More Kinski?? Despite burning through directors (Maurizio Lucidi, Pasquale Squitieri, Mario Caiano, producer Caminito, who ended up finishing the movie with some help from Luigi Cozzi, and reportedly Kinski himself, along the line) like Bette Davis through a pack of Lucky Strikes, tonight's review is an evocative, sometimes surreal follow up to Werner Herzog's 1979 remake of the silent 1922 F.W. Murnau classic.With the elegant beauty of Venice as a backdrop, the historically intolerable Kinski reprises his vampire role, famously refusing to sit in the make up chair for the ugly, pitiful Max Shreck-esque look of the original, and even attacking a few of his female co-stars on the set. Also on board are no less than Christopher Plummer, Donald Pleasance, Barbara De Rossi, and the natural beauty, Anne Knecht, in her only film appearance to date.
"Vould you direkt me? I vould direkt me...zo zo hardt."
Professor Catalano (Plummer), who's dedicated his entire life to researching and hunting down the legendary vampire, Nosferatu (Kinski), arrives in plague-ridden Venice on account of a letter from a woman named Helietta (De Rossi) who claims that a coffin in her family crypt houses the very same apex blood drinker (that may or may not just be a slight extension of Kinski's Paganini with fangs here, but who can tell for sure, anyway?) that he's been after. Catalano's skepticism drives Mrs.Canins to hire a psychic to attempt to contact the monster, and although he hasn't been kipping in Helietta's cellar as she had thought, the medium's seance awakens him from a centuries-long slumber among a caravan of gypsies, suddenly feeling compelled to return to Venice and endlessly cruise the city's waterways in his gondola when he isn't clacking through the shadows in his buckled high heel shoes, in search of those foolish mortals who would dare to disturb his silent peace...
"I'll do ze fanks....zumtimes. But not ze balt het."
Don Alvise (Pleasance) delivers some memorably rambling speeches about God and evil, then disappears entirely, and when finally faced with his nemesis and life's obsession for the very first time, Catalano naturally offs himself. Wait...what? Nosferatu lustily paws at the local beauties and wills poor old grannies to throw themselves onto spikes, though his old angst-belching soul has but one true desire; the finality of death that can only come at the hand of a virgin whose love for him is throughly unconditional, and ironically, when he's later tracked down by some vampire hunters, they can only manage to mortally wound Maria (Anne Knecht), robbing him of the one girl who can grant him what he needs. He mournfully carries her nude body through the swirling morning mist...
"Fangs for that orgasm, baby..." coos Maria (Anne Knecht).
Some consider the late actor to be little more than a waxy-lipped bundle of Germanic hormones or worse. Don't count me among those folks, as his participation in a film only boosts it's stock for me; sometimes only just slightly, but in instances like tonight's review, he's an insane spectacle that demands the viewer's attention for every frame he passes through, as though the actor's very ego itself was the vampire in question, hypnotically commanding the audience to note his presence like an eager virgin might await the kiss of blood in her bed, once the sun has gone down. As for the film on the whole, it's a bold and visual one, tasting surprisingly coherent despite it's multiple chefs, nearly matching the atmospheric perfection of Herzog's film, and scoring an impressive three Wops on the rating scale. If you can snag a copy, by all means, do so with all speed. Highly recommended.
"Time has no meaning in a life that never ends...", hisses Nosferatu (Kinski).