Nosferatu the Vampyre
(Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht)
Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz, Roland Topor,
Herzog’s take on the Dracula legend by way of the F. W. Murnau original finds das Vampyre in the form not of a dashing castle-bound lover, but an ashen-faced, desiccated Klaus Kinski, spreading death, dread, and disease amidst a small German town. A film seemingly encased in cold grays and rain-stained stone, Nosferatu is one of Herzog’s most hauntingly beautiful films, or at least his most beautifully haunting, thanks to Kinski’s sinister alabaster sheen and seducer-from-the-grave aura. Herzog’s first release for a major Hollywood studio (and shot in two versions, German and English), Nosferatu was a surprise hit (“Second to Superman in Paris!” reads our 1979 note for its US premiere).