Nosferatu The Vampyre

Year: 1979

Genre: Horror

Duration: 107 mins

Starring: Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz, Roland Topor

Director: Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog's typically personal contribution to vampire lore is both a luminous tribute to the great Gothic landmarks of an earlier era of German cinema and a remarkably resonant and powerful film in its own right. While echoing both Bram Stoker's "Dracula" and Murnau's Nosferatu, Herzog's account of the Harkersfateful encounter with the Transylvanian count is considerably more than just another horror movie. Klaus Kinski's extraordinary, painstakingly detailed playing of Dracula produces rich undertones of melancholy - could the warmth of human intercourse ever compensate for the chilly tedium of immortality? While Isabelle Adjani's tremulous, wide-eyed performance, drawing on silent-movie tropes, brings a profound intensity both to Lucy's anxieties and to her courage in protecting her husband Jonathan (Bruno Ganz). Often to the accompaniment of music by Wagner or Popul Vuh, J-rg Schmidt-Reitwein's stunning images - whether of the Count's castle in the Carpathian Mountains or of bourgeois Delft caught up in a crazed dance of death - both heighten and enlarge the drama. For Herzog, what's at risk is not so much a hitherto happy marriage as humanity itself. Geoff Andrew