Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Horror Of...Halloween Night, Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), In Short

It's Halloween, we are looking at Dracula. Do we need to say much else? Well, yes.

The stories of vampires, and the story of Dracula, prove to have many branches. We see vampires in general, and Dracula himself, in many ways. For Dracula we have the debonair count that so many think of. And then there's that creepy figure, the man who does not seem entirely human.

Nosferatu, a take on Dracula where his less than human characteristics of the books remain and are enhanced. This take started in the famous silent film of the 20's. Then it returned in a major way again in 1979 with...

Nosferatu the Vampyre.

The film is a remake (Oh, no. A remake! That's the worse, right?) of the Murnau's Nosferatu. So it uses that films structure, while expanding some. The film gives us the Harkers, Jonathan and Lucy (Bruno Ganz and Isabelle Adjani). Lucy begins to have nightmares that continue through the movie. She feels an evil coming to their city of Wismar.

We see there life together, and it has a very white and clean quality probably meant to represent their purity. (But it could also just be the period look.)

Meeting his boss Renfield (Roland Topor), he learns he is being sent on an important job. An important Count in Transylvania is looking to finalize purchase of a home there in the city. Harker will be Renfield's emissary. The Count's name is Dracula. (The rights had slipped, so they could use the actual name.)

So Harker travels for 4 weeks to reach the land of the Count. Everyone is troubled to learn of his plans. They ask him to turn back.

But he laughs it off. Even a book on the superstitious dangers he faces are ridiculous to him.

And he moves on, going by coaches and foot until he is at last at Castle Dracula.

And he soon stands before the Count (Klaus Kinski) himself.

They converse, and it is easy to see how ill at ease the Count is. Distant. Sad. Lonely.

Jonathan can sense and see something is wrong. And he soon finds proof.

But it is too late. The Count soon leaves and is off across seasons, straits, channels...

and then his ship is in Wismar.

Before this, Renfield collapses into madness, seeking animals to bite.

So Dracula is on his own to deal with stuff.

Vlad the Unloader

In Wismar now, Count Dracula seeks out Lucy. He wants her. But she rebuffs him, and drives him off.

Renfield soon finds himself free. And he seeks Dracula. The Count explains that he's sent his rats to spread plague and death.

"I swear Renfield. If you get any of your sniveling on me..."

And death comes. Society is soon collapsing. And Lucy knows what's come for them. But no one will listen.

Even a doctor, Van Helsing, will not believe. He wants a scientific answer.

So Lucy is alone to deal with the vampire terror. But she's in the midst of madness, hopelessness, and death.

Can Lucy bring the city back from the brink? What will it take?

And will this movie give us a 70's downer ending?

The film is an interesting watch, seeing a return to Nosferatu's roots. But Wener Herzog creates movies that always leave and impact. So it's hard not to want to watch his take on what he deems German cinema's greatest work. (You just have to get passed his "colorful" qualities.)

So if you are looking to expand your Dracula studies this Halloween, you should look at watching this remake.

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