No other country has had a bigger influence on the horror genre than Germany. In the early days of film, the rise of German Expressionism had a huge influence on horror and several classic pieces of cinema were created during this period. The films went on to influence Hollywood and golden age of Universal Horror movies benefited from the influence.
Once Nazi Germany came to power, the horror genre died (they were doing to many horrible things in real life) and it never fully recovered until the late 1960’s / 1970’s. The 1980’s saw an underground cult horror / gore films rise although those movies are just nasty. Today Germany pumps out the standard modern horror films much like Hollywood and everyone else.
Today’s pick shocks me by the fact that I haven’t touched it yet for 31 Days of Horror and it’s one of the big classics of horror. F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu was made in 1922 and was an unofficial adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Because Murnau didn’t have the rights to the story he changed the names so Dracula became Count Orlock. The Count is memorable played by Max Schreck and his make-up is creepy and memorable.
Stoker’s widow sued the film company for copyright infringement and won. The result almost wiped the movie off of the face of the Earth. Fortunately film prints did manage to survive and the film can be enjoyed today.
And as an added bonus here is Murnau’s last German horror film before he went to Hollywood and made the brilliant Sunrise.