“There’s a will of purity”: Dune 2 Had to Take a Major Inspiration from a Horror Movie for its Most Ruthless Race in the Universe

The director wanted the Harkonnen to be a little alien compared to everyone else in the story.

Dune 2


  • Denis Villeneuve revealed the inspiration for the look of the monstrous House Harkonnen in his adaptation of Dune.
  • It was revealed that the original lords of Arrakis were inspired from Nosferatu, the iconic vampire from German films.
  • Dune remains one of the recent successes of Legendary Entertainment, that can go toe to toe with Star Wars.
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House Harkonnen in the world of Dune had an interesting look when contrasted with the rest of the races in the story. While Fremen, Atreidai, and Corrinos looked more or less human, there was something bizarre about the stark colors that defined the Harkonnen look, giving them an entirely alien feel and vibe.

Fayd-Rautha in Dune: Part Two | Legendary Entertainment
Fayd-Rautha in Dune: Part Two | Legendary Entertainment

Denis Villeneuve has opened up about the main source of inspiration for the look of the Harkonnen, who serve as the monstrous antagonist to the noble and heroic House Atreides, led by Timothee Chalamet’s Paul Atreides under the guardianship of his mother, Lady Jessica.

Denis Villeneuve took inspiration from a classic horror icon from the look of House Harkonnen

Nosferatu | Prana Films
Nosferatu | Prana Films

To begin with, the inspiration for the ruthless Harkonnen came from one of horror’s earlier icons, Nosferatu, as reported by Tanya Lapointe and Stefanie Broos in their book, “The Art and Soul of Dune: Part Two” When Villeneuve was asked what he imagined the citizens of Gedi Prime to look like, he replied:


A homogenous group of men and women with similar body types, all wearing the same style of clothing. Like a crowd of nosferatu.

Denis Villeneuve‘s aesthetic has been criticized throughout his film career, being likened to an Apple store. However, the director is very clear on where he draws his inspiration from, and how he presents them to his audience. Villeneuve had a very strict idea about what he wanted the lords of Gedi Prime to look like. for which he said:

I loved the idea that Harkonnens are a society that doesn’t like hair. […] They remove everything. They want to be as far away from any part of their past as possible, where they are coming from. There’s a will of purity.

Aside from being inspired by the iconic vampire, the inhabitants of Gedi Prime were rendered in black and white in their home world, adding to the otherworldliness of the setting.

Dune Messiah is officially in development at Legendary Entertainment

A still from 2021's Dune
A still from 2021’s Dune

Dune has become a very important property for Legendary and WB, being an IP that can possibly go toe to toe with Star Wars. With Dune Part One and  Dune Part Two receiving widespread critical and commercial acclaim, the IP is set to expand exponentially, with Dune Messiah, a third part of the franchise in active development, and Dune: Prophecy awaiting its launch, a trailer for which has already been released.


Despite the boom that the Space Opera genre received with the likes of Rebel Moon from Netflix, Halo from Paramount, The Foundation Series from Apple TV, and of course, Dune from Legendary Entertainment, only Dune has been able to stick the landing so far, stepping up it’s game to offer the fans of Star Wars an alternative, on that attracts a more mature audience.

Dune Part One and Part Two can be streamed on HBO Max


Written by Anuraag Chatterjee

Articles Published: 713

Anuraag Chatterjee, Web Content Writer
With a passion for writing fiction and non fiction content, Anuraag is a Media Science graduate with 2 year's experience with Marketing and Content, with 3 published poetry anthologies. Anuraag holds a Bacherlor's degree in Arts with a focus on Communication and Media Studies.