Nearly a decade before Dracula was released, German expressionist director F.W. Murnau unleashed Nosferatu. Starring Max Schreck as a demented-looking creature of the night—which was more in line with Bram Stoker‘s imagery than Universal’s Dracula—the film was an unauthorized adaptation of the novel. When Stoker’s heirs took Murnau to court, it was ordered that all copies of the film be destroyed. Fortunately, some survived, and it is now a cult classic among horror freaks.
In 2000, a fictionalized account of the making of Nosferatu was released under the title Shadow of the Vampire, starring Willem Dafoe as Max Schreck and John Malkovich as F.W. Murnau. A brilliant film in its own right, Shadow of the Vampire is too often overlooked when one considers the great horror movies featuring the ghastly monsters.