Archive for Werner Herzog

NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE (Scream Factory Blu-ray) – Count Kinski I Presume

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 07/11/2014 by Dr. Jimmy Terror

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When I was a kid I had this book called An Album of Modern Horror and in 2011 during the month of October I did a little write up about it. Check it out here: How to Make a Horror Fan. I took it out of the library in my little town and pretty much never returned it, and while I hadn’t seen many of the movies in the book at the time I knew that the images inside told stories of their own. Case in point: Nosferatu. Not the original Nosferatu mind you, the F.W. Murnau classic vampire picture that broker all the rules, copyrights and was nearly lost due to Stoker’s widow. Nope. We’re talking about the methodical, atmospheric, less terrifying and more melancholy with a hint of super creep Werner Herzog remake starring Klaus Kinski. Scream Factory is releasing the Blu-ray of the Herzog classic, the original Nosferatu having hit Blu-ray from Kino Classics this past year.

Synopsis: Dracula with liberties taken (I wrote that myself).

Real Synopsis from Scream Factory:

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

This is a high quality Scream Factory transfer that look perfect preserving all the subtle strangeness that Herzog is known for and brought to Nosferatu upon its recreation. The picture delightfully includes film grain, has not been DNR’d to death, and feels crisp. Stereo Audio. 1080p 1.78:1 AR. The disc contains the trailer,commentary with Herzog and the classic making of feature. The cover features both black and alternate white versions of the traditional movie art. I had Nosferatu on VHS has a kid and the art looks identical. Both the English and German versions are on the disc which were shot at the same time and not simply dubbed. I prefer the German version because Kinski sounds better in German. It looks natural.

Onto the movie…

Actual Page Grab from An Album of Modern Horror

Herzog movies get their fair share of analysis. Fans of his work seems to tear apart his pictures and their various releases to the point of a sick degenerate disorder. That being said, I don’t want to pretend like a I’m one of them. I love Nosferatu, both the original and the remake. Herzog’s version feels sad. It makes me feel the utmost sympathy for a vampire who is doomed to live for all eternity save for some fortunate sunbathing accident. This is in direct contrast to every other version of Dracula I had ever known including the original Nosferatu, Browning’s Dracula or Hammers rendition to name a few. It’s offputting especially when I think of Klaus Kinski in the lead role, a force to be planned for like a Hurricane or Noreaster. The great vamp is a kitten looking for a little peace, love and a new abode. It almost makes you feel like Herzog wasted one of the greatest looks for a vamp on a melancholy post modern personal story about living forever rather than the angry Drac of Stoker and featured in previous films. The images of plague, rat infestation and coffins of the infected being carried out are truly the most terrifying part of the movie beyond the simply look of the Count.

The liberties that Herzog takes with the Dracula story are actually enjoyable, keeping the story fresh and adding a distinctly German spin on a rendition of the German adaptation of Stoker’s work. That Herzog includes plague, maintains the great switcheroo between Mina Harker and Lucy as well as sets the whole thing in Transylvania and Germany means you may not actually know how the whole thing is going to workout. What part does Van Helsing even play in the Herzog tale as opposed to the Murnau tale and in contrast to the Stoker version? It’s nice to know that after all these years of watching vampire movies you might not actually know how this one works out from the get go.

The images in An Album of Modern Horror still give me nightmares, and while viewing Nosferatu this go around I placed the image from the book over top of the still frame on the screen remembering what it was like to see Kinski. Bald. Stark White. With Rat Fangs. The Scream Factory release of Nosferatu will impress the Herzog fans; they’re hard ones to please from my experience. It is a beautifully preserved and transferred version of this classic adaptation of one of the most important films in German history. Herzog’s vision is unique and more contemporary, but it doesn’t loose its sense of importance to the horror genre.

Nosferatu releases May 20th. Order your copy now.


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