Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

Director: Werner Herzog

Starring: Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz, Roland Topor, Walter Ladengast, Dan van Husen, Jan Groth

More info: IMDb

Plot: Jonathan Harker is sent away to Count Dracula's castle to sell him a house in Varna, where Jonathan lives. But Count Dracula is a vampire, an undead ghoul living off of men's blood. Inspired by a photograph of Lucy Harker, Jonathan's wife, Dracula moves to Varna, bringing with him death and plague...

My rating: 9.5/10

Will I watch it again? Ja! Ja!

The original 1922 F.W. Murnau film is amazing. It's my favorite vampire film of all time and I doubt anything will ever unseat it. Herzog's 1979 film is a masterpiece and is a very close second. It's a waking dream, a work of living art. I would have a hard time describing it as anything but stunning beauty in horror.

Kinski, as Dracula, is marvelous. His performances were often over the top (he could easily do that) but not here. Herzog's pulled back the reins and what Kinski delivers is spectacular and is probably the most sympathetic vampire I've ever seen. I really feel for the guy and his death scene (this had better not be a spoiler for anyone who knows anything about Dracula movies) is quietly poetic.

The appropriately leisurely pacing is something else that I admire. While it is an elegant film, it's still a horror picture but not one that subjects itself directly to the conventions of horror in that it's not meant to frighten the bejesus out of you. It's a slow descent into another world from a time long gone, an adult fairytale. I LOVE that the dialogue is kept to a minimum. I would have liked even less. The hypnotic music of Popol Vuh and the classical pieces are ideal. Just listen to the opening credits. If that doesn't whet your appetite to see this then you're already dead.

My words cannot do this film justice. It's films like this that make me wish for better skills in translating my thoughts. NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE is a work of art that stands side by side to the original 1922 film in its beauty and master craftsmanship.

No comments:

Post a Comment