Werner Herzog's Nosferatu, The Vampyre harkens back to F.W. Murnau's 1922 silent film classic based on Bram Stoker's novel. The German director's intention is to deal with the Dracula legend in a new way that is both serious and seductive.
Klaus Kinski's Nosferatu is a sickly looking recluse with rodent-like ears and predominant fangs. He is the archetypal lovesick loner imprisoned in an eternity of longing. After putting an abyss between Jonathan Harker (Bruno Ganz) and his lovely wife Lucy (Isabella Adjani), the Count travels from Transylvania to the city where they live. He arrives with a shipload of plague-carrying rats. Despite the protestations of Dr. Van Helsing (Walter Ladengast), who refuses to admit any reality beyond observable facts, Lucy sacrifices herself to the malevolent Nosferatu in order to save the city from total destruction.
The film is filled with luxuriant images and mannered performances. Although there are no really scary moments in the tale, Herzog does convey the eerie mystery of the Dracula legend with its supernatural blend of Eros, spiritual sacrifice, madness, and death.