Nosferatu In Venice - Nosferatu In Venice(Blu Ray) [Severin - 2021]
Nosferatu In Venice is a late 80’s shot of deeply schlocky, messily structured, though at points moodily seedy slice of euro- horror- featuring the infamously difficult and unhinged Klaus Kinski in one of his final roles. The film supposable started as an unofficial sequel to Werner Herzog’s 1979 artily grim ‘n’ glum take on the vampire mythos Nosferatu- which of course featured Kinski as the vamp. But what we get instead is a rather lopsided, at points wonkily strung together film- that shifts between sleazed campness, unintentional amusing OTT-ness, and a few effective enough moments atmosphere, female flesh edged gore and moody shots of Venice. Here from the folks over at Severin- is the first-ever Blu Ray release of the film, taking in a new scan, and a rather interesting feature-length doc focusing in on Kinski's last few films.
Appearing in the year 1988 Nosferatu In Venice (aka Vampire In Venice, Prince Of The Night) had one of the more troubled/ difficult productions of any of the Euro-horror film of the 80's. It had not one but four directors- Augusto Caminito (producer of King Of New York), Klaus Kinski, Maurizio Lucidi(The Designated Victim & Probability Zero), and Luigi Cozzi(Contamination & Starcrash). And it’s fair to say the film is a very uneven blend of trying to be darkly classy/ moody, and prime euro trash-ness.
Set in then present-day Venice, the film focuses on Professor Paris Catalano (Christopher Plummer) who is visiting the city to investigate the last known sighting of vampire Nosferatu during the carnival of 1786. And of course, the infamous bloodsucker reappears again. Added into the mix we have an ageing and often angry Donald Pleasence as Don Alvise, and Barbara De Rossi as Helietta Canins the main focus of Kinski lust, leer and blood taking. Kinski takes a little time to appear, and it’s fair to say he’s at his most seedy and sleazed here.
The whole thing kicks off decidedly classy enough with well-captured shots of sunset waterscapes/ landscapes, sonically topped by a grand-if-slightly dated sounding soundtrack by Vangelis. But fairly soon the film shifts to hammy acting, bad/ at points jarring pacy, muddled plotting, an even blend of the camp and seedily atmosphere. In Herzog’s Nosferatu- Kinski played a decidedly darkly melancholic and coldly tragic take on a blood-sucker, with his shaved head and two vamp buck teeth. In Nosferatu In Venice, he is dripping with leering sleaze- with ragged long grey hair, badly lined and haggled face. When he attacks there is nothing romantic or darkly gothic, it’s all deeply seedy and sleazily vicious- as he rips garments, fondles breasts and privates, before crudely kissing lips, and drawing rapidly dripping blood. As a shot of 80’s euro- horror campiness flecked with uneven slashes of atmosphere, primal lust, and hammy schlock- it’s entertaining enough, though it’s no were near the glum mastery of Herzog’s Nosferatu, so enter into it not expecting too much & you won’t be too disappointed.
Moving onto this recent Blu Ray, and it’s a region free disc. It features a new 2k scan of the film- and it’s nice bright & bold print, looking very good for a late 80’s film. Moving onto the extras- and the main thing here is Creation is Violent – Anecdotes From Kinski’s Final Years, this is a one hour and twenty-minute doc directed by Josh Johnson. Mr Johnson does an impressive job gathering together a great selection of talking heads who worked with/ knew Kinski between the years 1985 and 1991, when he sadly passed away in his isolated Californian home. The films covered/ talked about here are Creature, Crawlspace, Revenge of the Stolen Stars, Vampire in Venice, and Paganini. Each film covered finds either actors, crew or directors talking about their experiences with Kinski- and his raging, at times unbearable and crude behaviour towards women. It’s a most insightful and rewarding doc, and in the latter part, we get some of the most interesting interviews with a local postmaster and her daughter who befriended Kinski in his last few years in California. Lastly, we get two cut scenes from Nosferatu In Venice with comments from those who were involved- these run a total of ten minutes.
It's great to finally see this latter-day Kinski film getting a wonderful reissue from the folks at Severin- and the doc alone makes it a worthy purchase. Certainly not some of Kinski best film work by a long way, but Nosferatu In Venice certainly has its moments of sleazy intensity and cheesy hammy-ness.Roger Batty