Even if you’ve never heard the name F.W. Murnau, you likely know at least a little about the terrifying 1922 vampire film he masterminded: Nosferatu. An unauthorized adaptation of Dracula, the film was almost destroyed after a lawsuit, but survived long enough to become one of the most acclaimed and influential horror films of all time. It was made nearly 100 years ago, it’s a silent film, and yet it’s still terrifying thanks to imagery like this:
Murnau was one of the greatest silent film directors. He became a star in Germany thanks to work like Nosferatu, then moved to Hollywood, where he made films like Sunrise, still considered one of the greatest movies of all time. He died tragically in 1931 at the age of just 42, after a car accident, and was buried in his home country of Germany. Now, after decades of appreciating his films, someone decided the movies weren’t enough.
Variety reports that German media outlets are saying someone pried open Murnau’s metal coffin and removed his head. Murnau is buried in a family plot in Stahnsdorf, 12 miles outside of Berlin, but the other graves in the plot (including those of his brothers) were undisturbed, suggesting someone was specifically targeting his grave. What’s more, Variety notes that German news outlet Spiegel Online reports that there was “wax residue” somewhere “near the grave,” suggesting an “occult connection.”
So, with the details available, it sounds like someone found the corpse of a guy who made one of the greatest horror films of all time, decided his head would be a perfect vessel for some kind of ritual, and then took it.
Good luck sleeping tonight.