"Every gray hair on my head I call Kinski." ~Werner Herzog on working with actor and longtime "friend" Klaus Kinski.
Jonathan Harker is sent away to Count Dracula's castle to sell him a house in Virna, where he lives. But Count Dracula is a vampire, an undead ghoule living of men's blood. Inspired by a photograph of Lucy Harker, Jonathan's wife, Dracula moves to Virna, bringing with him death and plague... An unusually contemplative version of Dracula, in which the vampire bears the cross of not being able to get old and die.
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The scene where Nosferatu arrives in the city required thousands of grey rats. Real grey rats were unavailable and therefore white ones were painted grey and used instead.
Werner Herzog the director has a cameo as the person who sticks his foot into the coffin and gets his toe bitten by a rat.
As this movie was made long after the copyright to Bram Stoker's Dracula had expired, Herzog decided to restore the original names of the characters, while still following the movie blueprint laid out by F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922).
The coach that picks up Harker at the Borgo pass was a real hearse that was actually still in use in Bulgaria at the time of the shoot.
Klaus Kinski had to spend approximately four hours per day in make-up. Fresh latex ear pieces had to be poured for each day of shooting because they were destroyed at removal. Kinski, notorious for his violent daily temper-tantrums, had a very good relationship to Japanese make-up artist Reiko Kruk and was exceedingly patient and well-behaved during make-up.
Production designer Henning von Gierke, also an accomplished chef who enjoyed cooking for the crew, prepared the food for the breakfast shot himself.
The exceedingly difficult slow-motion shots of a bat in flight were not shot by Werner Herzog's crew but borrowed from a scientific documentary.
Warden: The patient that came in yesterday is having a fit.
Van Helsing: Which one?
Warden: The one that bit the cow.
Kinski is an actor of legend, but unfortunately not for his onscreen performances. Here are some famous Kinski quotes and stories, real or not the man took those answers to the grave in 1991.
Kinski was an extremely hard worker and strove for perfection, but was frequently at odds with collaborators and directors, and rarely a team player. On one infamous occasion Kinski hurled a lit candelabra from the stage at an audience deemed insufficiently appreciative, almost burning the theatre down.
While shooting Nosferatu Kinski developed a huge boil in the back of his throat. The boil had grown to the point where breathing had become extremely difficult. Germany's health system gave the actor $5,000 to pay a doctor to treat the problem. The article claimed that Kinski merely took a knife, and took care of the problem himself. The actor was suddenly $5,000 richer.
Whilst filming Aguirre: The Wrath of God, irritated by the noise from a hut where cast and crew were playing cards, Kinski fired three shots at it, blowing the top joint off one extra's finger.
Kinski turned down the role of a German villain in Raiders of the Lost Ark, although he wanted to do a movie with Steven Spielberg, he thought "the script is as moronically shitty as so many other flicks of its ilk."
In 1977 he appeared on TV show Je später der Abend he didn't answer a single question during the interview and called the host Reinhard Münchenhagen "Herr Münchhausen".
His last stage appearances were in November 1971, part of his "Jesus Tour", a one-man show in which Kinski reinterpreted the Gospels with Jesus as a ranting psychopath.
The Quotable Klaus Kinski:
"One should judge a man mainly from his depravities. Virtues can be faked. Depravities are real."
"I'd have been better than Adolf Hitler. I could've delivered his speeches a lot better. That's for certain."
"My daughter (Natassja Kinski also an actor) has never forgiven me. for what, I don’t know, because for years, she won’t speak to me. She blackens my name in the press and makes me think abortion is an excellent idea."
"I actually get venereal disease more often than most people catch colds."
"As soon as I fuck a girl or she's sucked me off, I want to leave her immediately. If one sucks me over for so long that I let her sleep with me and she wants to cuddle up to me, I kick her away."
"I need love! Love! Non-stop! And I want to give love because I have so much of it. No one understands the sole purpose of my whoring is to spend myself totally."
Werner Herzog on Klaus Kinski:
"People like Brando are just kindergarten compared to Kinski".
Kinski on "friend" Werner Herzog:
"Now I absolutely despise the murderer Herzog. I tell him to his face that I want to see him perish like the llama he executed. He should be thrown to the crocodiles alive! An anaconda should throttle him slowly! The sting of a deadly spider should paralyze him! His brain should burst from the bite of the most poisonous of all snakes! Panthers shouldn't slit his throat open with their claws, that would be too good for him! No. Big red ants should piss in his eyes, eat his balls, penetrate his asshole, and eat his guts! He should get the plague! Syphilis! Malaria! Yellow fever! Leprosy! In vain. The more I wish the most horrible of deaths on him and treat him like the scum of the earth that he is, the less I can get rid of him!"
Herzog recently made a documentary about his releationship to Kinski called My Best Friend click here to watch the preview: