Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Nosferatu the Vampyre)

1979

Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Nosferatu the Vampyre)

Critics Consensus

Stunning visuals from Werner Herzog and an intense portrayal of the famed bloodsucker from Klaus Kinski make this remake of Nosferatu a horror classic in its own right.

95%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 55

83%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 21,251
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Movie Info

For Werner Herzog's 1979 remake of F.W. Murnau's classic 1922 silent horror-fest Nosferatu, star Klaus Kinski adopts the same makeup style used by Murnau's leading man Max Schreck. Yet in the Herzog version, the crucial difference is that Nosferatu becomes more and more decayed and desiccated as the film progresses. Essentially a retelling of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Nosferatu the Vampyre traces the blood-sucking progress of the count as he takes over a small German village, then attempts to spread his influence and activities to the rest of the world. All that prevents Dracula from continuing his demonic practices is the self-sacrifice of Lucy Harker, played by Isabelle Adjani. Director Werner Herzog used the story to parallel the rise of Nazism. The film was lensed in the Dutch towns of Delft and Scheiberg. Nosferatu the Vampyre was filmed in both an English and a German-speaking version; the latter runs 11 minutes longer. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Nosferatu the Vampyre)

All Critics (55) | Top Critics (12)

  • It's a curious mix: at times deliriously hammy, at others melancholy, contemplative and oddly beautiful.

    Sep 22, 2015 | Rating: 4/5

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Nosferatu the Vampyre comes across as the perfect conflation of everything that makes Werner Herzog Werner Herzog.

    Oct 31, 2013 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • This is Herzog's journey to the heart of darkness, a film that specifically echoes his earlier offerings The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser and his South American odyssey Aguirre, Wrath of God.

    Oct 31, 2013 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • To say of someone that they were born to play a vampire is a strange compliment, but if you will compare the two versions of Nosferatu you might agree with me that only Kinski could have equaled or rivaled Max Schreck's performance.

    Nov 24, 2011 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • This is a pinnacle of horror cinema: atmospheric, rhapsodic and -- especially in the slow-burn confrontations between Lucy and her otherworldly inamorato -- achingly transcendent.

    Nov 17, 2011 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    Keith Uhlich

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Between the hordes of stowaway rats that accompany Dracula's arrival, and a town-plaza dance of folly by doomed survivors (a Herzog addition), it's like being present at the birth of a medieval legend.

    Oct 29, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Nosferatu the Vampyre)

  • Feb 13, 2013
    Count Dracula: Death is not the worst. There are things more horrible than death. Nosferatu The Vampyre is my favorite of the Dracula adaptations I've seen thus far in my life. I've only seen a few of Herzog's non-documentary films and this is my favorite of the three. The other two being Bad Lieutenant and My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?. This has that distinct Herzog feel to it and I don't believe there was a better director to remake F.W. Murnau's silent classic, and there also wasn't anyone who could have portrayed Count Dracula as perfectly and terrifyingly as Klaus Kinski. This is one of the few horror films I've seen that I would describe as beautiful and it's no wonder coming from Herzog. The imagery and settings are absolutely gorgeous and atmospheric. Werner Herzog's Nosferatu should not be missed by any film or horror buff. This is an absolute classic and up there for one of the best vampire movies ever. I loved every second of it.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 14, 2012
    **** out of **** You know a classic film is close to somebody's heart when, to the Americans, it is foreign; but to the person describing the film, it is native - and yet the person goes on to describe it as the best motion picture ever to come out of their home country. In the case of Werner Herzog - that daring ground-breaker of a filmmaker - F.W. Murnau's "Nosferatu" is the best German production ever to grace the silver screen. Nobody just says something like this for the hell of it; Herzog especially must have his good reason for loving the classic, spectacularly spooky (and loose) adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula"; just as we all do. Given his admiration for the original film, you know where he's going with "Nosferatu the Vampyre", which serves as a very close, faithful, and highly successful remake of the Murnau film rather than another old adaptation of the age-old story. Since the original, 1922 "Nosferatu" was celluloid terror written in Gothic black-and-white visuals and architecture, make-up effects that were decidedly way ahead of its time, and a unique take on a classic tale of vampirism; there were indeed things that were in need of updating, as well as things that probably should have been left alone. Luckily, Herzog sees everything; from the world to the movies that he watches, and he knew what had to be done. What he offers up is a visual update of the story, filled with his own stylistic touches. He also provides a more emotionally resonant vampire than that of the original "Nosferatu". I cannot say whether it improves on the Murnau film or not; all I know is that it certainly doesn't dishonor it, and that's all that matters. Sure enough, not much has changed plot-wise; although this time, Herzog is able to avoid the copyright issues that Murnau faced when making the original; thus, he's able to use the character names brought up in Bram Stoker's classic novel. Most of the time, the story is familiar (given that some stuff differentiates; but not too much), but Herzog laces it with enough spectacle and atmosphere to make up for any form of déjà vu. A real-estate agent, Jonathan Harker (Bruno Ganz), is sent from his native land of Wismar, Germany to the obscure and mountainous regions of Transylvania. It is there that he shall meet a client interested in purchasing a new home in Wismar; Count Dracula is his name. The journey is long and complicated; but Jonathan is able to make it to the Count's large-but-creepy castle in one piece. He arrives at night; which is, as we learn, a good time for the Count (Klaus Kinski), as he seems to resent the daytime hours. He allows Jonathan to stay in his home for a few days and a few nights so that the proper paperwork can get dealt with; and also so that the two can get more properly acquainted. As we've been brought up to expect from this legendary story; the Count is a vampire. But Jonathan does not believe in such creatures; regardless of the various warnings given to him by a few gypsy-types on his way to the estate. His beliefs will be put to the test when the classic clichés and tropes of vampirism will come alive when he observes the Count's behavior and actions from a distance. Think of it: nobody knows where he sleeps; he never shows during the day; his skin is pale, his head bald; his teeth resemble that of a rat, and his ears a bat; and his fingernails are long and slender. If that isn't enough to convince Jonathan that his newest customer is a bloodsucking devil, then I haven't a single idea what is. Here is what happens from then on: the Count samples the blood of Jonathan, becomes entranced by a photograph of his beautiful wife (who is at home) whose name is Lucy (Isabelle Adjani), locks him in the house the next morning, and stows away onto a ship headed for Wismar via coffin, his favorite method of transportation next to the boat the delivers him. And when the boat enters the harbor of Wismar; Herzog is at his prime. The image of the ship containing Count Dracula yet again coming into contact with land and bringing death-by-plague - not to mention an entire rat infestation - to wherever it may anchor. Above all, I think that Herzog displays his affection for storytelling through the imagery of his films; which often takes the place of narrative conventions and plot. If anything, I think the film is visual storytelling at its finest. Aside from the suitably intoxicating scenes taking place inside the remarkably Gothic castle of Count Dracula; what gives the film its beauty is the humanity in the Dracula character himself. I think it's rather surprising how, when looking at horror movie history, the most humanity comes not from actual human beings; but rather the creatures - however humanoid they may be - which are labeled by society as monsters. Kinski portrays the Count as lonely, loveless, and unable to die; a horrible combination of the three. He cannot ease his pain as the mortals of the world can; he sees his vampirism as a curse, and one that he cannot uplift. I didn't see such depth in the original film; although perhaps I saw something more all-together and therein lays the magic of Herzog's "Nosferatu" remake. It isn't Murnau's "Nosferatu"; it is purely Herzog's movie, and he makes that known through scenes that depict a sort of spiritual connection with nature, architecture, and location. Then again, maybe that's just Herzog's own relationship with his style of filmmaking. I recognize that this is an impossible bond to break; the sign of a true artist, more or less.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 25, 2011
    Great 70's old school style vampire movie. This follows Dracula's story of Jonothan Harker visiting Transylvania to sort out a deal with Count Dracula who wants to buy a house in England. The difference with the Dracula in Werner Herzog's version is that his Dracula/Nosferatu is a very lonely man/vampire, tired of living for centuries, not some evil blood sucker but an ugly blood sucker none the less and deep down he needs blood to survive and eventually causes havoc on his move to England. A brilliant performance from Klaus Kinski as Dracula and a must see for vampire fans.
    Adam M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 09, 2011
    A remake of the silent classic courtesy of director Werner Herzog. It is very slow and some may find it boring, but the dark creepy atmosphere is constant and Klaus Kinski is great in the lead role as the Vampire. It's not a blood drenched film, but if you're in the mood for something a little slow paced and atmospheric then check it out!
    Lee ? Super Reviewer

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