F.W. Murnau's head may still be missing from his grave in Germany, but his iconic 1922 silent-film masterpiece, Nosferatu, is being rediscovered and resurrected by award-winning director, Robert Eggers, with Jeff Robinov's Studio 8 producing. Eggers was awarded the Top Director prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival for his indie horror flick, The Witch, and his love of macabre material should translate well to this new vampiric project.
Set in a charming New England town in the 1630’s, The Witch follows a family who begin to suspect their oldest daughter is a practicing witch following the vanishing of their infant son. . A24 and DirecTV closed a deal in January for the U.S. rights to Eggers’ period piece, rumored to be in the low-seven-figures range.
Studio 8 is currently flush with $1 billion in cash after an infusion of capital to produce six films per year to be distributed by Sony Pictures and plans to make their untitled Nosferatu picture one of their big-ticket releases.
The original 1922 film directed by Murnau introduced jittery audiences to the malevolent Count Orlok, played with frightening dedication by an opium-addicted, real-life blood sucker, Max Schreck. The movie was an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula and Stoker's widow sued to have prints of the film destroyed. This isn't the first time Murnau's horror film has been plundered by producers suffering from remake fever. The 2000 film Shadow of the Vampire, starring Willem Dafoe as the disturbed lead actor and John Malkovich as obsessive director F.W, Murnau, chronicled the troubled vampire production in exacting detail. Nosferatu's cinematic grave was also robbed back in the 1979 adaptation, Nosferatu The Vampyre, directed by the legendary Werner Herzog and starring Klaus Kinski as the fanged, skin-headed creature.
And just in case you believe this reboot bus is making unnecessary stops, a Kickstarter campaign to create a faithful adaptation of Nosferatu was started by filmmaker David Lee Fisher, with the mercurial Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) attached to play Count Orlok, and is currently in the pre-production stage as of early July. Here's an image of Jones alongside a creepy make-up test shot:
According to a Studio 8 press release, this newest iteration will be a visceral retelling of Murnau's sinister silent movie, bringing the horrific vampire of Eastern European folklore back to the screen in the grand tradition of the Dracula legend.
Does this remake of Nosferatu make your blood curdle in anticipation or run cold over yet another unholy Hollywood rehash?