Nosferatu: The Silent Film Everyone Should Watch

Music, supense and special effects


The first thing I initially noticed in “Nosferatu” was the organ music. Organ music is underrated. “Nosferatu” cleverly utilizes music to accentuate actions. For example, as Nosferatu is revealed in his coffin the music suspends or holds notes to reflect the shock that Hutter feels. Music is also used to mimic the chopping sounds of an ax with a cluster of dissonant chords followed by silence. Finally, as the sailor jumps off the ship the organ plays descending notes to that nods to the action of falling. The music helped in some way substitute the lack of auditory dialogue by adding another layer that matched the visuals happening on the screen.

Another aspect of the film that I noticed was the use of suspense. The tavern folk looked scared after Hutter mentions Count Orlak’s castle. Further suspense is built as Hutter reads about vampires in the book “Of Vampires, Terrible Ghosts, and Magic” and a coach refuses to take him across the pass to the castle. Suspense builds at the castle when the Count emphasizes that blood is “precious”, Hutter finds “mosquito bites” on his neck, and Ellen senses trouble from home. These scenes made me excited to see what was going to happen next in the story. In short, suspense is what compelled me to keep watching.

Special techniques are another important aspect in “Nosferatu” since they are used to portray Nosferatu’s vampire qualities. Increased frame speed and dissolving are the most common techniques. The speed is first increased as Hutter is taken on the second leg of the pass to the castle. The next time the speed changes is when Nosferatu places coffins onto a flatbed. The last time is when Nosferatu opens a set of doors to reach Ellen. Nosferatu is later seen to dissolve three times when he is traveling on the ship, moving the coffins once off the ship, and when he dies.

These examples demonstrate Nosferatu’s vampire speed and intangibility. Additionally, levitating the lid of a coffin and directly rising diagonally from a coffin displays more of Nosferatu’s supernatural powers. Special effects are used to convince the viewer that Nosferatu is a real vampire making the film more visually enticing to watch and Nosferatu more of a threat.

“Nosferatu” is able to intertwine music, suspense, and special effects together into its narrative. The movie drew me in. I was genuinely scared for the safety of Hutter and Ellen. I wanted to see if Nosferatu would prevail in the end. After watching “Nosferatu” I can confidently say it is a quality silent movie that should be watched for generations.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store