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  • Writer's pictureAllan Major

Nosferatu 1922 Detailed Plot Summary: The Original Vampire Horror Classic

Featured Image For Nosferatu 1922 Detailed Plot Summary: The Original Vampire Horror Classic.   Nosferatu 1922 movie poster featuring the silhouette of Count Orlok ascending a staircase
In the shadows of 1922, Count Orlok creeps up the staircase, bringing with him the chilling plague of Nosferatu. Are you ready to face the original vampire?

Nosferatu (1922), directed by F.W. Murnau, is a landmark in horror cinema, presented as a chronicle of the Great Death of Wisborg. The story inspired by German expressionism unfolds through the diary of Johann Cavallius, a historian who speculates that the Nosferatu vampire brought the plague to Bremen in 1838.

Characters in Nosferatu: Key Figures and Their Roles

  • Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim): A young, eager real estate agent, whose adventurous spirit leads him into peril.

  • Ellen (Greta Schroeder): Hutter's devoted and intuitive wife, whose purity becomes crucial in the fight against the vampire.

  • Count Orlok (Max Schreck): The ghastly and sinister vampire whose arrival brings death and decay.

  • Knock (Alexander Granach): Hutter's eccentric and possibly mad employer, with a mysterious connection to Orlok.

  • Professor Bulwer (John Gottowt): A learned academic who draws parallels between natural predators and the vampire.

  • Harding (Georg H. Schnell) and his sister (Ruth Landshoff): Friends who support Ellen during Hutter’s absence.

Plot Summary: The Haunting Tale of Nosferatu

In the peaceful town of Wisborg, Hutter, a young real estate agent, lives a contented life with his wife, Ellen. Their idyllic existence is disrupted when Hutter's employer, the enigmatic Knock, sends him to Transylvania to arrange the sale of a house to Count Orlok. The property in question is unsettlingly located directly across from the Hutters' residence.

Eager yet apprehensive, Hutter embarks on his journey, leaving Ellen in the care of their friends, Harding and his sister. His path takes him through the Carpathian Mountains, where he encounters superstitious villagers at an inn who warn him of the perils that lie ahead. They speak of werewolves that stalk the night, but Hutter, undeterred, continues on his way.

Upon reaching Count Orlok's dilapidated castle, Hutter is greeted by the eerie and cadaverous Count. Orlok’s unsettling demeanor and the castle's oppressive atmosphere fill Hutter with dread. One evening, Hutter accidentally cuts his thumb, and Orlok's reaction—a predatory fixation on the blood—reveals his vampiric nature.

As Hutter realizes the true danger he is in, he discovers Orlok’s sinister plan. The Count, entombed in a coffin, sets out for Wisborg, bringing with him a horde of rats and the plague. Hutter, weakened and horrified, manages to escape and eventually finds refuge in a hospital where he begins to recover.

Meanwhile, Orlok's ship arrives in Wisborg. The townspeople, unaware of the true menace, soon fall victim to a mysterious illness. Ellen, guided by a preternatural intuition, reads from the "Book of Vampires" and learns that only a pure-hearted maiden can defeat Nosferatu by keeping him until after cock crow.

In a harrowing and selfless act, Ellen invites Orlok into her home, offering herself as bait. As the first rays of dawn break through the night, Orlok, engrossed in his predatory act, is caught off guard by the sunlight. Trapped by the morning light, the vampire disintegrates into a puff of smoke, ending his reign of terror.

Ellen's sacrifice saves Wisborg, but she succumbs to the vampire’s bite, dying in Hutter’s arms as the sun rises. The town, though scarred by the ordeal, is freed from the grip of the Nosferatu.


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