Just 25 years after Bram Stoker’s Dracula was first published, an unofficial vampire movie adaptation called Nosferatu was released in Germany. The filmmakers were sued by Bram Stoker’s estate and the courts ordered that all prints of the film be destroyed. Luckily for movie history, a few precious prints survived, and it would go on to have a massive influence on all subsequent vampire movies, and horror movies in general.
One of the most chilling chapters in the Dracula book is Chapter VII, which contains the Log of the Demeter – a derelict ship which runs aground in Whitby with the dead captain lashed to the wheel. The log is found onboard and recalls the journey, in which each member of the crew gradually disappeared and a mysterious tall, thin man is spotted on the ship.
In the book, the captain’s log recalls the journey as taking place from July 6 to the last entry on August 4. The ship runs aground on August 8. In the movie Nosferatu, the names of the characters were changed – from Count Dracula to Count Orlok and from Jonathan Harker to Thomas Hutter. This wasn’t enough to save the filmmakers from legal trouble though.
In Nosferatu, the ship does travel from Varna (as it does in the book), but it lands in Wisborg, Germany instead of Whitby, England. July 12th is the date that the following is recounted; “Several coffins, including one containing Orlok, were loaded onto a ship. When it arrived in Wisborg, the entire crew was dead.” And the intertitle comes up saying; “We’ve looked everywhere…not a living soul on board” – as shared by the Dates in Movies Twitter account.
An upcoming movie – Last Voyage of the Demeter – will focus in just on this one chapter from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It stars Corey Hawkins, Aisling Franciosi, Liam Cunningham, and David Dastmalchian. It will be released on August 11, 2023. Robert Eggers is also remaking Nosferatu, starring Bill Skarsgard (Orlok), Nicholas Hoult (Hutter), Lily-Rose Depp, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
While we wait for the Last Voyage of the Demeter, check out our guide to the best werewolf movies.