Monday, January 24, 2011
Nosferatu The Vampyre
A Vampire Count from Sighisoara thought it would be a good idea to make a hostile takeover of my fiefdom and become Voivide of Tirgoviste in my place.
I lost two fledglings in the war, but I'm happy to report that the Bastard Vampyre has met his final doom, and in return I claimed his Sighisoara holdings and fledglings for my own.
My oldest fledgling is now running the kingdom from the town's ClockTower overlooking its wonderful necropolis, and I think I will spend the Winter there and amuse myself with my new consorts!
I spent last night re-watching Werner Herzog's classic Nosferatu The Vampyre, starring the volatile Klaus Kinski and the angelic Isabelle Adjani. I would have to say it's my favourite telling of the Dracula Legend, even surpassing the 1922 original. Next I will reviewing its unofficial sequel and also a favourite: Nosferatu In Venice.
Following the Dracula story more faithfully in this remake, since the novel and characters passed into public domain, this feature allows Dracula to retain his name instead of his 'psuedonym' Graf Orlok, though he retains Max Shreck's rodent features, and for some reason Jonathan Harker's wife is named Lucy whilst her best friend, and victim of Dracula is named Mina.
At the request of a lunatic Renfield, Harker travels from Wismar, Germany to Transylvania to meet with Count Dracula about purchasing property back in Wismar. Harker is met with resistance and superstitious hostility on his month long journey there, but in the meantime we see some beautiful European scenery that I believe was actually filmed in old Czechoslovakia. A Black Coach of sublime beauty finally picks Harker up in a cave and takes him the rest of the way past Dark Forests and howling wolves to Dracula's castle, where he is met by its feral, mysterious master.
Harker soon understands the villager's warnings as he witnesses first hand the bi-polar and ravenous evil of the Count, who upon seeing his Bride Lucy in a locket signs the contract for what I assume is Wismar Abbey, and is too eager to devour a fresh, new town. Sadly absent are any Vampyre Brides, but in the novel's fashion Dracula leaves Harker behind drained of blood as he loads a dozen black coffins onto the Demeter and sails towards Wismar's doom, devouring the ships crew along the way, with his army of plague rats screeching at the command of their diabolic master, ready to reek havoc and pestilence.
Dracula arrives soon enough, and the town marvels at the arrival of the Ghost ship with its dead crew and cargo of rat infested black coffins. The rats begin their nefarious work immediately, spreading their sickness throughout the picturesque town. Dracula reveals himself to a terrified Lucy who knows of his dealings with her husband, refusing his invitation of Immortality and repelling him with the dreaded cross. I must say that Lucy's speech of being beholden to Death was rather sublime.
Harker manages to make it back to Wismar, though now he is sick and suffering from a supernatural amnesia. With no help from a strangely ignorant Van Helsing, Lucy manages to deduce Dracula's identity and weaknesses from the Book of Vampyres Harker brought back with him, and after pleading with ignorant townsfolk, and desecrating Dracula's coffins with a consecrated host, she sacrifices herself to the Count's Bloodthirst. Using her innocence and beauty to keep the Vampyre in her house till the first light and the cry of the cock traps him to his fate, the rays of the sun blind and kill him in one heavenly stroke. A now wise (and rather late) Van Helsing stakes the Count so Lucy's sacrifice was not in vain.
Now coming out of his sickness as a newly born Vampyre, Harker accuses Van Helsing of murder and has him arrested and tells his maid to prepare his horse as he has 'much to do.'
What I would have done:
Dracula's plan to dominate and devour a new town was a nefarious one, and one that I applaud - but he made some rather silly mistakes that of course ended his immortal life.
Firstly NEVER feed of a human victim and leave them alive. Perhaps it was his plan to leave Harker there in Transylvania to reign as a new Undead Lord but I doubt it. If his plan was for him to suffer, I prefer to witness such delights first hand. Either take your new fledgling with you, and instruct him in your unholy ways, or snap his neck and leave his corpse for the wolves. A human with a purpose is the most dangerous foe, and leaving him there with burgeoning Undead power, knowing you have left to devour his town and ravage his wife is not the smartest plan.
Why did the Count destroy the town with plague rats? There goes his food supply! Was this Vampyre dropped on his head as a child? Surely direct the rats to take out law enforcement and those who may challenge you, but for the rest of the town it's best to pick them off slowly over the course of years. Dracula wished to make Lucy his Bride. With a dead town, whom shall she feast upon on her wedding night?
A Vampyre must infiltrate a town quietly, and if he is unsightly like this Dracula he must be invisible and be a silent assassin. If he possesses good looks and wealth, establishing oneself in high society like other Dracula stories is the best option. But turn the men first or slay them so they do not hunt you, and allow them to turn their wives as reward to control them further, then claim the women as yours as is a Master's privilege.
Do not choose Brides based on their beauty. It is our weakness to fall for such fleeting beauty and as seen here their spell of innocence can be your doom. Our immortal lives are not worth a night of hedonistic bloodlust.