Scream Factory blesses horror fans with yet another Blu-ray release of a cult classic. Director Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu the Vampyre" gets a high-definition upgrade for the first time. The release gives audiences the opportunity to view what is simply one of the most stylish and beautifully shot genre films.
It's widely accepted that F.W. Murnau's 1922 silent film "Nosferatu" is one of the greatest horror films of all time. The epic scene of actor Max Schreck rising from his coffin is easily one of the most frightening moments captured on celluloid. Francis Ford Coppola even mimicked it for his big-budget 1992 adaptation, "Bram Stoker's Dracula." The very look of Count Orlock has been imitated in cult favorite vampire films like "Subspecies" and the 1979 TV mini-series "Salem's Lot."
"Nosferatu the Vampyre" is a perfect example of cinematic genius and a remake that reverently improves on the original in some aspects. Every scene found in the film drips with chilling atmosphere and historic accuracy. For 107 minutes, Director/Writer Herzog transports us to the year 1850 and takes us on a journey from Wismar, Germany into the Carpathian Mountains and then back to Wismar, where a horrific plague is the perfect cover for Count Dracula's (Klaus Kinski) insatiable hunger.
The Blu-ray contains both the German and English language versions, which vary from each other quite a bit. The German version seems more lavish and epic. The English version feels slightly more rushed and is shot from different angles at times. Both versions are effective in their own ways, but I prefer the German over the English.
"Nosferatu the Vampyre" is rated PG for violence, sensuality, and frightening/intense scenes. There's not as much blood and graphic brutality as you would expect from a horror movie made in the late 1970s. Herzog relied on the mood he set for each sequence, leaving the gore and violence off-screen and to your imagination. There's no nudity or sex scenes, although Dracula does some suggestive touching as he feeds on his prey. We're also privy to some heavy breathing by both the vampire and his victim.
Scream Factory delivers some enlightening special features for "Nosferatu the Vampyre's" high-definition debut. Director Werner Herzog provides entertaining audio commentary classic horror fans will enjoy. A vintage "Making of 'Nosferatu'" featurette gives us insight into the production of the movie. Theatrical trailers are found as well.
It's extremely evident "Nosferatu the Vampyre" is Werner Herzog's grand homage to the original silent film. It was the Director's way of bringing the masterpiece to the big-screen in a way F.W. Murnau could've only imagined when he made the original: in color, featuring audio, and using the actual names of the characters found in Bram Stoker's "Dracula" novel. Murnau was never allowed to do this because Stoker's widow wouldn't give him permission. It's Herzog's ultimate tribute to what he considers "the greatest film ever to come out of Germany."
"Nosferatu the Vampyre" is available now on Blu-ray.