I don’t know about you, but I love me a Nosferatu. With their shiny bald heads, sinewy claws, and animalistic nature, they are the antithesis of everythingCount Dracula. Gone are allure, seduction, and charm, instead replaced by gargoyle-like beings who only have one thing on their mind; your blood.
With inspiration dating back to 1922, these beastly beings have been cropping up in film and television every few years, when audiences seemingly get tired of the Count’s debonair musings. And if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself fist-pumping every time a new Nosferatu is born.
Here are 13 Unforgettable Nosferatu-Style vampires to sink your teeth into.
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Count Orlok in Nosferatu (1922)
Ah, the OG. Count Orlok is the original silent film star who didn’t need words to make a chilling impression. Directed by F. W. Murnau, Nosferatu is a silent horror masterpiece that introduced audiences to the iconic Nosferatu style. With his gaunt face, elongated fingers, and bald head, Orlok is the godfather of this unique vampire aesthetic. Though some chuck him aside as a Dracula infringer (the film was an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula), we say Nosferatuis a class of vampire all on his own. This groundbreaking character and film continue to influence the horror genre, proving that true terror transcends time.
In the chilling adaptation of Stephen King’s novelSalem’s Lot, directed by Tobe Hooper, Kurt Barlow emerges as the neighbor from hell, literally. This master vampire takes up residence in the small town of Jerusalem’s Lot, Maine, and his arrival spells doom for the local residents. With a bald head, pointy ears, and razor-sharp teeth, he’s the reason real estate prices are plummeting in Salem’s Lot. His bloodthirsty nature, combined with his Nosferatu-like appearance, ensures that this town is one place you’ll never want to call home.
In Werner Herzog’s haunting remake of the silent classic Nosferatu, Klaus Kinski takes on the role of Count Dracula, embodying a pale, ghostly cousin of the original Nosferatu. This film pays homage to the 1922 masterpiece while adding its own artistic flair. With sunken eyes and a haunting pallor, Kinski’s Dracula is the kind of vampire who makes you want to invest in blackout curtains. His mesmerizing performance, combined with Herzog’s atmospheric direction, ensures that this creepy Count is still counting fans to this day.
The Strain, a horror series based on Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s novel trilogy, introduces us to a world under siege by a vampiric virus. At the heart of this epidemic is The Master, an ancient and malevolent force with a thirst for domination. This Nosferatu-style vampire is the stuff of nightmares, having skipped beauty school entirely. With a face that looks like it’s melting and fingers that could double as salad tongs, he’s a modern-day horror icon. His terrifying appearance, combined with his insatiable hunger and dark plans for humanity, solidify his place as a true master of horror.
In the chilling thriller 30 Days of Night, directed by David Slade and based on the comic series by Steve Niles, Marlow is the Nosferatu who never got the memo about being suave and sophisticated. Leading a horde of vampires to the isolated town of Barrow, Alaska, during a month-long polar night, Marlow’s animalistic appearance and brutal nature make him a vampire for the ages. Forget the tuxedo; this guy is all about the terror. His relentless pursuit of the townsfolk, combined with the film’s intense and claustrophobic atmosphere, ensures that 30 Days of Night is a modern horror classic.
In the hilarious mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, Petyr is the housemate who never does the dishes, mostly because he’s too busy eating live chickens. As the oldest vampire in a house full of quirky bloodsuckers, his ghastly face and inhuman features make him the Nosferatu of the group. He may not be the chattiest vampire, but his presence is felt in every shadow. Petyr’s character adds a delightful blend of horror and humor to the film, making What We Do in the Shadows a unique and unforgettable take on the vampire genre.
Max Schreck as Count Orlok in Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
In Shadow of the Vampire, directed by E. Elias Merhige, Willem Dafoe takes on the role of Max Schreck, the actor who portrayed Count Orlok in the original Nosferatu. The film presents a fictionalized account of the making of Nosferatu, where Schreck is an actual vampire hired by the director. Dafoe’s portrayal is a meta-masterpiece, with grotesque makeup and an unsettling performance that never breaks character, even off-camera. It’s a brilliant homage to the original Nosferatu, proving that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, especially when it comes to immortalizing one of cinema’s most iconic vampires.
In Guillermo del Toro’s action-packed sequel Blade II, The Reapers represent a horrifying evolution of the vampire species. Created by the vampire overlord Eli Damaskinos as a new breed, they are the vampires who took the Nosferatu-style and ran with it. Their grotesque features, including a jaw that splits open, make them a standout in Nosferatu fashun. Unlike their more refined vampire cousins, The Reapers are driven by an insatiable hunger, attacking both humans and vampires alike. They’re the horrifying next step in vampire evolution, and they’re not here to make friends.
In the dystopian thriller Daybreakers, directed by the Spierig Brothers, the vampires are the Nosferatu who went corporate. Set in a future where vampires have become the dominant species and humans are farmed for blood, these vampires have taken over the world with their bat-like appearance and predatory nature. They’ve traded in their capes for suits, but they still can’t resist a good neck nibble. They’re the bloodsuckers who make you want to call HR.
In the high-altitude thriller Blood Red Sky, directed by Peter Thorwarth, the character Nadja’s vampiric nature adds a thrilling twist to the Nosferatu style. Aboard a transatlantic flight, Nadja must confront not only hijackers but also her own monstrous instincts as she fights to protect her son. Her struggle between human emotion and vampiric nature adds depth to the legacy of Nosferatu-style vampires. With her fierce determination and unique appearance, she’s the vampire mom you never knew you needed, and she’s flying the unfriendly skies.
The Master in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
In Joss Whedon’s beloved supernatural drama series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Master is the Nosferatu who planned on escaping from his prison deep under Sunnydale to lead an age of darkness. As the main antagonist of the first season, his powerful presence and merciless plans made him a formidable foe for Buffy and her friends. With his distinctive appearance, including a ridged forehead and pale skin, he’s the principal of your nightmares. Though eventually slain by Buffy, The Master left a lasting impression as one of the most powerful and memorable vampires in the Buffyverse, popping back up several times throughout the series. I guess “evil never dies” is true after all.
In the vampy horror film Jakob’s Wife, directed by Travis Stevens, we are introduced to The Master, a mysterious and powerful female vampire played by character actress Bonnie Aarons. With her large-brimmed hat and black cloak, she’s the Nosferatu who knows how to accessorize. Her influence extends beyond mere appearance, as she plays a pivotal role in the transformation of the protagonist, Anne, Jakob’s wife. The Master’s presence and power are felt throughout the film, adding a unique twist to the Nosferatu legacy and exploring themes of female empowerment and identity.
The ailment in On the 3rd Day (2021)(Al tercer día)
If you’re in the mood for a mysterious journey that culminates in a grand reveal, On the 3rd Day is your ticket to a thrilling ride. The Nosferatu-style presence in this film is a well-kept secret, but this movie has flown under the radar for too long not to share. We won’t spoil the surprise, but let’s just say that patience pays off in this one. Buckle up, and enjoy the suspense!
From silent film stars to corporate bloodsuckers, from terrifying housemates to vampire moms at 30,000 feet, the Nosferatu style has taken many thrilling twists and turns. These 13 fanged favorites have redefined horror, proving that being a Nosferatu isn’t just about the looks; it’s an attitude!
So grab your garlic, sharpen your stakes, and dive into these unforgettable films and shows. Whether you’re a vampire veteran or just dipping your toes into the bloody waters of horror, this list has something to sink your teeth into. Happy haunting, and remember: in the world of Nosferatu, style never dies—it just gets a wickedly fun update!