In Nosferatu The Vampyre (Germany 1979), gender has taken a different, much stronger role.
The story remains the same. Jonathon Harker is sent by his boss, Mr. Renfield, to Transylvania where he is to meet and sell Count Dracula a property (this time in Germany). He says goodbye to his beautiful wife, Lucy, and off he goes...
The journey takes nearly a month, and of course everyone warns Jonathon to not got to the castle. They flat out tell him that the count is a vampire, they even give him a book on the subject! But Jonathon is not deterred, and continues on his mission.
It doesn't take long after meeting Count Dracula for Jonathon to start thinking WTF!
When he accidentally cuts his hand eating, the count tries to assist by licking/sucking his hand clean...
When Count Dracula sees a picture of Jonathon's wife Lucy, he knows he must have her. he signs all papers and makes passage to Wismar, Germany. Into the port arrives a ship with all crew dead, coffins filled with cursed earth, and thousands of rats...
When Jonathon returns, he is deathly sick. He doesn't even recognize Lucy, and the sunlight hurts his eyes. Lucy reads his diary and although she's unable to elicit any help from others, she knows what she must do. She knows that the sign of the cross bans him, that the consecrated host can bar his retreat, and that if a pure hearted woman diverts his attention from the cry of the cock, the first light of day will obliterate him.
Lucy pleads with Dr. Van Helsing to help her, that she knows what's going on and how to stop it. Van Helsing dismisses her like a child. He tells her it's only a figment of her imagination. Lucy decides and declares to do what's necessary on her own, and does just that.
When Count Dracula makes his rude entry into Lucy's room, he's rather un-vampire'ish apologetic.
He's uses the door! And verbally apologizes for his rude entry, and formally introduces himself. He asks Lucy to give him some of the love which she gives to Jonathon. Unlike most of Lucy's counterparts who obey Dracula to the fullest, Lucy stands her ground telling Dracula "I never will. I won't even give that love to God. If Jonathon can't have my love, then no one else will..."
Lucy is confronted with a Dracula that's more of an animal, a monster, than many other depictions. This is keeping true to the 1922 silent film Nosferatu based off the book by Bram Stoker. This creature is not Lestat, from "Interview With The Vampire," or Edward, from the "Twilight" movies.
Both Lestat and Edward have an obvious physical appeal. They are mesmerizing, smooth, and sexual. Pretty much the polar opposite from Count Dracula in Nosferatu. It is this which makes Lucy's character so amazing strong. She has a solution, and asks for help. She receives NONE, and decides to do it all herself. She knows what she needs to do...
She must lure Count Dracula , this hideous monster, and keep his attention from the cry of the cock. To do so, she freely sacrifices herself. her plan works, and Dracula collapses as the sunlight engulfs him. Dr. Van Helsing arrives, only to find Lucy dead. But he finishes the job with a stake to Dracula's heart.
But is it really over??
While the film Nosferatu the Vampyre does take on the storyline behind the similar film Nosferatu,the movie is significantly influenced by the directors background also. Werner Herzog was born in a remote area in which he spent his time coming to understand the balance of nature. His films often used beautiful scenery and local people of the areas he shot to show the harsh reality of the world around him. In an interview, he states that he filmed his movies with so much geological authenticity as a
homage to his native country Germany. Through this cultural authenticity he believes that his remake of the original Nosferatu makes for a legitimate conveyance of the story of Dracula. It is in this harsh and treacherous world that he was able to find inspiration for his vampire debut. Just as Dracula is blessed with eternal life, he is damned with lonely immortality. This reflects on Herzog’s view of the beautiful but unforgiving world that surrounded him. This version of Dracula is similar to the one sometimes drawn in fanfiction- a monster just as terrifying as he is pathetic.
It is because of his nontraditional and somewhat bizarre directing techniques that he believes made him such a successful director. Herzog was so committed to make his masterpiece look as credible as possible that he even had each of the ten thousand rats dyed by hand from white to grey. Interestingly, this is not the most far-fetched scheme that Werner Herzog was able to pull off. While on site, he did not have the documents to be filming, as the permission he did have to film was for another movie that he lead the government to believe was the same as Nosferatu the Vampyre. While to many he may have been seen as maniacal, some have described this incredible dedication towards the film as a filmmaker’s “purposefully austere aspiration to beauty.”
Werner Herzog considered Nosferatu the Vampyre to be the most significant German movie ever created.
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