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1.11.2006

Nosferatu


This modern remake of Murnau's black and white classic does the original justice and then some. It has legs, or shall I say fingers of it's own. The super creepy original, a silent scream of a film released in 1911, has long been considered a masterpiece for its use of shadows and suspense. But German filmmaker Werner Herzog has several modern aspects of cinematography at his disposal, namely sound and color, to build upon this story of Count Dracula and thus he develops a more emotional motion picture.

Many moviegoers avoid the current horror genre, as the screen is too awash in red to merit anything but distaste. Traditional horror films were better at spooking people. They worked hard at building an ambiance, the dread was delivered a drop at a time, until the climatic overflow revealed the dreadful unexpected conclusion. This 1979 classic works on the same premise. Although I can't claim it to be a horrific ending, most of the film plays like a soft, dark, saturated nightmare. You run to get away, but you move in slow motion, and are helpless to shadows that surround you.

This film is based heavily on the 1897 Bram Stoker novel Dracula, although not as strict as an interpretation as Francis Ford Coppola's version in 1992. The original novel is written as a series of correspondences between English real estate lawyer Jonathan Harker and his fiancee Mina Murry. John has been dispatched to a remote castle in the Carpathian Mountains. This Nosferatu uses the same set-up, with the exception that the couple are married and living in Germany before he sets off.

One can not help wonder about potential contemporary parallels experienced at the time by a German director, lead actor and crew. Here we have a local "hero" sent East, into the dark, gloomy underbelly of Eastern Europe, only to return and destroy his town and culture in the process. (Remember the Berlin Wall was still up at this time.)

I love this film. It has the ambient tone and structuring of the original. But we get to hear the Count speak, and Klaus Kinski has to be recognized as the heart and soul of this endeavor. He is fantastic in this production. Even if he is one of the undead.

13 comments:

PixieGaf said...

I love this movie! Is this the horror movie you were going to evaluate in my honor?

LA said...

I enjoyed your review, but I'm afraid it's another film I know I'll never get to! Girls get scared!

GetFlix said...

Yes Pixie, and I am really glag you like it.

LA, that's cool. But this movie isn't super scary.

scout said...

love all your reviews... might even check this one out even though i'm not a horror fan!

GetFlix said...

Thanks Scout. This one is not super scary, and has a real dreamy edge to it. I think you might enjoy it.

joy said...

getflix,
You updated !!!awesome. This movie scared the be-jezus out of me.

GetFlix said...

Thanks for the visit Joy! I am going to try and write once a week from now on.

v said...

I have yet to catch this version but I will soon. However, the original NOSFERATU by Murnau is spectacular. To this day I vividly remember the 'shadow grasp' of the heart. Simply a masterpiece.

jane_austen said...

I remember the first time I saw the original 'Nosferatu', it
a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y scared the shit out of me. The grainy black and white filming, the absolute creepiness of the character, Nosferatu, gave me nightmares for months. I kid you not. I was such a big baby when I was younger, and I think this is maybe why I don't watch horror films to this day. Yikes! :)
BTW, Cool site Getflix!

bird said...

Hey Getflix,
This movie looks scary!
I do love your reviews

What is your favorite indie?

GetFlix said...

That heart grasp is awesome, V! So much imagination can be found in films from the silent era.

Thanks for the visit, Jane. Don't worry we're all big babies.

Mulholland Drive is my favorite, bird!

markus said...

ok, you sold me!

GetFlix said...

Hey Markus! It's kinda scary, but with a sense of humor.