relatively tame it seems within the overall genre of horror ... but one must appreciate the fact that there possibly would be no horror genre at all if not for Nosferatu. It was a true masterwork of expressionist cinema, has inspired countless films, and is still to this day considered one of the greatest horror films of all time. Part of this is due to the fact that it was the pioneer of many "firsts" ... for starters, director F.W. Murnau is credited as having created the cinematic montage in Nosferatu, which has of course become a movie staple. Nosferatu was the first adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic novel Dracula, and a springboard directly into the iconic depiction of Count Dracula that virtually everyone on the planet is wildly familiar with today. Beyond this, it was really the first vampire movie - a strange thought, considering how common the very idea of vampires is now, and has been for as long as anyone can recall. Vampire "lore" has become so broad in its scope that it can now sometimes be fun/funny (see What We Do in the Shadows), and even cute/silly (see Hotel Transylvania and any array of kids' stickers/erasers/you-name-it around Halloween time). But what's cool is vampires can absolutely still be utterly horrifying to this day. And all roads lead back to the original, the one and only Nosferatu.
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