DVD: Vampire in Venice / Prince of the Night (1988)

January 29, 2015 | By


VampireInVeniceFilm: Weak

Transfer:  Weak

Extras: Standard

Label: One 7 Movies

Region: 0 (NTSC)

Released:  September 9, 2014

Genre:  Horror

Synopsis: Nosferatu is reawakened and journeys to Venice in search of more naked bosoms to bite.

Special Features:  Photo Gallery




Begun as an attempt by producer Augusto Caminito to craft a sequel to Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu (1979), Klaus Kinski’s second-last feature film is inexplicably given a faux title by One 7 Movies – a wholly unnecessary move, given the infamy of this cinematic mess.

According to a detailed Narnarland interview (in French) with Luigi Cozzi (The Killer Must Kill Again, Starcrash, Contamination), original director Maurizio Lucidi was replaced by Pasquale Squittieri who wrote a new script before actual filming began with new director Marco Caiano (Nazi Love Camp 27). After two days of shooting, he was replaced by Caminito, with Cozzi handling second unit. Kinski claimed to have directed a few bits himself; production was halted mid-way when funds ran dry; and the film was released after two years of editorial tinkering as a sequel in name only.

In spite of top-billing, Kinski spends most of the film wandering through foggy streets in what resembles a hastily scheduled single night of handheld filming, and his time onscreen is considerably less than second-billed Christopher Plummer, who manages to maintain dignity as a rather middling vampire hunter named Prof. Catalano.

Catalano is summoned to Venice when Princess Canins (very naked Barbara De Rossi) suspects the bolted coffin in the basement may contain evil Nosferatu. Her priest, Father Alvise (bored Donald Pleasence, eating a great deal of hors d’oeuvres to kill seated and standing screen time), becomes quite unhappy when a medium is brought in and ‘alerts’ Nosferatu (or so the re-editing seems to infer) after living among gypsies skilled in midnight Flamenco celebrations.

When Nosferatu finally reaches Venice, he kills the Princess’ mother, scalds Catalano’s hands, and snatches Canins’ suicidal younger sister (super-naked Maria Cumani Quasimodo) quite literally in a Superman maneuver, whisking her off to a disintegrating villa with his new harem of hotties. As Catalano explains, Only Love Can Kill Nosferatu, but robbed of actual love, Nosferatu must continue to suffer the monotony of immortality.

The start-stop, restarted-halted production and rewriting could never have made a fluid film, but equally bizarre is the story’s setting, flip-flopping between candle-lit turn-of-the-century, electrified mid-century, and late-eighties while Plummer wears an 18th century cape.

Kinski looks like an aging punk / New Age rocker with hair extensions and dark eyeliner, and the finale in which Nosferatu carries the bare bodkin of his dead love through Venice may recall a similar scene of extreme grieving in Tinto Brass’ Caligula, but it looks absolutely ridiculous, especially when the fog machines failed to cover up distant Venetian onlookers in the near distance.

Wooden Yorgo Voyagis has a small role a doctor, and his clothes, like the Princess’ sunglasses seen in the film’s hunting prologue, are contemporary eighties; and the flip-flop between past and present is further mucked up when modern cars are seen parked at the gypsy encampment where Kinski’s been hanging out.

Much of the film is tracked with music from Vangelis’ Mask album with just fleetingly effective results, and as per the film’s sloppy sound & picture editing, the music runs out just before the End Credits are done. The cinematography exploits gorgeous locations and set décor (Nosferatu’s refuge in a disintegrating villa is amazing), but poor editing, use of obvious outtakes and trims, and handheld camerawork add to the film’s spastic tone. The DVD transfer is watchable, but the English dub track is harmed by massive audio compression reminiscent of an old Real Audio streaming show.

Strangely, after surviving the ordeal of this messy production, Caminito produced Kinski’s last film as actor, the indulgent, frenetic Paganini (1989), which Kinski also directed, and exists in two versions.

Actress Quasimodo had small parts in All the Colors of the Dark (1972), Women’s Prison (1974), and, er, Caligula (1979), whereas De Rossi appeared in several Italian TV series, including La stagione dei delitti (2007) and Un cyclone in famiglia (2008).



© 2014; revised 2015 Mark R. Hasan



External References:
Editor’s BlogIMDB  —  Composer Filmography
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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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