Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu

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Nosferatu The Vampyre

WINNER: Silver Bear, Berlinale

  • Year:1979
  • Run Time:107 mins
  • Format:16mm

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 doesn’t know is the magnitude of danger he, his wife and his town are about to experience.

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Eccentric director Werner Herzog’s (Aguirre, the Wrath of God) remake (although, Herzog states in the opening credits that this is not a direct remake) of F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu A Symphony of Horror is a chilling, beautiful and romantic homage.

Each character in this 1850 setting seems so delicate and fragile. At times it can feel like you’re watching a ritual; mesmerising and unsettling, with a sense that you could be watching something real.

The castle is so gloomy and intriguing, far from any Hollywood attempt at a creepy mansion. I love the original film but, I must admit, I like Herzog’s even more. It should be better really; with better effects and make-up and directed by one of the best film-makers of the century! The film opens with close-ups of real mummified humans from a Mexican museum visited by Herzog in the sixties.

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There are lovely moments – the Carpathian landscapes are stunning, Kinski’s performance is compellingly vile, and it ends with a stirringly weird, Fellini-esque plague festival. TimeOut

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Starring Klaus Kinski, Herzog’s take on the Count Dracula legend intersperses strange tableaux and alienating nature photography into the traditional storyline. The Guardian

If you like any version of any vampire tale but you haven’t seen this, go and grab it now. You won’t be disappointed! If you’ve seen it, let me know what you think in the comments below.

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