Nosferatu the Vampyre

nosferatu79Jonathan Harker (Bruno Ganz) goes to Transylvania to negotiate a house deal with the mysterious Count Dracula (Klaus Kinski); the anemic gentleman wishes to buy a house close to Harker and his wife (Isabelle Adjani). Director Werner Herzog found a perfect project for himself and his favorite actor/foe, Kinski – a remake of F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922) that provided an opportunity for Kinski to become Max Schreck and add a few of his own touches. An interesting experiment. Herzog remains faithful to the story and creates a sense of dread with help from locations in Germany, Slovakia and the Netherlands, especially in the scene where Harker is walking up to Dracula’s castle.

1979-West Germany. 107 min. Color. Produced, written and directed by Werner Herzog. Novel: Bram Stoker (“Dracula”). Cinematography: Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein. Cast: Klaus Kinski (Dracula), Isabelle Adjani (Lucy Harker), Bruno Ganz (Jonathan Harker), Roland Topor, Walter Ladengast.

Trivia: Original title: Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht. When Herzog made this remake the copyright to Stoker’s novel had expired, which is why the original character names were used. Followed by Vampire in Venice (1988).

Last word: “We had [rats used in the film] stored in a nearby farmhouse outside of Delft. And somehow the people who got the money for feeding them ran away with the money. There was trouble with the farmers, and when we were about to pick up the rats they were so enraged they pulled up with a Caterpillar and drove into the truck that we brought. They broke through the windshield, but there were people sitting on the other side of it. There was some violence, actual violence that I instigated. Police finally arrived and I tricked them into going into the wrong barn. They had parked their two police cars in some sort of a causeway so we couldn’t push one car to the side. But the other was sitting there, and so we toppled it over and rolled it into a ditch. Got out with the rats. I just say this as encouragement for the young filmmakers.” (Herzog, Indiewire)

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