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Erschrecken: The Spine-Tingling History of Deutsche Horrorfilme By: Rosalind Ms. Meghann Papaioannou
1910 -1920’s German Expressionism in Film • “German Expressionism (also referred to as Expressionism in filmmaking) developed in Germany, especially Berlin, during the 1920 s. The Expressionism movement started earlier in about 1905 with the Die Brücke (The Bridge) group, but arose in the filming industry afterward. During the period of recovery following World War I, the German film industry was booming, but because of the hard economic times filmmakers found it difficult to create movies that could compare with the lush, extravagant features coming from Hollywood. The filmmakers of the German UFA (Universum Film AG) studio developed their own style by using symbolism, setting and scenery to add mood and deeper meaning to a movie. (German Expressionism, Babylon. com)” • “The early 20 th century artistic movement known as German Expressionism, which influenced music, theater, painting, sculpture and architecture, was perhaps most successfully realized in the medium of film. Since the movement sought to reflect emotion over realism, many Expressionist movies had horror themes whose fantastic storylines invoked strong emotional responses and granted wide artistic freedom. Also feeding into the horror elements was a dark introspection brought about by Germany's involvement in World War I. (German Horror Movies, Mark H. Harris)”
The Golden Age: 1919 -1933 • "The art form known as German Expressionism has directly influenced the developing film industry of Germany in the 1920's (Meehan, German Expressionism). " German horror movies started booming post World War 1. The underground film industry as a whole helped many people to cope with the traumatic events that were taking place in their life. "The plots and stories of the Expressionist films often dealt with madness, clinical insanity, betrayal and other intellectual topics (Harris). ” • “Initially, the German economy spiraled into inflation, yet the underground film industry remained active. (German Horror Movies, Mark H. Harris)” • “Defeat brought two to three years of social and political turmoil until the Weimar Republic (named after the provincial town to which the postwar government fled to escape the upheavals in Berlin) stabilized Germany. Then the Great Depression of 1929 undermined the fragile economy and democracy, paving the way for Nazism. Yet this short period is known as the Golden Age of German cinema. (The Golden Age)”
Underground Film Industry • Films had to be held on a very tight budget. • “As a nation, Germany has gone through many difficult times and survived two of the largest wars ever to take place on our planet. Understandably, after having endured so much real life terrors, the horror movie genre didn't exactly flourish there following World War II. In fact, it wouldn't be until the 1980's that filmmakers would begin to emerge from the German underground film scene and begin making their mark on our favorite genre. (German Horror Movies, Mark H. Harris)” • The popularization of pre-war expressionism, with its symbolisms projected in painting and set design for theatre, would inevitably penetrate the cinema, and did so for the first time in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Das Kabinett des Dr. Caligari, 1919); it was essentially a movement designed to get away from actuality and to satisfy the desire to probe seemingly fundamental truths of human nature and society by presenting them through fantasy and dramatized mysticism. (Fraenkel and Manvell)”
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Das Kabinett des Dr. Caligari) is a silent horror film created in Berlin, Germany during December of 1919 through January of 1920. It was released in February of 1920. “In this silent, classic example of early German expressionism, this cinematic landmark relates the stylized tale of a Dr. Caligari, a fairground showman who hypnotizes an innocent villager--turning him into a sleepwalking "zombie"--and compels him to carry out fiendish murders. Inarguably a landmark in world cinema, Robert Weine's one-of-a-kind thriller features fantastical, heavily stylized sets, antirealist acting, and evocative subjective camerawork. (Dr. Caligari Movie Reviews)” Directed by Robert Wiene from a screenplay by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer. The most important cast members were -- Werner Krauss staring as Dr. Caligari, Conrad Veidt as Cesare, Friedrich Feher as Francis, Lil Dagover as Jane Olsen, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski as Alan and Rudolf Lettinger as Dr. Olsen.
Das Kabinett des Dr. Caligari - 1919 • One of the most influential of German Expressionist films. • “It abandoned any attempt at realism, depicting the machinations of an evil doctor and showman with his exhibit, a sleepwalker, through bizarre, painted sets and exaggerated costume and acting styles. (The Golden Age)” • German expressionist films were prevalent in the 1920 s. Amongst the most well remembered are films such as The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Robert Weiner, 1920), Nosferatu (F. W. Murnau, 1922), Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927) and Sunrise (F. W. Murnau, 1927). These films were united by highly stylized visuals, strange asymmetrical camera angles, atmospheric lighting and harsh contrasts between dark and light. Shadows and silhouettes were an important feature of expressionism, to the extent that they were actually painted on to the sets in The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. (Strozykowski)”
Robert Wiene • • • Born in Germany in the late 1800’s– Died around the 1930’s. “ Wiene began his career as an actor, but it was as a writer that he began working in German films at the age of 32. His career was virtually brought to a halt with the Nazis' rise to power, and he fled to France, where he died during production of the film Ultimatum, which was completed for him by his friend Robert Siodmak. (Robert Wiene biography)” He died from Cancer. The expressionist sets of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari- all crooked and unreal, as if in the vision of a madman - grotesque make-up and story of a sinister doctor whose exhibit at a local fair, a somnambulist, commits brutal murders by night, terrorizing the township. As the framing story comes to its conclusion, it becomes evident that this is indeed the vision of a madman, told by a lunatic in an asylum, where the curator is the sinister doctor himself. Also directed Orlacs Hände (Hands of Orlac) which also starred Conrad Veidt.
Conrad Veidt • Conrad Veidt attended the Sophiengymnasium (secondary school) in the Schoeneberg district of Berlin, and graduated without a diploma in 1912, last in his class of 13. • He loved theater • He and his second wife, Felicitas, fled Germany in 1933 after the rise to power of Adolf Hitler, and he became a British citizen in 1939. • His most famous role was as Gestapo Maj. Strasser in the classic Casablanca (1942); although he was not the star of the picture, he was the highest paid actor. • [Quote on Das Kabinett des Dr. Caligari (1920)] “No matter what roles I play, I can't get Caligari out of my system. ” – Conrad Veidt
Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror “The classic silent horror film Nosferatu uses the 1897 Bram Stoker book "Dracula" and centuries-old vampire legends to create a frightening fairy tale. (Halpern)” Nosferatu is a modern word derived from Old Slavonic word, nesufur-atu, borrowed from the Greek nosophoros, a “plague carrier”.
Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens “Nosferatu is an unauthorized production based on Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, with enough preserved to recognize, but enough changed to be legal (names changed to protect the innocent? ). Count Orlok’s move to Bremen brings the plague traceable to his dealings with the realtor Thomas Hutter, and the Count’s obsession with Hutter’s wife. Ellen the only one with the power to end the evil. (Nosferatu 1922, the movie). “Murnau was involved in a bitter legal battle with Bram Stoker’s widow in order to create the world’s first Dracula film– one in which he had no success. The Stoker estate continually refused to grant Murnau permission to adapt the popular novel to the screen. ( Charalambous, 205)” “In order to sidestep this legal obstacle, the determined director performed some rudimentary (if transparent) name and plot substitutions. Count Dracula became Count Orlock, England became Germany, and the production of a seminal silent horror film was underway. (Ibid)”
Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens Nosferatu was filmed in Bremen, Germany (in some versions) and Wisborg, Germany. “Hutter (Gustav Von Wangenheim), a real estate agent, is assigned by his employer to travel to a remote castle in the Carpathian Mountains to meet with a prospective buyer. As he travels by horse-drawn coach, he makes a stop at a local inn, where all its inhabitants express their fear and discomfort when Hutter explains his business. Dismissing their warnings of vampirism as sheer superstition, Hutter is determined to complete his mission, and when the driver of the coach refuses to take him to the castle, the Count sends his own transportation. Upon meeting the Count and sealing the deal, Hutter realizes that not all is as it seems and attempts to cut his stay with his host short to race back to Bremen.
Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens Unfortunately, Hutter is held at the castle against his will and witnesses firsthand that his enigmatic client is indeed something much more sinister. Eventually, the Count sets sail for his new home. The ship’s cargo? A stack of coffins. Hutter makes his escape and races to return to Bremen before the Count. The arrival of Orlock and his coffins in Bremen coincides with a devastating outbreak of the plague. The townsfolk come to the conclusion that there may be a connection to this with the Count. Hutter’s beloved, Ellen (in whom the Count has expressed an interest) learns of the Count’s sinister behavioral patterns and reaches the conclusion that he is indeed a vampire. She discovers that the only way to stop a vampire is for a good woman to distract him so that he stays out of his coffin past the first cock’s crow. Her sacrifice not only saves the town but also gives rise to the buried sexuality in Stoker’s tale. This also marked the first time in history, literary or otherwise, that the rays of the sun would prove lethal to a vampire. (Charalambous, 206 -207)”
Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens In one scene of Nosferatu, Count Orlok is driving his horses to his castle very quickly. To show this, Murnau sped up the speed of the film for this scene. “Filmed in the same gloriously artistic wave of German Expressionism as Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920). (Charalambous, 207)” “Sharp-angled scenery and shots of sinister shadows abound. (One shot of the Count’s shadow creeping against a wall, and another of the Count’s rigid form rising from a coffin have become iconic to horror cinema imagery. (Ibid)”
Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens • “Following the release of Nosferatu, the Stoker estate once again sought legal action, which almost resulted in the very extinction of the film. It was effectively withdrawn from distribution, and nearly all existing prints were destroyed. Luckily for fans of cinema (horror and otherwise) a few copies survived. (Charlambous, 207)” • “There are countless available versions which differ in length – ranging from short running times of just over one hour to slightly longer versions which run to a respectable 94 minutes. Similarly, there is variation in the orchestral scores that accompany this silent film, ranging from Hans Erdmann’s original score to more modern compositions. (Ibid)” MEET THE CAST (Main Characters) • Director – F. W. Murnau • Max Schreck – Graf Orlock • Gustav von Wangenheim – Hutter • Greta Schröder – Ellen (Hutter’s wife)
Friedrich Wilhelm "F. W. " Murnau • Real name was Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe. Murnau took his professional name from a town in southern Bavaria favored by noted artists in the early part of the twentieth century. • Born: December 28 th, 1888, Bielefeld, North-Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. • Died: 11 March 1931, Santa Barbara, California, USA. • “While studying art and literature at Heidelberg University , he took part in some student theatricals which impressed the great stage director Max Reinhardt, who offered Murnau what amounted to a six year scholarship to study and work in his, theatre in Berlin. Despite family opposition, Murnau accepted and acted in the company as well as assisting Reinhardt as a director and closely observing him at work until the outbreak of World War I. (F. W. Murnau biography)” • Made twenty-two films from 1919 to 1931 • “During the war he served as a combat pilot, but his plane was forced down in neutral Switzerland he was interned; he managed, however, to direct his own independent stage productions and worked with film for the first time, compiling propaganda materials for the German Embassy. (Ibid)” • “On his release he entered the film industry almost immediately, directing Der Knabe In Blau (The Boy in Blue) in 1919. During the next two years he directed seven more films; dealing with a variety of subject-matter and were filmed in, as far as can be judged, a wide variety of styles. Then at the end of 1921, he started work on Nosferatu, by far the best big screen adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. (Ibid)”
Maximilian Schreck • Born on June 11, 1879 in Berlin, Germany. • “He made his stage debut in Messeritz and Speyer before touring the country for two years appearing at theatres in Zittau, Erfurt, Bremen, Lucerne, Gera, Frankfurt and finally joining Max Reinhart's celebrated troupe of performers back in Berlin. Primarily a character actor due to his gaunt appearance, he appeared in only a few of films before his memorable role in Nosferatu (1922). (A History of Horror)” • “Schreck is the actor's real name. Though the surname means "fear" or "terror" in German--and certainly was an appropriate pseudonym for portraying Orlock. (Ibid)” • It was Max Reinhardt who had introduced Schreck to F. W. Murnau, and the director hired him in 1922 to play Graf (Count) Orlok for the first and only production by Prana Films: Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu; A Symphony Of Horror)--a thinly disguised version of Bram Stoker's Dracula. The company was forced to declare bankruptcy after the film's release to avoid paying copyright infringement costs to Stoker's widow, Florence. The image of Schreck as Count Graf Orlock is easily the most haunting, and his performance as the bald, bat-eared, close fanged Orlock remains one of the most frightening images in film history. • Murnau thought Schreck was naturally ugly and thought it would be easy to transform him into a vampire.
Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979) Remake of F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, directed by Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu was filmed in both English and German versions, but it was filmed just in Germany. • Starring Klaus Kinski as Count Dracula, Bruno Ganz as Jonathan Harker and Isabelle Adjani as Lucy Harker • Starring Walter Ladengast as Dr. Van Helsing • Most of the names in this film are different from the names in F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu. • Originally released to theaters in 1979, Werner Herzog's Nosferatu the Vampyre has never been available on video. However, Anchor Bay Entertainment has recently corrected that oversight by releasing the movie in both an English language version and a German language version (with English subtitles). The movie was originally released by 20 th Century Fox, but their home video department remained deaf as fans of the movie pleaded for its release over the past two decades. Thankfully, however, rights to the movie reverted to filmmaker Herzog at the end of 1998, and now Anchor Bay has acquired the video rights. (The Roan Group has acquired the laserdisc rights. ) (Johnson, video review)”
Werner Herzog • One of cinemas most visionary and controversial directors, Herzog was born in September of 1942 in Munich Germany. Very well known Writer, Director and Producer. (Nosferatu credits)” • “Herzog is being admired for being the only director who was able to work with the late and very eccentric Klaus Kinski. (imdb. com Herzog biography)” • Although Herzog and Kinski worked on several movies together, they had a mutual love-hate relationship towards each other. • Has three children from three women: Rudolph Herzog (born in 1973), Hanna Mattes (born in 1980) and Simon Herzog (born in 1989). • Was once voted the 35 th Greatest Director of all time by Entertainment Weekly. • “Murnau, I consider to be the greatest German director, and Nosferatu the greatest German film. " --Werner Herzog • Only feature-film director to have made a film on every continent. • “If I had to climb into hell and wrestle the devil himself for one of my films, I would do it. ” – Werner Herzog • SOME MOVIES HE IS WELL KNOWN FOR • “Signs of Life" (1968) • "Grizzly Man" (2005) • "Encounters at the end of the World" (2007) • " Mein liebster Feind” (1999) • “Nosferatu, Phantom der Nacht" (1979)
Kinski • Date of Birth: October 18 th, 1926 • Date of Death: November 23 rd, 1991 • “Kinski grew up in Berlin, was drafted into the German army in 1944 and taken POW by the British in Netherlands. He began acting on the stage, quickly gaining a reputation for his ferocious talent and equally ferocious temper. (imdb, Kinski biography)” • SOME MOVIES HE IS WELL KNOWN FOR • “Nosferatu, Phantom Der Nacht” (1979) • “Cobra Verde” (1987) • “Woyseck” (1979) • “Love and Money” (1982) • “Jack The Ripper” (1976) • “Herzog and Kinski pushed each other to extremes over a fifteen-year working relationship, but finally split after irreconcilable differences when filming Cobra Verde (1987). (imdb, Kinski biography)” • Spoke at least five languages: English, French, German, Italian & Spanish. • Personal Quote – “Man muß den Menschen vor allem nach seinen Lastern beurteilen. Tugenden können vorgetäuscht sein. Laster sind echt. (One should judge a man mainly from his depravities. Virtues can be faked. Depravities are real. )”
The Horrors of Spider Island (1960) Ein Toter hin im Netz Alraune (1928) The Hands of Orlac (1924) Orlacs Hände The Student of Prague (1913) Der Student von Prag
Recent Horror Films Andrea Schnass • “Born in Hamburg, Germany on April 1, 1968, filmmaker Andreas Schnaas embraced the cinema at a very young age. Since many of the local theaters in his city didn't care about how young their patrons were, he was exposed to violent martial arts, zombie films, and splatter at a very tender age. The results, as his films portray, are quite unmistakable. Schnaas has become the poster-boy for Germany's ultra-violent horror film industry. (imdb, Schnass biography)” • Parents did not like his choice of entertainment but were supportive because they knew he had tremendous talent. • Shot with his friends over four extremely long weekends, Schnaas' gory tale of "Karl the Butcher", entitled Violent Shit (1987), went on to become Germany's first direct-to-video horror film. Catapulting into an overnight sensation, the film quickly appeared on video stores in America and the rest of Europe. When asked where he came up with such a vulgar title for his film, he once explained that a pen pal frankly told him, "All you're making is violent shit, " and it stuck. • Trade Mark • Excessively violent, over-the-top films. • Nazi characters, symbolism, and concepts incorporated into almost all his films
The Good German “Based on the novel by Joseph Kanon, The Good German takes place in the ruins of post-WWII Berlin, where U. S. Army war correspondent Jake Geismar (George Clooney) becomes embroiled with Lena Brandt (Cate Blanchett), a former lover who is trying to escape her past in the aftermath of the war. Intrigue mounts as Jake tries to uncover the secrets Lena may be hiding in her desperation to get out of Berlin. Tully (Tobey Maguire), a soldier in the American army motor pool assigned to drive Jake around the city, has black market connections that may be Lena’s way out – or lead them all into even darker territory. Jake soon discovers that it is nearly impossible to unearth the truth in a time and place where people are still reeling from the horrors of the war, desperate to salvage their humanity in the shadow of the often unbearable knowledge of what they did to survive. (moviesonline. ca)” • As a nation, Germany has gone through many difficult times and survived two of the largest wars ever to take place on our planet. • This is more of a drama and mystery film, but it shows the horror of WWII. The underground horror film industry in Germany established because people wanted to create movies dealing on real traumatic events such as the world wars.
• • • • • • Other Popular German Horror Movies The Student of Prague (1913) Homunculus (1916) Nachte des Grauens (1916) The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) The Golem: or How He Came into the World (1920) Destiny (1921) Nosferatu (1922) The Hands of Orlac (1924) Waxworks (1924) Alraune (1928) M (1931) Vampyr (1932) The Fellowship of the Frog (1959) The Head (1959) Horrors of Spider Island (1960) Nosferatu (1978) Nekromantik (1987) Violent Shit (1987) The German Chainsaw Massacre (1990) Premutos (1997) Anatomy (2000) Night of the Living Dorks (2004) Alone in the Dark (2005) Antibodies (2007)
Works Cited 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Fraenkel, Heinrich, and Manvell Roger. The German Cinema. New York, N. Y. : Praeger, Inc. , 1971. Print. Horror 101 The A-List of Horror Films and Monster Movies. Vol. 1. New York: Midnight Marquee, Inc. , 2007. Print. "F. w. murnau biography (1888 - 1931) and filmography. " Lenin Imports UK - Latest CDs, Cassettes, Vinyl , Movie, Art Memorabilia In Stock - Art, Rock, Movie & Loads More. Web. 07 Dec. 2009.
Works Cited 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. "Google Image Result for http: //home. dayton. lib. oh. us/archives/lutzcollect/0243 -ex. jpg. " Google Images. Web. 07 Dec. 2009.
Works Cited 19. Nosferatu, Phantom Der Nacht. Dir. Werner Herzog. Perf. Klaus Kinski and Isabelle Adjani. Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc. , 1979. DVD. 20. "Nosferatu the Vampyre. " PLUME NOIRE. Web. 07 Dec. 2009.