Thursday, 7 February 2008


Werner Herzog

"The Nosferatu do not die like the bee when he stings once. He is only stronger... This vampire which is amongst us is of himself so strong in person as twenty men, he is of cunning more than mortal, for his cunning be the growth of ages, ...he can, within his range, direct the elements, the storm, the fog, the thunder, he can command all the meaner things, the rat, and the owl, and the bat, ... and the wolf, ..., and he can at times vanish and come unknown."

-Bram Stoker, 1897

Although the production is technically an adaptation of Bram Stoker's 1987 novel Dracula, the film was actually conceived as a stylistic remake of the 1922 German Dracula adaptation, Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens.

Nosferatu the Vampyre was co-produced by Werner Herzog Filmproduktion, Gaumont and ZDF. As was common for German films during the 1970s, Nosferatu the Vampyre was filmed on a minimal budget, and with a crew of just 16 people. Herzog could not film in Bremen, where the original Murnau film was shot, so he relocated production to Delft, the Netherlands. Parts of the film were shot in nearby Schiedam, after Delft authorities refused to allow Herzog to release 11,000 rats for a scene in the film. Dracula's home is represented by locations in the Czech Republic.

At the request of distributor 20th Century Fox, Herzog produced two versions of the movie simultaneously, to appeal to western audiences. Scenes with dialogue were filmed twice, in German and in English, meaning that the actor's own voices (as opposed to dubbed dialogue by voice actors) could be included in the English version of the film. However, many consider the performances in the German language version to be superior, as Kinski and Ganz could act more confidently in their native language.

Music for the film was performed by the German group Popol Vuh, who have collaborated with Herzog on numerous projects.

About the Director:

Werner Herzog (born Werner Stipetić on September 5, 1942) is a German film director, screenwriter, actor and opera director of Croatian descent.

He is often associated with the German New Wave movement (also called New German Cinema), along with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlondorff, Wim Wenders and others. His films often feature heroes with impossible dreams or people with unique talents in obscure fields.

Herzog's films have received considerable critical acclaim and achieved popularity on the art house circuit. They have also been the subject of controversy in regard to their themes and messages, especially the circumstances surrounding their creation. A notable example is Fitzcarraldo, in which the obsessiveness of the central character was mirrored by the director during the making of the film. His treatment of subjects has been characterized as Wagnerian in its scope, as Fitzcarraldo and his later film Invincible (2001) are directly inspired by opera, or operatic themes. He is proud of never using storyboards and often improvising large parts of the script, as he explains on the commentary track to Aguirre: The Wrath of God. Herzog directed five films starring Klaus Kinski, Aguirre: The Wrath of God,Nosferatu, Woyzeck, Fitzcarraldo and Cobra Verde. In 1999 he directed and narrated the documentary film My Best Friend, a retrospective on his often rocky relationship with Kinski.

The official Werner Herzog website:

poster by Merryn John Tharakan

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