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This Villain was Headlined on March, 2022.


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Your wife has a lovely neck.
~ Count Orlok's most famous quote.

Count Orlok, also known erroneously as Nosferatu, is the main antagonist of the 1922 classic German silent horror film Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror. He is a reclusive vampire operating from a decrepit Romanian castle who spreads plagues among villages over the course of centuries, resulting in the deaths and transformations of many, until his undoing during a plague transmission in the distant fictional German town of Wisborg.

Orlok is one of the most iconic monsters of classic horror, rivaling Dracula, Godzilla, Frankenstein's Monster and the Wolf Man. In this regard, he is also notable for being more faithful in many ways to the traditional representation of vampires in folklore, being a hideous demonic creature rather than an attractive gentleman.

He was portrayed by the late Max Schreck.


Orlok appears as a tall, bald vampire with pointed ears, white irises, thick eyebrows, sharp teeth, and long claws. His attire consists of a long beige hunting coat with dark pants and shoes.



From the seed of Belial sprang the vampire Nosferatu who liveth and feedeth on human bloode.
~ The Book of Vampires.

Not much is known about Orlok's past, though it is implied that Orlok is spawned from the seed of Belial, the lieutenant of Satan. Orlok resides inside a decaying castle in a lost corner of Carpathia, where he stalks the surrounding villages and terrorizes the inhabitants over the centuries by plagues. As a result, few ventured out into the dark of night during his reign of terror.

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror

Count Orlok first poses as a nobleman from the Carpathian Mountains who has a desire to move to the city of Wisborg in Germany. He lives in a ruined castle high in the mountains and local townsfolk refuse to go anywhere near this castle, save for the film's protagonist, the young Thomas Hutter, the assistant of a Wisborg estate agent, who travels to his castle to show properties for sale in Wisborg on the behalf of his boss, Knock, who in truth has been brainwashed by Orlok himself and is trying to help his master's plan. After his initial coach driver refuses to take him over to the castle, a disguised Orlok takes him over and negotiates terms to buy the previously mentioned property. Hutter accidentally cuts himself when cutting bread, and Orlok's vampiric urges spring, resulting in him biting Hutter's neck. Hutter is oblivious that it was Orlok that bit him, and wrongly believes the bite mark to be that of mosquitoes, until eventually coming to the realization from a book about vampires. Hutter's wife Ellen senses that Thomas is in danger via telepathy and intervenes, resulting in Orlok being unable to touch Hutter any further.

Soon Orlok conceals himself in one of his soil-filled coffins and is loaded onto a ship bound for Wisborg. Onboard the ship, he kills every crew member until only the captain and his first mate remain. Later when the first mate goes to the cargo hold to investigate, Count Orlok rises from his coffin, terrifying the first mate who jumps overboard in fear. The captain ties himself to the wheel of the ship when Count Orlok creeps up on him and kills him.

Upon his arrival in Wisborg, he spreads the plague via rat carriers, which kills many. The local authorities declare a quarantine as a result of the plague coupled with mass hysteria among its denizens. Hutter and Ellen, present in Wisborg, become hopeless, but the latter realizes that she can exploit Orlok's urges in order to kill him. Orlok stalks and attacks Hutter's young wife, Ellen, in her room, but during the pleasure of drinking her blood, he is caught unaware by the rays of the rising sun. When he heard the crowing of a rooster, he suddenly realized his own flaw and was caught in the sunlight, which burns him away in a cloud of smoke, killing him and ending his reign of terror.


Mortal terror reigned!
Sickness now, then horrible death!
Only Lucy knew the truth,
And at her window...
~ Lyrics from Blue Öyster Cult's song Nosferatu, dedicated to the film and its villain.

Count Orlok was an unofficial adaptation of Bram Stoker's famous Count Dracula; however, because the studio is unable to obtain the rights to Dracula, they opted for making their own character. In the end, the two vampires would become very different beings, as Dracula would become known for his gentlemanly charm and cunning, while Count Orlok would come to embody the much more demonic, diseased side of vampire lore.

Ironically, Count Orlok is actually much more faithful to true vampire mythology than Dracula, except for the deathly weakness to sunlight, which was added to the film and later became a staple of vampire fiction. In spite of all this, Orlok himself has grown to become almost as iconic as Dracula himself.

Characters inspired by Count Orlok

Count Orlok has inspired an entire subspecies of vampire also known as Nosferatus (in honor of the film). These beings tend to be more monstrous-looking and vicious than the more human-like vampires seen in other fiction. They are also normally more demonic than normal vampires as well, midway between a vampire and a mutant.

  • The Master - This Buffy villain was a prime example of a Nosferatu in popular culture and was obviously inspired by Count Orlok.
  • Olrox - Count Orlok's Castlevania counterpart, who looks the same and has the same name (albeit mistakenly romanized) and shares it's original counterpart's similarities with Dracula.
  • Freddy Krueger - Although it seems strange at first, the slasher icon Freddy Krueger was inspired by Count Orlok, most likely the talon-like hands.
  • Max Schreck - A fictionalization of the actor (portrayed by movie star William DeFoe) who played Orlok, amalgamated with Orlok himself, in the feature film Shadow Of The Vampire, in which the fact that Schreck is a real vampire is kept from the other crew members by Nosferatu Director FW Murnau.
  • Baron Vain - This villain from The Modifyers bears a very similar appearance to Orlok, and also shares a similar title (as both Count and Baron are aristocratic titles).


I have waited for you - I have waited too long - Now it is almost midnight. The servants are sleeping!
~ Count Orlok upon meeting Hutter.
You've hurt yourself... The precious blood.
~ Count Orlok trying to suck Hutter's blood from the latter's fingers.
Should we not spend a little time together, my very dear friend? Sunrise is far away and during the day I have to sleep, my friend, I will be in a very deep sleep indeed...
~ Count Orlok to Hutter, foreshadowing his true nature.
I'm going to buy the house... The beautiful, deserted house opposite yours...
~ Count Orlok to Hutter during the signing and his last lines in the film.





  • Along with Dr. Caligari and Doctor Mabuse, Count Orlok is regarded as one of the most popular villains of silent era films.
  • Count Orlok appeared on the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Graveyard Shift", trying to scare SpongeBob and Squidward by flicking the light switch on and off, being referenced as "Nosferatu". The other characters, not scared but amused by this, shame him before he smiles. He later appears in the episodes "The Night Patty", where he approves SpongeBob as a fry cook for the night shift by drinking his blood through a straw, and the episode "A Place for Pets", where he is gifted a sea bat.
  • Count Orlok is responsible for the myth that vampires turn to dust if caught in direct sunlight, which arguably makes him one of the greatest influences in modern vampire lore.
  • The imagery of Count Orlok from Nosferatu appears prominently in the music video presentation of the collaboration between David Bowie and Queen, "Under Pressure". Bowie himself once played a vampire in the feature film The Hunger.
  • In some prints of Nosferatu, Count Orlok was given back the name of the character he was based and the other characters were given back the names of their Bram Stoker equivalent.
  • In the 1979 remake of Nosferatu, some of the characters reverted to their original Stoker names, including Dracula.

External Links


           Dracula logo.png Villains

Count Dracula

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror: Count Orlok | Knock
Dracula (1931): Count Dracula | Brides of Dracula | Renfield
Dracula (1958): Count Dracula
Nosferatu, the Vampyre: Count Dracula
Dracula (1992): Count Dracula | Brides of Dracula | Renfield
Van Helsing: Count Dracula | Vampires (Aleera, Marishka & Verona) | Igor | Dwergi | Velkan Valerious | Mr. Hyde | Grey Werewolf
Dracula Untold: Mehmed II | Master Vampire

           SpongeBob.png Villains

Main Villains
Mr. Krabs | Plankton | Karen Plankton | Mrs. Puff

Major Villains
Flying Dutchman | Man Ray | Sinister Slug | Jumbo Shrimp | Atomic Flounder | Dirty Bubble | Bubble Bass | Plankton Family | DoodleBob

Movie Villains
The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie:
Mr. Krabs | Mrs. Puff | Plankton | Dennis | Karen Plankton | Victor | Cyclops | Boat Jacker | The Thug Tug Gang
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water:
Plankton | Mr. Krabs | Burger-Beard
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On the Run:
Plankton | Mr. Krabs | Karen Plankton | King Poseidon | El Diablo

Super Villains
The Moth | Catfishstress | Octopus King | Hoodoo Guru | Robot Mantis

Alaskan Bull Worm | Puffy Fluffy | Big One | BlackJack SquarePants | Sea Bear | Evil Alien Jellion Overlord | Dragon Jellyfish | The Jellions | Jelliens | Kraken |

Evil Organizations
Every Villain Is Lemons | Evil Syndicate

Sergeant Sam Roderick | Tattletale Strangler | Carl | Con Man | Master Udon | Don Grouper | Animatronic Hieronymus Glove | Madame Hagfish | Art Appraiser | Miss Gretel Puss | Flats the Flounder | Gale Doppler | Stickyfins Whiting | Dorsal Dan

The Fisherman | Hash-Slinging Slasher | Count Orlok

Abrasive SpongeBob | Dead-Eye Plankton | Planktonamor | Dreaded Patrick | Karen 2.0 | Captain Scarfish | ToyBob | Mini Doodles | Plankrab | Doctor Negative | Alternate Reality Mr. Krabs

Lord Poltergeist | Gordon


Video-Game Villains
King Gorge | The Mawgu | SpongeBot SteelPants | Robot Plankton | Robo-Patrick | Robots | Globulous Maximus | Seymour Scales

Other Animals
Triton | Cuddle E. Hugs | Swamp Natives | Earworm

Dominic Greene
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Randall Flagg
Alex DeLarge
Count Dracula (book)
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Dr. Venom
Krampus (Krampus)
Santánico Pandemónium
Judge Doom
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Gendo Ikari
Victor Krane
Napoleon (AF)
Tony Montana
Candyman (CM)
Skeletor (MotU)
Immortan Joe
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Count Orlok
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