31 Days of Halloween-Day 9: Nosferatu in Venice (1988)

Where 1979’s Nosferatu The Vampyre is a modern-day classic retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the 1988 sequel, Nosferatu in Venice, is an odd mix that might not be for everybody. If you’ve never heard of it, that’s because it’s been virtually unseen since its’ original release. For starters, the movie went through four directors. Producer Augusto Caminito fired Maurizo Lucidi and Pasquale Squiteri before production really got underway. Third director Mario Caiano got into a heated argument with Klaus Kinski on his first day of shooting and quit. After paying all three directors their full salary and the budget clearly out of control, Augusto assumed the role of director in hopes the movie could just get finished. Reportedly, even Kinski directed himself in a few scenes. Kinski was more than demanding on the film and insisted he would not wear the vampire makeup from the original. With no big teeth and sporting a head of long hair, he doesn’t even resemble the count from the first film. There are some interesting supporting actors in Christopher Plummer as Professor Paris Catalano, who is search of the vampire, and Donald Pleasence as Don Alvise. Kinski does portray the count as more vicious and beastlike this time, yet still manages to display a sad and sympathetic side at times. Without the makeup, he is also able to be much more sexual. He can also go out in the day and crosses have no effect on him. He has an air of indestructibility about him. There is very little that connects the two films, so the original doesn’t necessarily need to be seen before this one. However, it is interesting to compare Kinski’s two performances. The movie is very atmospheric and offers an interesting take on the vampire lore, if sometimes uneven. The sex and blood are also ramped up for this second outing. This was Klaus Kinski’s next to last film before dying of a heart attack in 1991. While it would be nice if the film was more readily available, I’m not sure a wide release would do anything to improve the already negative image many people have of Kinski as an actor. His notorious off-screen persona was in full swing for this production. The only place I’ve ever been able to locate a copy is on iOffer. So take your time and shop around but know that finding a copy will be difficult but the prices aren’t too expensive. However, it is worth having in your collection.

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