Nosferatu a Venezia

Yes, it's true.  There was a sequel to Werner Herzog's Nosferatu.  But is it a sequel, really?  The story goes, Klaus Kinski was set to reprise his role as everyone's favorite bald, milky shapeshifter, but because he was Klaus Kinski, he arrived on set with long hair and leather pantaloons.  And that was that!  Who was going to logomachize with a master thespian?  NOTE TO SELF: Just say "argue" instead of "logomachize."  It didn't matter that the part called for a glabrous rodent of a man.  NOTE TO SELF: Just say "hairless" instead of "glabrous."  Right, so in theory, 1988's Nosferatu a Venezia is about the same fiend, but they can be viewed as separate films without much effort.

If you're up on your Kinski trivia, you know that he was a piece of shit.  Maybe I shouldn't be impudent, but then again, maybe I should.  In addition to being a director's worst nightmare, he used his post as a license to sexually assault actresses.  It was easy to get away with it in those days, especially if you were a name talent who happened to be adroit and genuinely gifted.  Let's face it; there was no #MeToo movement.  I'd be lying if I said that Kinski's behavior as it pertains to Venezia didn't hamper my viewing experience.  Still, this is a curiosity that eluded my eyeballs for, Christ, fifteen years?  I had to see it.  I am but a weak horror fan.

Vampire in Venice was helmed by five or six auteurs (!), the most popular of which was Luigi Cozzi.  Kinski himself took the reigns for a few scenes.  It's impossible to know who directed what, but it's clear as a bell that this quilt was stitched by disparate seamstresses, so to speak.  Some shots are void of color.  Others are deluged in the kind of pale blue you only find on swatches.  Despite the inconsistency, Venezia works as a cohesive unit.  Don't ask me how, but it goes down with the velvety airiness of an October sunset.

Stars Donald Pleasance and Christopher Plummer are incredible.  They're too good for the film, if we're being honest.  Plummer's Professor Catalano is allegedly the main character, yet the script drops him in the third act.  Mind you, this is going to be a spoiler, so avert your eyes if you give a shit.  Catalano fails to rout Klausferatu, so...he gives up.  Hand to Satan, he gives up.  He evacuates Venice having admitted defeat.  There is something I dig about that, but it speaks to lazy screenwriting.  Pleasance's pious cleric is entertaining in his over-the-top fidelity.  Here again, he isn't used very well, and that applies to the entire cast.

There are no real characters.  The men are authoritative, while the women are curvaceous as fuck, ready and willing to shed their feathers.  Barbara De Rossi's knockers are scientifically perfect.  I am crude to point them out, but in my defense, I wasn't excited by the sight of them when Kinski was also in the frame.  His portrayal of Nosferatu is supposed to be erotic, but it's fucking odious.  All in all, Nosferatu a Venezia delivers the grim goods for those craving simple genre delights.  The gore is spiffy, the atmosphere is Italian-Gothic and the photography shimmers.  Alas, I'm not enthused.  It doesn't compare to Herzog's original.  And yeah, the more I learn about Klaus Kinski, the less I dote on his work.

Robert Z'Dar says, "My chin was uncomfortable around Klaus."

No comments:

Post a Comment