Vampire in Venice is a 1988 Italian horror feature film starring Klaus Kinski (Count Dracula; Schizoid; Crawlspace), Christopher Plummer (The Pyx; Wolf), Donald Pleasence (Death Line; Halloween; Phenomena), Barbara De Rossi and Yorgo Voyagis.
Vampire in Venice was originally intended as a direct sequel to Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), but Klaus Kinski refused to shave his head or undergo the arduous make-up. In the US, it was also released as Prince of the Night.
Original director Mario Caiano (Blood, 1972) left after being insulted by Kinski on-set, and Augusto Caminito took over before also leaving (never to direct again, which explains a lot). Luigi Cozzi and Kinski himself handled some of the remaining footage.
Due to Kinski’s constantly disruptive behaviour, production on the film was very slow and they soon ran out of money, leaving the film disjointed and at times nonsensical. Kinski only made one more film, the ambitious, if disappointing, ‘Paganini‘.
The plot sees Van Helsing-esque Professor Paris Catalano (Plummer) going to Venice to investigate the last known appearance of Nosferatu during the Carnival of 1786. Catalano seems to think that the vampire is searching for a means to put an end to his torment and actually be dead. He stays with a family who, legend says, has the vampire trapped in a tomb in the basement. After a séance “the vampire” appears and then it becomes a question of how do you put the evil back into the box.
The film is lazy and confused when it comes to vampire lore – Nosferatu can allegedly only be killed by the consenting love of a virgin and spends much of the film wandering around Venice…in the daylight. Continuity is also somewhat wayward with irrelevant flashbacks and some rather abrupt time-travel.
Donald Pleasence plays a priest in the way he’s played many priests (talks slowly, looks quizzical), Christopher Plummer looks like he’s stepped straight off a mountain whilst Klaus Kinski strides imperiously around the admittedly stunning-looking Venice, wrapped in fog, looking for victims – occasionally whilst in character.
Beautiful to look at but lacking in anything of substance, this is largely for vampire enthusiasts and Kinski fans, the latter likely to be more approving. The score is worthy of mention, an atmospheric synth affair from Luigi Ceccarelli, adapting a Vangelis album.
Daz Lawrence, MOVIES & MANIA