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Nosferatu In Venice
Nosferatu In Venice (aka Vampire In Venice) lists five(!) contributing directors responsible for its creation, one of whom is Luigi (Lewis Coates) Cozzi. This raises, and answers, two questions for the middling Eurotrash film fan such as myself: why haven't I heard of this movie before, and, can I go back in time to before I'd heard of it? Please?
More than anything, the movie represents squandered potential. What could be better than a sex-charged sequel to Werner Herzog's magnificent Nosferatu The Vampyre, starring once again the maniacal Klaus Kinski, not to mention Christopher Plummer and Donald Pleasence? Well, pretty much anything is better than this damp, smoky mess of a movie, relatively short on sex, reliant on overdubbed exposition, and saddled with a bare handful of special effects that would even embarrass Cozzi (himself the MASTER of bad effects). Whats worse, any potential histrionic showdowns between Kinski, Pleasence, or hell, even potentially Plummer, are nowhere to be found. Kinski turns in perhaps his most restrained performance, which in any other movie would be cause for grudging admiration. Here, his wounded, thoughtful mien simply deflates the film. On the other hand, the scenery is gorgeous.
Launching with Plummer's character Professor Paris Catalano surmising that Nosferatu "most wants death" for himself, the movie takes that (undead) humanist idea to an illogical extreme, leading its viewers to crave death. The movie bounces back and forth in time, following the vampire's last public appearances at a Venetian carnival in 1786, and present day, as he is awakened by a seance attended by Catalano. While the blood-sucker can't resist once again making whoopee with a few comely lasses, he's summarily chased around town by their angry dads and the professor. Ultimately, things creak slowly to an unsatisfying end.
There was the kernel of a good idea somewhere in this mess, which was worked, re-worked, scrapped and hastily wrapped up, due to creative differences and an unstable Kinski. It's a pity Kinski's mania didn't at least appear on screen, but in the end this is a project that, in this form, shouldn't have appeared on screen either. Wretched temporary (I hope) special effects shots are laughable, and what on paper should represent good performances are left with seemingly little to do. What's good, if you're looking for it, are scenes of rapturous tone-poetry, with gypsy dancers and costumed revelers hypnotizing viewers with sinuous beauty, or images of a dandified Kinski stalking the alleys of Venice at dusk. Somehow, I doubt that's what punters hoped for.
Severin delivers Nosferatu In Venice in a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC-encoded 1.85:1 widescreen ratio presentation, sourced from the original camera negative. It looks pretty good, better than it has a right to. Details are stout, except in the most murky outdoor scenes, and colors are vibrant, rich and deep, highlighting what little blood is there, but especially the atmosphere in Venice, subtle lighting, and the costumes of the various dancers.
English and Italian language DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono tracks are provided, which, according to online speculation, were augmented to create a stereo effect by adding a slight delay between left and right channels. In other words, don't expect a ton of dynamism in from the sound design, and be prepared for dialog tracks that are dubbed to varying degrees no matter what presentation you enjoy. Ultimately the dialog is mostly clean, though it varies in level every so often. The soundtrack uses a score supplied by Luigi Ceccarelli and inspired by themes of Vangelis. It lends a fair amount of atmosphere, and sounds quite fine.
Were it not for the extras, this release would be only for a VERY SELECT FEW (like 5 or 6 people). However, Severin includes a new Feature-Length Documentary: Creation is Violent with interviews and footage from the last handful of Kinski's delirious films, including a lengthy segment about his passion project Kinski: Paganini. Kinski's violent nature and capricious tendencies are examined at length, culminating in a poignant coda. Required viewing for Kinski fans. In addition, ten-minutes of Outtakes from the documentary go into greater detail about the making of Nosferatu In Venice. Lastly, find a Trailer for the movie included in the extras.
Nosferatu In Venice makes for half-baked high-concept hijinks. Featuring a restrained performance from Klaus Kinski, this unofficial sequel to Herzog's 1979 remake by all rights should have been a delirious romp. Instead, the deeply troubled production bounces around with a fractured feel, squandered potential, not enough exploitation elements, and terrible special effects. Though it looks gorgeous, it arrives undead on arrival. Were it not for the feature-length Kinski documentary included in the extras, this would merit only a Rent It recommendation. However, for Kinski fans, that bulky extra makes this release Recommended.