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Nosferatu the Vampyre

Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht

Directed by Werner Herzog
West Germany, France, 1979
  • German
  • English
Werner Herzog: Ecstatic Fictions


Sent to Transylvania to negotiate for a house purchased by the monstrous Count Dracula, Jonathan Harker leaves his idyllic town, turning a deaf ear to his wife Lucy’s ill omens. Soon, Jonathan finds himself trapped, and Dracula descends from the mountains towards Lucy, with death and plague in tow.

Our take

Our epic Herzog series enters its last round! Revisiting F.W. Murnau’s classic, Herzog made a unique, elemental take on Dracula: a haunting vision of life, death, and superstition, aglow with color and finding pity for Kinski’s deathless wraith. With Isabelle Adjani, the carnal queen of Euro-horror.

Nosferatu the Vampyre Directed by Werner Herzog

Awards & Festivals

Berlin International Film Festival

1979 | Winner: Outstanding Single Achievement (Silver Berlin Bear)


National Board of Review

1979 | Winner: Top Foreign Films

Rather than be a scourge, Klaus Kinski’s interpretation of the pallid vampire has been imbued with deep sensitivity and longing. Herzog, who has long been fascinated with the sublime in nature, here maps it onto a supernatural being who represents the contradictions of humanity’s fragility and durability in the face of our own mortality.
October 31, 2016
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Herzog’s Nosferatu has three easily identifiable overlapping themes which create a vivid impression of the essence of supernatural horror. One of these is the passage of time in relation to human mortality. On their initial meeting, Nosferatu reveals to Harker how terrible it is not to be able to grow old: “Death is not the worst. There are things more terrible than death. Can you imagine, enduring centuries.” As a vampire, he is a soulless entity trapped in time.
March 19, 2016
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For all its rigorous following of genre conventions, Herzog’s Nosferatu also offers signature characteristics of its filmmaker’s ethos, as displayed in his other films from that era. Here, a director with a penchant for realism and nonfiction, adapts well to the rules of the spooky horror movie without compromising his style.
October 30, 2015
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