Nosferatu The Vampyre
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It is 1850 in the beautiful, perfectly-kept town of Wismar. Jonathan Harker is about to leave on a long journey over the Carpathian Mountains to finalize real estate arrangements with a wealthy nobleman. His wife, Lucy begs him not to go and is troubled by a strong premonition of danger. Despite her warnings, Jonathan arrives four weeks later at a large, gloomy castle. Out of the mist appears a pale, wraith-like figure with a shaven head and deep-sunken eyes who identifies himself as Count Dracula. The events that transpire slowly convince Harker that he is in the presence of a vampyre. What he doesnt know is the magnitude of danger he, his wife and his town are about to experience.
Scream Factory does us all a great service by bringing Herzogs vision to blu-ray. The image is so stunningly sharp, one cant help but dream of what the rest of his film catalog will look like. --Movielineonline
- German Language Version With English Subtitles
- English Language Version
- Audio Commentary With Werner Herzog
- Vintage Making Of Nosferatu
- Theatrical Trailers
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The set pieces and props are even immaculate in their disgusting vibe bringing. The dust and cobwebs in a dreary realistic castle and a man stuck in the middle of the danger. The sets are perfectly uncanny and unsettling. Werner Herzog builds a believable world to haunt you. To help the audience into imaging a town ridden with the plague, Herzog unleashed a horde of rats to inspire images of The Black Death. Herzog's uncomprising dedication to his craft is awe inspiring as it is vile in it's execution to witness. Herzog's world seems so dark.
Herzog's characters are very deep and complex. Herzog's Jonathan Harker is emotional and more relatable than many I've seen. His Renfield is crazier than ever. The Lucy character is given a bigger role than most heroines are ever given, marking Herzog's film as uniquely progressive. She has premonitions of danger to warn Harker, she figures out the secret of the vampire, and she must challenge Nosferatu both romantically and bravely.
Of course, the main draw is German mega star is Klaus Kinski as Count Dracula himself. Kinski's takes up the task of recreating and renewing the magic that was Max Schreck's legendary performance as Nosferatu. Schreck's uniquely grotesque body image is the uncanny horror of the original film. Instead, Klaus Kinski is monstrous uncontrollable who must stalk and seduce his way through eternal life. Kinski's performance is so captivating as his wild crazy eyes are so engaging as his voice and movements are so very subtle. Kinski plays Nosferatu as a sad being cursed to the shadows for eternity. It's so intriguing, especially his speech to Harker and his plea to Lucy wherein Kinski laments his infinite misery. A magnificent acting display which has aged into one of Kinski's finest. Klaus Kinski was born for these shadows.
Overall, I highly recommend Nosferatu the Vampyre as a chilling recreation of perhaps the greatest silent film, certainly the greatest horror film of its era. Werner Herzog proves his film making prowess and Kinski lays down another excellent acting performance.
This film is essentially perfect. It's more detailed and risk taking than the original. Anyone that found the original too slow or not deep enough is sure to be pleased by Herzog's shifting score, faster pace, long pans, thrilling actors, and terrifying sets. It's the ultimate remake.
Likes: I like the authentic European locations which are fitting for the classic story of Dracula. Both interior and exterior shots reflect that authenticity of locations where I have always imagined Dracula to inhabit. This Blu-ray edition has both original German language and also English language as well as the director commentary by Werner Herzog, and vintage "making of" Nosferatu. Isabelle Adjani is breath-takingly gorgeous. This is a very good Blu-ray transfer and the picture looks quite clean.
Dislikes: Even though each shot is crafted well, somehow the movie seems to lack the truly eerie horror atmosphere and misses its mark. I wish the director used more soundtrack to compliment the visuals and to accentuate the impact of the scenes. But I am not sure if the minimal use of soundtrack is the only reason why the movie is not driving the intended effect on me. The acting feels a bit flat at some times and overall production seems to lack a certain flair, a style. It is just too plain.
One of my major complaints is about a climactic scene towards the end of the movie: (***SPOILERS ALERT***) When Dracula sucks on Lucy as she is lying in bed, there is no trace of blood anywhere; even when he lifts his head up, there is no drop of blood on his lips or on his teeth. I am not the kind who wishes to see blood in movies, but when the scene is about Dracula sucking on the neck of his victim, I expect a certain level of realism from the scene. I don't maybe it was due to censorship or for some other reason but it certainly ruins the scene for me. Then there is Van Helsing's killing of Nosferatu by driving a stake through Nosferatu's heart which we don't see because it happens off-screen. They also changed the original ending to give it a darker twist: even though Nosferatu is killed off properly, his curse is not lifted from Jonathan who becomes a Nosferatu himself. One other thing that bothered me was that Lucy was too pale, almost as pale as Nosferatu himself.