Old 12-05-2011, 07:34 PM
Nosferatu in Venice (1988)

Directed by Augusto Caminito
Starring: Klaus Kinski, Donald Pleasence, Christopher Plummer

Here comes another interesting obscurity from the vault of european horror. Klaus Kinski plays the titular bloodsucker (from what I suppose the character is based on Murnau´s film classic from 1922 rather than Stoker´s Count), just like he did about a year before in Werner Herzog´s remake of the original "Nosferatu". Taking into account that Kinski once stated that he made the film just so he could get his self-directed "Paghanini" off the ground via the same production company (no idea how that worked out though, his film ended up unreleased for quite some time) and that he´s credited for actually directing about 95% of Nosferatu in Venice, this properbly didn´t have a nice production history.

The plot has Christopher Plummer as a death-bound priest visiting a venician blue-blood family. The oldest daughter has an interest in the occult and came upon an iron-locked coffin in the basement (well, the family tomb). Plummer is supposed to be some sort of authority in the vampire-hunting field and is hired to look into the matter. Could it be that the tomb contains noone else than the fearful arch-vampire, who fell in love with a member of said family some 400 years ago?

Nosferatu in Venice, is like most things in life an aquired taste. In many ways it reminded me of the vampire-themed soft-porn that Jesse Franco dabbled in in the seventies. It´s a pure kitsch-bomb that sobs with clichés, kind of like a more adult orientated "Twillight". The dialogue has some truly sordid parts, and I mean sordid. Properbly the blame should be put on one or two of the four credited directors or writers? Not all of them though, some of the dialogue IS freakin´ poetic in a good sense. But sometimes it´s just funny because it makes no sense at all. Example? The movie features a lot of that invocating-the-devil shit and consists of saying profane stuff about the spirits invoked? Nosferatu in Venice takes that discipline to ridicoulous lenghts with dialogue like "Nosferatu-hater of mankind. Enemy of Life. Even Death hates you". When we first see Kinski onscreen, that human-hating, evil guy is sentimentally watching a sunset on the beach and then goes partying with some gypsy pals of his! The script was not particulary well written either. For instance, Plummer´s character often states that he doesn´t believe that the events at hand are the work of Nosferatu. Yet he´s supposed to be an expert on the subject and his actions (and subconsequent failiures) clearly point that he DOES believe it. The score is a big part of the film and while some parts are really good (though obviously ripped off from Goblin) sometimes it just seems intended for a different film. And a lot of the overacting extras are just plain whack, chief offenders being those priests in the flashback.

Still, for all these flaws, the film somehow worked on me. Some of the photography and directing is nothing short of blissfull and reminds alot of Kinski´s "Paghanini", which gives further fuel to the suggestion that he actually directed most of this. Kinski is kicking ass as the rather fucked up looking vampire king (think Alice Cooper on crack). Lots of it, gotta love what happens after the invocation part. And that often quoted "dream-like quality" about italian horror films is in full effect here. You may not see it, but it´s there.

Recommended for Kinski fans and arty vampire types alike. If only it was a silent film.

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