Home International CinemaEuropean CinemaGerman Cinema ‘Nosferatu the Vampyre’ 1979: Werner Herzog ‘Unseen’ German Version

‘Nosferatu the Vampyre’ 1979: Werner Herzog ‘Unseen’ German Version

Nosferatu the Vampyre 1979 with Isabelle Adjani and Klaus Kinski.

‘Nosferatu the Vampyre’ 1979: Werner Herzog German-language version screening

Werner Herzog’s stylish 1979 horror drama Nosferatu the Vampyre will have a two-week run at New York City’s Film Forum from Friday, Oct. 25, through Thursday, November 7. Tagged as “the unseen German-language version,” Nosferatu the Vampyre, starring Klaus Kinski in the title role, Isabelle Adjani, and Bruno Ganz, will be presented in a new 35mm print.

According to Film Forum’s press release, Herzog shot two versions simultaneously: the English-language Nosferatu the Vampyre was released in the United States theatrically and on video, whereas the German-language version, also known as Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht, though available in other territories, has been “virtually unseen” in the U.S. Needless to say, Film Forum’s presentation will feature English subtitles.

‘Nosferatu the Vampyre’: Visually haunting

Curiously, the version I watched is the German-language one. It’s dark beautiful – courtesy of cinematographer Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein, production designer Henning von Gierke, and costume designer Gisela Storch. The doom-laden Nosferatu the Vampyre is also quite disturbing, even though it lacks the Gothic horror of its inspiration: F.W. Murnau’s 1922 original (Dracula rip-off) silent masterwork.

Speaking of Murnau’s Nosferatu, Film Forum will have a special screening on Monday, November 4, at 7:30, with live piano accompaniment by Steve Sterner. Max Schreck stars in the title role – and served as the prototype for Klaus Kinski’s ratman-like performance in Herzog’s 1979 film homage. So, don’t expect to find in Nosferatu the Vampyre glamorous movie neck-biters along the lines of Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Frank Langella, David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve, or Robert Pattinson.

‘Nosferatu the Vampyre’ 1979 cast

Besides Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, and Bruno Ganz, the Nosferatu the Vampyre cast features Walter Ladengast, Dan van Husen, Jan Groth, Carsten Bodinus, and Martje Grohmann. Werner Herzog was credited for the screenplay.

Just make sure never to forget Nosferatu’s Wise Words: “Time is an abyss… Death is not the worst…”

For more information on the Film Forum screenings, visit their website.

Isabelle Adjani and Klaus Kinski Nosferatu the Vampyre 1979 image: Film Forum.

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