• Grave of German filmdirector Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau at Südwestkirchhof Stahnsdorf near Berlin, GermanyCreative Commons/A.Savin
  • An iconic scene of the shadow of Count Orlok climbing up a staircaseNosferatu

German news outlets report that the head of late film director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, who made the movie "Nosferatu," an adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula", was stolen from a cemetery near Berlin.

The early "Vampire" movie  "Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens" (translated as Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror) or simply Nosferatu", is counted among the scariest of horror movies from the silent movie era.

The movie starring Max Schreck as the vampire Count Orlok was released in 1922. 

The graverobbers broke into the Stahnsdorf cemetery, located around 20 km from Berlin, and entered the Murnau mausoleum built on the 22-hectare property, according to Variety.

After his death, the body of 42-year-old Murnau was embalmed. It is being reported that the body is still is 'good condition' while Murnau's face still had facial features including hair and teeth.

The German police have launched an investigation. The German daily "Bild" in its report speculated that the graverobbers may have also performed an occult ritual before stealing away Murnau's head.

Released in 1922, "Nosferatu" still has a cult-following and Murnau is considered a pioneer of the horror-film genre. 

Murnau died in a car accident in 1931 near Santa Barbara, California, but was buried in Germany.

Also read