In Wismar Germany, at a location that’s reminiscent of the romantic river ways of Venice, is where Jonathan (Bruno Ganz) and Lucie (Isabelle Adjani) reside. Their marriage is strong, passionate and foresees a bright future. Jonathan, who is a real estate agent, has a profitable opportunity on hand. A Count would like to purchase property in Wismar and is requesting to complete the transaction in his home at Transylvania. The journey would be long but the dependable Jonathan accepts the invitation .
Along his travels, the country side is charming. Nature bursts forth in its greenery. Water falls from a mountain profusely. The spectacle of the sky is accompanied by divine background music. Jonathan is warned by a band of Gypsies about the Count’s fearsome reputation. Nevertheless Jonathan continues his trip and as he gets closer to his destination, mystery begins to emerge.
At the Counts castle, the character of Dracula is a well-conceived horror. His figure stands pallid and gaunt. And when he walks, it’s done with a stooped posture of an oppressed spirit. This lack of vitality only brings chills when his movements become surprisingly aggressive under his vampire thirst. His castle exterior is unclear, but the interiors consists of many narrow walkways, small chambers, and all are shorn of beauty.
The film directed by Werner Herzog, and filmed by Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein accomplishes a realistic feel of unease, apprehension, and eeriness. At times, the town of Wismar seems uninhabited due to the lack of population on the streets. Then when Dracula arrives, it appears that hundreds of live rats are released on the streets. A disturbing character would be Jonathan’s work peer (Roland Topor) who may have been acquainted with the Count and has a giggling laughter that is bothersome.
The essence of timelessness is touched upon by the Count. With a vast unending lifespan, he suffers from emptiness. He survives in the darkness of his remote castle while yearning for impossible companionship. His plan for Lucy is an example of his attempts to satisfy that desire. There is sincerity in the performance of Klaus Kinski as Dracula and it evokes a sadness that changes into desperation.