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Nosferatu (The Vampyre / Phantom Der Nacht)

4.4 out of 5 stars 202 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In 1979, award-winning director Werner Herzog and his volatile star Klaus Kinski embarked on a milestone in international cinema: a dual language remake of F.W. Murnau's legendary 1922 horror classic "Nosferatu." Filmed on breathtaking locations throughout Europe and simultaneosly shot in both German and English-speaking versions that created fascinating differences in tone and texture, Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu" has become recognized worldwide as the definitive version of the Dracula legend. This two disc set contains both the English and German version.

Werner Herzog's remake of F.W. Murnau's original vampire classic is at once a generous tribute to the great German director and a distinctly unique vision by one of cinema's most idiosyncratic filmmakers. Though Murnau's Nosferatu was actually an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Herzog based his film largely on Murnau's conceptions--at times directly quoting Murnau's images--but manages to slip in a few references to Tod Browning's famous version (at one point the vampire comments on the howling wolves: "Listen, the children of the night make their music."). Longtime Herzog star Klaus Kinski is both hideous and melancholy as Nosferatu (renamed Count Dracula in the English language version). As in Murnau's film, he's a veritable gargoyle with his bald pate and sunken eyes, and his talon-like fingernails and two snaggly fangs give him a distinctly feral quality. But Kinski's haunting eyes also communicate a gloomy loneliness--the curse of his undead immortality--and his yearning for Lucy (Isabelle Adjani) becomes a melancholy desire for love. Bruno Ganz's sincere but foolish Jonathan is doomed to the vampire's will and his wife, Lucy, a holy innocent whose deathly pallor and nocturnal visions link her with the ghoulish Nosferatu, becomes the only hope against the monster's plague-like curse. Herzog's dreamy, delicate images and languid pacing create a stunningly beautiful film of otherworldly mood, a faithful reinterpretation that by the conclusion has been shaped into a quintessentially Herzog vision. --Sean Axmaker

Stills from Nosferatu: The Vampyre/Phantom Der Nacht (Click for larger image)

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz, Werner Herzog, Roland Topor
  • Directors: Werner Herzog
  • Writers: Werner Herzog, Bram Stoker
  • Producers: Werner Herzog, Daniel Toscan du Plantier, Michael Gruskoff, Walter Saxer
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: July 9, 2002
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005YJMX
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,447 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Nosferatu (The Vampyre / Phantom Der Nacht)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"Nosferatu the Vampyre" is director Werner Herzog's tribute to F. W. Murnau, whom he considers to be Germany's greatest filmmaker, as well as a haunting gothic horror tale in its own right. It is a remake of Murnau's 1922 film "Nosferatu", which is the earliest surviving cinematic adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula". Herzog has combined ideas from Murnau's film, Bram Stoker's novel, and his own imagination in creating a film that is, if anything, even more expressionistic and romanticist than the 1922 masterpiece. It is also more languid and pathetic than other "Dracula" adaptations.

This version of the Dracula tale, like 1922's "Nosferatu", takes place in Germany and Transylvania. Jonathan Harker (Bruno Ganz) is a real estate agent employed by a madman named Renfield (Roland Topor) to deliver a contract to Count Dracula in Transylvania, who wishes to purchase property in Wismar, Germany. When he reaches his destination, Jonathan finds a hideous, predatory Count Dracula (Klaus Kinski) eager to sign the deed to his new home. Several days later, ill and traumatized by horrors that he experienced at Dracula's castle, Jonathan understands that his young wife Lucy (Isabelle Adjani) will be in grave danger if Dracula reaches Wismar and sets out to save her. Count Dracula's arrival in Wismar coincides with the Plague. The city is overrun with rats and its population decimated by disease. Only Lucy comprehends the nature of the evil that has befallen the city and understands what she must do to stop it.

"Nosferatu the Vampyre" adheres pretty closely to Murnau's storyline, rather than Stoker's, except for the ending. The characters and actions have been embellished, however, sometimes with inspiration from the "Dracula" novel.
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Format: VHS Tape
Werner Herzog's remake of the 1922 classic is an epic masterpiece in movie making. Beautifully filmed with glorious music, knock-out performance by Klaus Kinski as the flambouyant Count Dracula. Only one other film in history has impressed me this much with unforgettable scenes of the true nature and feeling of vampires. This isn't an ordinary vampire movie, it doesn't have any scares, it doesn't have any bloody scenes either, it's not made to scare or gross the audience, it's made to give the audience remarkable visions of vampires, so masterfully done that they are impossible to forget. Nosferatu The Vampyre remains poignant to this day and stands as one of the greatest films in history.
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Format: VHS Tape
I first saw this in the summer of 1987 on Channel 4 here in England. I was 13 years old and the movie's dark lasciviousness left such a deep impression upon me that I followed the tape for years like a bounty hunter. I finally got the opportunity to buy both the English and the German version from Amazon this year and awaited their arrival with extreme anticipation. Herzog's reworking of the FW Murnau silent is like heroin for the eyes. This film transcends definition in that it is a movie made of a movie and not made for actors per se. You can tell this by the suppressed use of dialogue (hence giving rise to the ease Herzog had in making 2 entirely different language versions using separate film sessions). The chills are entirely implicit. What does come out is the delicious photography which Herzog fuses well with an ethereal soundtrack from Popol Vuh, Wagner and some Messe opera at the end. Ganz is the perfect victim because he is so soft-spoken and wide-eyed. Adjani is a luscious foil for Kinski, whose erotic appeal comes out in tragic spurts near the end. We through, accentuated by Herzog's anachronistic camera lens and the terror mushrooms in the subconscious which gives rise to a longer term type of disquiet. The mummies in the intro. add intensity to the story. We're taken from that crypt to the happy breakfast table of the Harkers in the space of a minute, like a tooth being jerked back and forth before it is wrenched out of the gum. The best part of the film has to be the journey to Castle Dracula. There is so much expectation loaded in there. The imagery conjured by the Gypsy warnings at the campfire creates an apprehension the size of a planet while the mountain lines and jagged caves of Harker's final leg of the journey give rise to something even larger.Read more ›
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Nosferatu unfolds like a languorous, disturbing dream. The images have an hallucinogenic, archetypal quality: mummified human remains in an ancient tomb; the figure of a woman sitting on a beach studded with tombstones; a dead sea-captain lashed to the wheel of a deserted sailing ship.
Like Kubrick's The Shining, Nosferatu is less a standard genre film than a singular expression of a filmmaker's vision. Writer-director Werner Herzog began with F.W. Murnau's expressionist classic, mixed in elements from Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, then set about creating a meditation on the vampire myth. What would it really mean to live forever, and be compelled to feed on the blood of others? What of the unspeakable boredom? The longing for companionship? For normalcy? For death? As played by Klaus Kinski, Herzog's Dracula has spent hundreds, if not thousands of years alone with these thoughts. He is the ultimate poster boy for German angst. If not for the skill of his performance and Herzog's direction, he might have lapsed into self-parody.
There are shots that all but reproduce moments from the silent classic - right down to the overwrought body language. But Herzog, Kinski, and the rest of the cast (including Bruno Ganz as Jonathon Harker and Isabelle Adjani as his wife Lucy) keep it in check and keep it beautifully stylized, so it all works.
Probably due to the involvement of American studio 20th-Century Fox, Nosferatu was shot in both English and German versions. Both are on this double-sided DVD; comparing them is instructive, since there are non-trivial differences in the visual construction of both films. Most critics agree (and I concur) that the German one is superior.
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