Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The 8th Hall Of Fame Inductee Representing Horror Film - Nosferatu, Phantom Der Nacht (1979) - Werner Herzog

Trust Werner Herzog to make the greatest of the plethora of adaptations of Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic of vampire fiction, Dracula. Essentially a remake of F.W. Murnau’s 1922 Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie Des Grauens, which Herzog considered the greatest film to come out of Germany. Unlike Murnau, who was sued by the Stoker estate over copyright infringement, Herzog was able to proceed with free reign, as the rights for Dracula had entered the public domain. As such, what results, not unlike Ingmar Bergman’s sole horror film Hour Of The Wolf status as an anamoly in his oeuvre, so too is Herzog’s Nosferatu. A uniquely baroque film in atmosphere, like it’s predecessor, much of what is expressed emotionally is through the beautiful cinematography and the experimental-folk sounds of Popol Vuh, who perform the film’s score. It also helps that the three central performances are all among the best work of the actors. Bruno Ganz’s Jonathan Harker is an engaging protagonist with a slowly-developing arc, and Isabelle Adjani is a wholly sympathetic Lucy (the film’s equivalent to Mina) Harker, expressing in a few seconds what it would take some to do in a few minutes. Finally, the normally wild and unbridled Klaus Kinski delivers a restrained, heartfelt performance of real subtlety, managing for all the character’s menace to at the same time nail down the tragic loneliness of the character’s damnation to immortality. It’s the best depiction of the Count in the best adaptation of the novel.

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