History time: In the original folklore, most vampires were short, ugly, Eastern European peasants. Then Polidori creates the character of Lord Ruthven
and suddenly they're all elegant, English, aristocratic and look suspiciously like Lord Byron
. Rymer's Varney the Vampire
gives them fangs and the whole "wandering the world hating what they've become" thing. Then Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla
was written, and vampires suddenly became alluring, bisexual
upper-class gothic girls. Then, Dracula
was written, and they're still elegant aristocrats, but moved back to Eastern Europe, sexy and deadly
, outwardly beautiful yet disguising an inner corruption. Thus, horror turned to fetish, and pop culture... ahem
... the world was never the same again. And we all know what happened since
In the early 1920s, F.W. Murnau had a great idea. Since the German Expressionist
movement was all about stylization, why not apply this to vampires? Why not create a vampire that looks exactly like what he is
: a parasitic bloodsucker? And so, Nosferatu
got made, and very nearly
But Murnau's character, Orlok, played by scary-ass stage actor Max Schreck, has become one of the most iconic vampires ever, and has spawned a flock of imitators
, typically used as a contrast to the elegant, pretty vampires, who for some reason
are more likely to be treated sympathetically
, or at least respectfully
In order to qualify as a character who Looks Like Orlok, they must possess some combination of the following:
Part of Murnau's intention was to make Orlok look like the plague
to which he is explicitly compared throughout the film.
A form of Our Vampires Are Different
; see also Classical Movie Vampire
(resembling Bela Lugosi
, who codified the look). Compare Looks Like Cesare
. Also known for their Pivotal Wake-up
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- Count Chocula, the spokes-vampire for General Mills' chocolate/marshmallow cereal, isn't purely this trope — he has the Lugosian dark hair and widows's peak and tidy, aristocratic clothing, but he has the pointed ears, extra-long fingers with claw-like nails, narrow, hooked nose, and pointy little rat-fangs in place of his incisors rather than as canine teeth. He really owes more to Orlok than to Lugosi.
Anime and Manga
- Hellsing, the antagonist Incognito's appearance seems to be based on that of Count Orlok. By contrast, Alucard is based on the more popular imagery of the suave Dracula. Then again, Alucard is Dracula.
- Black Cat gives us Preta Ghoul. He used to have hair, though, until it rotted out.
- The lizard chimera Bido of Fullmetal Alchemist is completely bald (with a speckled head) and has the requisite pale skin, hooked nose and sharp teeth, and he furthers the similarity by the cloak he always wears, so he can hide from normal humans. Granted, he also has a rather large tail.
- Abidani of Gamble Fish. He's a vindictive, macabre, sadistic character with a bald head, a very angular face, spindly limbs, a hooked nose, elf ears, a slight hunch and spiky teeth. This appearance was caused due to Abidani being nearly electrocuted to death by an electric chair as a young man.
- Dr. Sivana the Mad Scientist from the Shazam comic books.
- Moloch from Watchmen, especially after he gets cancer.
- Count Ambrosio from The Unwritten.
- In a Jhonen Vasquez comic, an angsty teenage boy desperately wishes to be made a real vampire— and his wish is granted by one. Instead of becoming a hip and stylish regent of the night, though, he gains a hideous form whose oversized bald cranium and tusk-like fangs only keep growing as he drinks blood. The final page shows him far into the future, with a head the size of a van, watching TV and thinking "That fucking vampire."
- The Carnival Geek Cannibal version of The Vulture in Spider-Man: Noir is based on Orlok.
- A short Sam & Max: Freelance Police Halloween comic featured what might be Orlok himself as the villain. Sam kicks him in the face.
- The vampire in the Cal McDonald miniseries Two Red Eyes is a homage Orlok and is known only by the name Nosferatu.
- In The Punisher's "Franken-Castle" arc, artist Tony Moore drew Morbius a little more like this than he's usually portrayed.
- The Watchmen/Dracula Fusion Fic Bram Stokers Ozymandias features a vampiric version of Adrian Veidt who looks a bit like this (though with pointed canines instead of incisors, a full head of hair even if it's a bit thin, and an age-related stoop rather than a real hump) before he regenerates to his handsome, canon form.
- The Strangers from Dark City, while not as facially deformed as Orlock himself, do strongly give off the same impression with their pallor, baldness and eerie movements.
- Riff-Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show was partly patterned after Orlok - dark overcoat, balding, thin features and a hunchback. Richard O'Brien would later play the creepy Orlok-alike Mister Hand in Dark City.
- Werner Herzog's movie Nosferatu The Vampyre, staring Klaus Kinski, which is sort of a remake, keeps this character design, but changes Orlok's name back to Dracula.
- Shadow of the Vampire: Willam Dafoe as Max Schreck playing Orlok, but he really looks like that because he really is a vampire.
- The Reapers from Blade II, formed by a plague within the vampire community. The plague turns the sexy normal vampires into Orlok style monsters.
- Freddy Krueger's appearance in A Nightmare on Elm Street is somewhat based off of this. In fact, Robert Englund even once stated that he based some of Freddy's movements on Orlok's.
- The vampire in the 1979 TV movie version of Stephen King's Salem's Lot.
- The vampires of 30 Days of Night are a successful balance of a Nosferatu-like vampire and the prevalent "pretty" vampire, so much so they seem to have sparked a revival of the former appearance. They have black pupils, pasty-white skin, claws, and shark-like teeth.
- One of the running gags in the MSTing of Escape 2000 is that the main female character looks like Orlok.
- The mutated vampires from Daybreakers seem to be heading in this direction. Lack of blood in their diet causes them to revert to a feral state indicated by loss of hair, bulbous head, elongated face, pointy ears, and growth of claws. Of course, these are accompanied by several non-Orlok characteristics like loss of higher brain function, and even arms devolving into wings in extreme cases.
- In Van Helsing, Dracula and his wives all play out the One-Winged Angel trope and can transform from their good-looking normal appearance into bat monsters. In the case of Dracula himself, his "true form" is an Orlok-looking creature with bat wings.
- The chief librarian of the monastery in The Name of the Rose looks like Orlok. It's set in The Dung Ages, so all the ugliest monks seem to wield high influence.
- The makers of Star Trek: Nemesis were going for this look for the Remans. They ended up looking like Bat Boy.
- In The Lord of the Rings, Gollum looks like a wet version of this.
- The night-terror creatures in They have heads that Look Like Orlok, while their bodies are even more extreme in their bestial, spindly twistedness.
- Timothy Spall's Peter Pettigrew in Harry Potter has elements of this, though he's only balding and he ditches the longcoat for a much-less-impressive cheap suit. He's The Renfield, and the character, like Orlock, is associated with rats, so it's kinda fitting.
- Nicolas Cage does a rather impressive physical impression of Orlok in the movie Vampire's Kiss.
- The pau'an species, as seen in the Star Wars prequels, are obviously based on Orlok's looks; though in a subversion of the expected demeanour they're actually a very decent people, who usually do their best to take the more moral side in a conflict.
- Radu, from Subspecies, looks like Orlok with long hair. Sort of like the bastard child of Orlok and Wiseau.
- Dracula's brides in House of the Wolf Man are explicitly based on the trope's namesake.
- Gru from Despicable Me looks like a taller and more rotund Orlok with a scarf.
- The Penguin in Batman Returns, though shorter and stouter than most examples, shares Orlok's sunken eyes, elongated nose, pointy fingers, and hunch, although he's more clearly modeled on Dr. Caligari.
- In Day Breakers, most of the world's population are now vampires. Unfortunately, that means the human blood is running out. Most vampires are the pretty or at least normal human-looking type, but blood deprivation causes the body and brain to deteriorate, making you look less like Lestat and more like Orlok. By this point you're a barely-sentient animal who will attack human and vampire alike for blood. Vampires in this state are called "subsiders."
- The Elder Vampire from Dracula Untold, is bald, white-skinned, has pointy teeth, and long claws. He lacks the elongated nose, but other than that he's pretty much Count Orlok. Subverted in the present-day epilogue, where he's still the same ancient vampire, but has reverted to or assumed his fully human appearance.
- To some extent, Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events is a non-vampiric example.
- Jean Mark for Dora Wilk Series, who tries to look like "classic" vampire despite the fact that in setting, Vampires Are Sex Gods. Effects are... mixed.
- Harry Potter:
- Voldemort seems inspired a bit by the look of Orlok, only without a nose.
- Severus Snape, everyone's favorite gaunt, pallid, hook-nosed recluse. (In fact, for a while, fans used to speculate that he was a vampire.) Instead of the trenchcoat, though, Snape chooses to wear a long black, batlike robe. And the movies kinda ditched this look when they hired Alan Rickman to play Snape.
- In the Discworld series:
- Bob in The Discworld Reformed Vampyres' Diary 2003. Subversion in that, over the course of a series of notes between the Black Ribbon leader and the woman who plays the harmonium, it becomes apparent that he isn't actually a vampire at all.
- Count von Magpyr's grandfather's portrait in Carpe Jugulum.
- The Master's appearance from The Strain is heavily influenced by Orlock.
- Vampires in Night Watch look like this, when they shed their human disguise and reveal their true appearance.
- The vrykoloi in The Bone Palace by Amanda Downum look rather like this; rather bestial, even the prettier ones, starving-thin, bat-like ears, animal fangs, light-sensitive eyes.
- In the Laura Caxton novels, vampires have the bald head and pointy ear thing going on, and some let their fingernails grow long and claw-like. However, instead of two front teeth fangs, their whole mouths are full of row after row of sharp teeth, like a shark. Oh, and they're also albinos.
- Concept art for the Yuuzhan Vong depicts them as this. One major difference is that instead of a hooked nose, they have no nose whatsoever. Their warriors at least are also very fit and athletic-looking.
- Charlie Manx in NOS4A2 is described as looking like this although he's not a vampire in the traditional sense; instead, he maintains his youth by his car draining the souls of children as he kidnaps them to a semi-imaginary realm.
- Not a vampire, but Ixion looks like this when he's introduced in the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy. It later turns out that he's essentially possessing a magically-created clone of himself (the original Ixion having been killed shortly before the first book), and the reason he looks like he does is because a Gardier officer had him pulled out of the vat before he was done. The clone body stabilizes during the second book, and Ixion turns out to actually be moderately attractive, if somewhat into the Uncanny Valley.
- There was a Nosferatu look-alike in an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? titled "The Tale Of The Midnight Madness".
- It should be noted that the "look-alike" actually was Nosferatu, come to life from a version of the film where he kills everyone and wins! Sleep well, kids!
- The aptly-named Nosferatu clan from Vampire: The Masquerade and its spin-off TV series, Kindred: The Embraced. Their curse is hideous looks, no matter how pretty they used to be as mortal humans.
- The Master from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The interesting thing is that the vampires in that world usually look like normal humans most of the time and then put on their vampiric Game Face when they're about to do some vampire shit. The Master is so old that he's now in permanent Looks-like-Orlok-mode, and the other vampires are pretty impressed by it.
- The Turok-han ubervamps from the final season also followed the Orlok mold.
- The Prince of Lies in Angel (episode "Why We Fight") is probably the most explicitly based on Orlok, with trademark pointed ears and long fingers. Like other Buffyverse examples, his appearance is credited to age.
- Simone Doffler, once sired by Maloker (the progenitor vampire/Old One). Aside from her freakish vampire bat Nightmare Face, she also becomes emaciated, pale, and grows long taloned fingers.
- The TV-movie version of Salem's Lot makes the character Kurt Barlow look like Orlok, although in Stephen King's original novel he's depicted more like the Classical Movie Vampire.
- The look of a horror character from a running sketch on The Fast Show was based on Orlok; he would emerge out of the night to awaken a young woman in black and white, but would answer her scream only with non sequiturish betting tips.
- The League of Gentlemen contained a rare female example. Well, the character was female. But was played by a male actor.
- While Sylar from Heroes certainly doesn't resemble Orlok himself, Nosferatu was an early inspiration for the character. While most of the original idea was changed, it is held over in his depiction in the prophetic paintings from first season. This is most obvious in Sylar's own rendition of himself posing as Nathan in that season's Bad Future, which featured long, taloned fingers. Also, he stole Orlok's coat.
- One episode of The X-Files involved a brain-eating mutant with pale skin, jet-black eyes, and no ears.
- Perhaps Uncle Fester of The Addams Family, although he's a much cuter version.
- Mr Gryle the banshee in the TV adaptation of Going Postal.
- Not an actual vampire, but Lx-3, the failed Lex clone in Smallville's tenth season premiere, "Lazarus" definitely has this going for him. Between the Bald of Evil, Pointy Ears, protruding front teeth, and grey, wrinkled skin he could easily pass for one of Orlok's relatives.
- The Space Vampire episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century featured a vampire that was very Orlok in appearance with the exception of his huge eyebrows.
- The Doctor Who episode "The God Complex" introduces a cowardly, rodent-like Rubber Forehead Alien who looks like this. Ironically his planet is the most invaded in the Galaxy, the people happily accepting invaders.
- Many of the Nosferatu in game art took on this appearance in Vampire: The Masquerade, but it could differ quite a bit from the Orlokian norm, as long as it was hideous. This was likely intentional, since the clan has the same name as the movie Orlok came from and has abilities similar to his.
- The version of the Nosferatu in Vampire: The Requiem could take on many forms foul and fair, but regardless of appearance always had an unsettling aura that made social interaction difficult.
- The Necrarch bloodline in Warhammer Fantasy Battle.
- The Strigoi even more so - giant mutated bloodsuckers that are barely human. By way of comparison, Necrarch vampires often resemble rotting corpses.
- The Basic Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook GAZ3 The Principalities of Glantri had the vampire-like nosferatu monsters (inspired by Nosferatu), whose illustration looked like this.
- The text didn't mention them looking weird or standing out in a crowd, however. Later appearances by Mystaran nosferatu show them passing for human, so it's probably artistic license.
- D&D also has the Keepers, which are basically an Expy of the Strangers from Dark City.
- The D&D third edition Ravenloft books introduced the Vrykolakas, a subtype of vampires that look like Orlok. They are specifically described as "night scavengers and plague-carriers" to play up Orlok's plague rat aspects. One key difference is that instead of fangs they have a long, barbed tongue.
- In Pathfinder, Nosferatu are one of several types of vampire in the game setting; and yes, they look like the gentlemen pictured at the top of this page. They even have different abilities than the common-or-garden vampire, all of which are taken from the original film, such as telepathy, telekinesis, and the ability to turn into a swarm of rats, but just like Orlock, they can't create new vampires by drinking blood.
- The Deadlands TTRPG has the Nosferatu as a subspecies of vampires. They look like Orlok. And ride macabre trains when raiding for victims.
- Some of the races of Talislanta look a bit like this, such as the Na-Ku cannibals, Marukans, and Nagra. Even the Kang might fit, if Max Schreck had gotten really ripped at the gym and suffered a bad sunburn.
- Vampires in Magic: The Gathering vary heavily depending on the set and artist. Some of the earlier ones like Sengir Vampire head in this direction.
- The Council's Vampyri in City of Heroes look like this, although they are not actual vampires. They are the result of a super-soldier program inherited from the 5th Column, which they overthrew. The highest-ranking of them is actually named Nosferatu.
- Igor of the Persona series; although it should be noted that he is an ally character.
- Baraka from Mortal Kombat was visually based on an Orlok mask. The costume used for his first appearance in Mortal Kombat II was, in fact, an Orlok mask with silver-painted false fingernails added for his teeth.
- Though Magus is often drawn as a Pretty Boy in Fan-Art, and his sprite could be mistaken for one, his character portrait is basically Orlok with long, blue-white hair and red eyes.
- Medeus from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon fits this despite being a dragon instead of a vampire. He's got the bald head, clawed hands, fangs, and batlike ears. All of these traits make him a dead ringer for the Count.
- These appear as (low level) monsters in The Witcher alongside more traditional Vampires.
- The Vampire creatures in Dungeon Keeper are like this.
- Vorcha in Mass Effect 2.
- Vampires from the Legacy of Kain series go through a progression of appearance as they age; they start out fairly human-looking, develop into a more elven/bishonen form with talon-like nails, further evolve to gain more bestial traits like three-clawed hands and feet, and the really ancient ones like Kain and Vorador end up with a far more reptilian look.
- There's a much more direct Orlok homage in Blood Omen 2. Marcus, one of the bosses, dresses in a voluminous black overcoat and has the requisite pale complexion, bald head, angular features, and spindly fingers.
- Ordinary Vampires in RuneScape look like this. The more powerful and civilized Vampyres, however, are more human-looking. (Sans the Vyrewatch, who are completely different.)
- The Vampire units (as well as many of the Heroes) of Necropolis city in Heroes of Might and Magic 3 (HOMM 2 vampires are Classical Movie Vampires with some minor Orlok-ish traits like gray skin, and HOMM 5 vampires look like undead nobles in battle garb).
- Lord Erebus from Demigod.
- Dracula himself in Bookworm Adventures, oddly enough. Like Brauner, he was much more sharply dressed than Orlok.
- Dreadlords from WarCraft, though they are demons instead of vampires, are a species of Orlok lookalikes.
- Despite being demons Dreadlords are very heavily based on vampires, with the ability to control bats, hypnotize victims to sleep, and occasionally life-draining powers.
- The "true" vampires in World of Warcraft, the darkfallen, are NOT this, however. Since they are all undead blood elves it's no surprise they qualify for The Beautiful Elite.
- Markus from Beyond the Spirit's Eye Looks Like Orlok, but with shark teeth rather than rat-like incisors.
- Vampires in The Elder Scrolls become increasingly monstrous the longer they go without feeding, with their faces becoming gaunt and weathered. Vampires of Elven origin, with their already slim builds and pointy ears, are particularly prone to looking like Orlok. The trope is played most straight with the Volkihar Clan in the Dawnguard expansion of Skyrim, who have the power to transform at will into a Vampire Lord◊ with grotesque features, pale skin, pointed ears, deadly claws and a partially bald head. Unlike Orlok, Vampire Lords wear loincloths (although Lord Harkon also wears a cloak with a high collar) and have impressive physical builds, skeletal wings and claw-like feet.
- Nosferatu The Wrath Of Malachi: Roughly half the Greater Vampires have this appearance, as does the Count.
- Imp of School Bites is said to be a "Nosferatu prince". However, he's actually generically cute.
- Camille, the main vampire character of ''Bloody Urban" is essentially the Cute Monster Girl version of Orlok- she has sunken in eyes, pronounced fangs on both her front teeth and canines, and large, bat-like ears.
- Vampires in TRU-Life Adventures start out looking like themselves, but grow to resemble Orlok as they lose their humanity.
- In Shadowgirls, a very Orlok-looking member of EoD was sent to eliminate a hospitalized cop. It 's a bit unclear if he was a vampire or something else, although the almost certainly wasn't human.
- Although Count Chocula blended Dracula and Orlok as a cereal mascot, in Breakfast of the Gods, Brian Sanderson subtly played up the Orlokian aspects more. While he kept the elegant clothes and dark widow's peak, he's far more ratlike and sinister: his face is more pointed, his fangs are longer and more wedge-shaped, and his hands look more like the paws of a rat with long thin fingers and prominent knuckles.
- Mr. Burns looks like Orlok even when he's not a vampire. Especially when he wriggles his fingers...
- Botticelli, the leader of the rats in The Tale of Despereaux, looks like a furry version of Orlok.
- At the end of the Graveyard Shift episode of Spongebob Squarepants, the lights start to flicker, and thinking that it's the Hash Slinging Slasher's doing, everyone looks over and is relieved to find that it was only that silly Nosferatu!
- The Baron from rejected Nickelodeon pilot, The Modifyers.
- In the animated series School For Vampires the vampire kids' main teacher is based on Orlok's appearance. Somewhat subverted in that we see, through flashbacks, that he once had a long, flowing mane of blonde hair.
- In episode 6 of Ugly Americans, Blake is a blatant Expy of Edward from Twilight, while Blake's father was obviously modeled after Orlok.
- Mighty Max gives us Skullmaster, an ancient warrior-sorcerer with chalk-white skin, fangs, claws, and pointy ears (who's also very buff). His menacing voice was provided by Tim Curry.
- In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, The Wasp watches a horror movie featuring a very Orlokian looking vampire.
- Dr. Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb looks a lot like this (hunchback, long fingers, pointy nose), except he has hair.
- The Inquisitor from Star Wars Rebels fits this greatly, bald, bone white skin, sharp teeth, and golden Sith eyes. With tattoos for extra evilness.