That Time Bram Stoker’s Widow Almost Killed a Vampire (Movie)


Nosferatu, the seminal work of vampire fiction that basically helped invent the idea of the horror movie is widely considered one of the most important movies ever made. Weird then that it was almost deleted from existence by, oddly enough, the widow of the guy who basically invented vampires. Bram Stoker.

To explain, for anyone who hasn’t seen Nosferatu or claims to have seen it to sound cultured and fancy but largely bases their knowledge of it on what they’ve managed to absorb via pop culture osmosis and that one episode of Spongebob where the character appears …

The film is pretty much the cinematic equivalent of a hastily copy/pasted from Wikipedia the night before essay, in that’s it’s literally just Dracula with the names changed. Something the film’s director would somewhat amusingly try to deny, even when lawyers acting on behalf of Stoker’s widow, Florence, were able to produce copies of the film’s poster with the words “Adapted from Bram Stoker’s Dracula” as the tagline.

Anyway, while there are some differences between the film and Stoker’s novel, some of which would become an established part of vampire lore like Count Orlok being killed by sunlight rather than weakened by it – Though admittedly not in as dramatic fashion as later, dare we say, better vampire movies like the Blade series –

The similarities were such that high-powered lawyers working on behalf of Florence were able to successfully sue, to put it lightly, the everloving shit out of director Friedrich Murnau. A court case that actually ended up bankrupting the production company behind the movie, Prana Film, so thoroughly in fact that there was nothing left to pay her any of the royalties she was rightfully owed.

Annoyed, Florence instead demanded instead that ownership of the film be passed to her and then, purely as a fuck you, ordered that every copy in existence be destroyed. Just to be clear, because this is kind of amazing when you think about it, Bram Stoker’s widow once issued a hit on a fucking vampire movie like she was Van Helsing or some shit.

Moving on, the order wasn’t exactly carried out with any precision, let alone much gusto and as a result countless copies survived and after a few years it was near-unanimously decided that Stoker’s widow could go fuck herself.