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Nosferatu The Vampyre Blu-ray Review

Nosferatu The Vampyre Blu-ray

“Nosferatu the Vampyre” is an inferior remake.

In Werner Herzog’s 1979 remake of the iconic 1922 silent film “Nosferatu,” the story revolves around real estate agent Jonathan Harker who ventures to Transylvania to deal with a client (Count Dracula) despite being warned by his wife (Lucy) as well as other folks to avoid the Count’s castle. After meeting Count Dracula (who is looking to buy a castle in Wismar, Germany), Jonathan discovers that he is, of course, a vampire and that he has become entranced by his wife Lucy. After trapping Jonathan in his castle, Dracula departs for Wismar to find Lucy. Can Jonathan save himself and his wife or will Dracula get what he desires?

Before I dig into “Nosferatu the Vampyre,” I should say upfront that I greatly admire Werner Herzog. Not only is he one of the most fascinating people, he’s also one of the most fascinating directors. He’s a visual maestro whose work is truly in a league of its own. Now, I wish I could say ‘Nosferatu’ is among one of his finest works, but unfortunately, I don’t feel that way.

While the film certainly has its fans, I find this leisurely paced remake to be wholly unnecessary. Sure, Herzog adds his own unique visual flair and reworks the story (namely the ending and Van Helsing’s role), but retelling a classic story seems beneath Herzog. For the entire length of “Nosferatu the Vampyre,” you can’t help but compare it to both “Nosferatu” and “Dracula.” No matter how much Herzog tries, his version always stands in the shadow of those two classics. I’m not saying he shouldn’t have tried to add to the Dracula mythos since it’s a very popular subject, but I am saying that despite his best effort, it can’t live up to those 2 films that set the bar so high. Of course, that’s a complaint that can be made of many remakes as the original is almost always better.

Aside from Herzog’s direction, there is one aspect in which “Nosferatu the Vampyre” does shine brightly and that’s with star Klaus Kinski. It’s no secret that Klaus Kinski and Werner Herzog had a tumultuous friendship, but they also brought out the best in each other. Whenever Kinski worked with Herzog, he always threw himself into a role and that’s certainly no exception here. Kinski’s take on Dracula is decidedly creepy, layered, and nuanced and he brings new dimensions to the character. It’s a stand-out performance that is better than the film itself.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? In a word, stunning.

Audio Tracks: German (5.1 and 2.0) and English DTS-HD MA Stereo tracks. How do they sound? Skip the English track and play the German 5.1 track as that is the way the film was meant to be heard.

Extras include a 13 minute vintage “Making of Nosferatu” featurette, a still gallery, 3 theatrical trailers, and English and German (with English subtitles) Werner Herzog commentaries. As always, Herzog is utterly fascinating to listen to as he talks about scenes, set stories, creative choices, etc.

Overall Thoughts: If you are a fan of Herzog, Kinski, Dracula, or the Scream Factory line, pick up “Nosferatu the Vampyre.” Otherwise, stick with the original, folks.

May 28, 2014 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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