It’s fair to wonder why this Blu-ray release of "Nosferatu," a silent, unofficial "Dracula" adaptation and one of the very first masterpieces of the horror genre, isn’t tied into Halloween. Yet the decision to treat this as more than a formative genre entry is a laudable one: "Nosferatu" is much more, drowning in oppressive atmospheres and perfectly calibrated expressionist visuals, it remains one of the cinema’s most haunting works.
Legendary director F.W. Murnau captured many of the form’s most indelible images in this entry; like that of the title character, played by the creepily slender Max Schreck, creeping up the stairs, represented only in shadow. Kino actually offers us two ways to process these images: either with German or English intertitles (the two versions are included on separate discs, to keep video quality as high as possible.)
Luckily, those images look better than they ever have before: an introduction details the extensive restoration work that was done prior to this release, and it shows in every frame. The detail is downright immersive; the color tinting is no less than tactile. "Nosferatu" has never looked better.
The extras included on the disc further position the release as a prime introduction to the works of Murnau, however, so much as it is the definitive release of the film-at-hand: there aren’t many features included, but there is an almost-hour-long documentary about the man’s work, entitled "The Language of Shadows."Alongside a few promotional materials, there’s another set of must-watch clips: excerpts from a number of Murnau-made silent films, such as "Journey Into Night" and "The Last Laugh." Most special features aim to give you your fill of information about the film at hand - this package, for better or worse (better), will simply leave you hungry for more Murnau.