2. Max Schreck
German actor Max Schreck was transformed into the bat-like Count Orlok for F. W. Murnau’s 1922 German Expressionist horror classic Nosferatu. Although the character appears on the screen for less than 10 minutes, Schreck’s creature terrified audiences — thanks in part to Murnau’s shadowy cinematography. The portrayal still haunts moviegoers. From TCM:
Probably the most memorable and chilling aspect of Nosferatu is Schreck as the monster. An actor whose own name is German for “terror,” Schreck is certainly a nightmarish apparition with his bulbous head, pointed batlike ears and long, talonlike fingers and fangs. His ratlike facial features also associate him with the rodents who spread the plague across Europe. And Schreck’s eerie, stammering, zombielike walk has since become a feature of numerous screen monsters, from the stammering gait of Frankenstein to the deliberate, determined pace of the killer Michael in Halloween (1978). This inspired interpretation of Stoker’s monster suggests, in an almost subconscious way, the world of death and parasitism and decay created in Stoker’s novel. Schreck’s vampire was a thoroughly original creation, a monster far from the bloodsucking playboys of later Draculas.