When Can We Expect Count Orloks Return?
Nosferatu is a film that never should have existed, yet it laid the groundwork for vampires as we know them today, as well as for the horror genre as a whole. Whether it was known at the time, the film would ultimately become a cinematic landmark whose influence is felt even to this day. Now, 100 years after its release, we may be seeing the legendary Count Orlok return to the big screen in the form of a remake from one of the best filmmakers of the modern era.
While one could argue whether the film holds up by today’s standards, it’s hard not to appreciate it upon rewatch. It may very well have been ahead of its time with its use of expressionism and has influenced certain modern films that we now consider classics. Tim Burton’s Batman is a great example, as well as Alex Proyas’s Dark City. Nosferatu helped to establish horror as a serious genre and is still watched by horror fans today.
You can see it just about anywhere now since Dracula, the novel on which the film is unofficially based, has long since become public domain. Fans weren’t able to see the film for a long time due to a legal dispute with the Stoker estate, the house of Bram Stoker. When the author’s widow had learned of Nosferatu’s existence and its undeniable likeness to Bram’s classic story, she took the studio behind the film to court and won, effectively bankrupting the company and forcing all copies of the film destroyed. It was thought for a long time that Nosferatu would never be seen again, but there was a long-running rumor that only one copy had survived. Thankfully, the rumors were true and the movie was subsequently retouched and distributed legally many years later. You can now see it on YouTube and various other sites for free.
Eggers had expressed interest in directing a Nosferatu film since 2015. It was initially announced as his second film to follow up on the success of the critically acclaimed The Witch. Obviously, these plans never came to fruition. At the time the director expressed reservations about such a big-name film being his second directorial outing, stating that it felt blasphemous and disgusting for a filmmaker of his then lack of experience to tackle the legendary story.
Actress and frequent collaborator Anna Taylor Joy was reported in 2017 in an unknown role, but the casting didn’t do anything to kickstart production as the film has (as of 2022) yet to find a launching point. However, with the release of The Northman, which has been met with praise for its story and attention to detail, Eggers may gain more clout to get the ball rolling on the long-anticipated remake, especially if his Viking epic turns out to be a financial success.
The director has had a great string of films so far. With his unique ethereal film style, he’s the perfect director to capture the mystique of the classic film. But as said above, development has been hard. In fact, he had stated on the podcast WTF with Marc Maron that he had only made The Lighthouse as something to do while still trying to get his Nosferatu remake off the ground. One of the issues he faces is casting. He already lost Harry Styles, who would have played one of the leading roles, due to scheduling conflicts. He’s also stated his desire to cast Willem Defoe but has as of yet been able to acquire the veteran actor. Troubles with the film have been so tenuous that Eggers has even theorized that the ghost of F.W. Murnau, director of the 1922 original film, is trying to keep him from recreating his movie.
Fans can only hope that Eggers can successfully get the ball rolling. Despite the director’s fear that it may never happen, fans should keep in mind that there are plenty of great films that sat in development hell before being made. Eggers is still young and at the start of his career. Also, given how he has gone on record about how important the film is to him, there’s hope. Until then, we wait for good news.
Nosferatu (1922) Official 100th Anniversary Trailer