Back in 2015, director Robert Eggers followed up his acclaimed first movie, The Witch, by announcing that he was going to helm a remake of the legendary silent horror film Nosferatu. And yet here we are six years later, with 2022 marking 100 years since the original’s release, and the remake still hasn’t hit screens. Could the curse of Count Orlok be the reason behind its incarceration in development hell?
Eggers worries that it might be. The filmmaker was a guest on Bloody Disgusting’s Boo Crew podcast to mark his latest effort, Viking epic The Northman, entering cinemas and opened up the struggles he’s had getting his Nosferatu reimagining out of its coffin. Eggers revealed that it feels to him like the spirits of those involved in the first film are preventing him from getting his version made.
“Nosferatu was something I saw pretty young that… changed my life. I’m just starting to think that [F.W.] Murnau doesn’t want me to make it. It feels like that. It just feels like it’s so hard, and I don’t know why. And I think [Werner] Herzog had the right… because of German history and German cinema history, to make it. And maybe the ghosts of Murnau and [set designer] Albin Grau are telling me… stop barking up that tree. I don’t know. That doesn’t mean that that’s true. I’m just wondering.”
Eggers’ attempt to restage Nosferatu would be the second remake of Murnau’s original, following Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre, released in 1979. There’s also a more tongue-in-cheek take on the story, 2000’s Shadow of the Vampire, which imagines if German actor Max Shreck was really a member of the undead himself. Shadow starred Willem Dafoe as Shreck/Orlok. Interestingly, Eggers has previously stated he’d love to get Dafoe in his version, too — only not necessarily as the bald-headed bloodsucker.
Last we heard, Eggers’ frequent leading lady Anya Taylor-Joy had been cast in the remake, with Harry Styles also attached until he had to drop out of the project. That’s just one of the many roadblocks that’ve stopped the new Nosferatu from happening. But is the movie really cursed, or has Eggers just been watching too many of his own horror films?
While we wait to see if Count Orlok can rise from the dead once more, catch Robert Eggers’ The Northman in theaters now.