Waylaid by Kinski’s bellicose attitude, Caiano left the production after being paid his full salary. Caiano’s departure wasn’t a surprise, since the film had already been through several personnel changes. Producer Augusto Caminito had already hired and fired directors Maurizio Lucidi and Pasquale Squitieri before hiring Caiano. When Kinski forced Caiano off the set, Caminito decided to direct the film himself. Since Caminito had little directing experience, he enlisted the help of Luigi Cozzi, a veteran of many Italian horror films (as well as the Lou Ferrigno “Hercules” of 1983). Not surprisingly, even Kinski is alleged to have directed a few scenes.
Somehow, this debacle of a production yielded a highly watchable movie (originally titled “Vampire In Venice”). I imagine some of the credit must go to cinematographer Tonino Nardi, who lovingly feeds us one eye-popping scene after another. It’s as if Nardi knew, while chaos swirled all around him, that all one needed to make this vampire movie was Kinski, a few beautiful women, and the gorgeous scenery of Venice. One can almost turn the sound off, ignore the rickety plot, and simply enjoy the movie for its visual delights.
The women in the movie seem irresistibly drawn to Nosferatu. It must be the hair, though the fact that his oral interest includes much more than a woman’s neck has a predictable effect on the ladies, too. By the movie’s end Nosferatu has become so humanized by the love of a good woman that he’s actually having sex the old fashioned way. The question remains: can Nosferatu get the unholy pipes cleaned before the posse arrives?
I liked “Prince of The Night”. Granted, the story is routine, but Nardi ’s photography borders on fine art. He died a few years after this movie was shot, at age 54. Such a loss!
Then there is Kinski. In an era where vampires seem to have stepped out of third rate romance novels (Fabio with fangs!), one almost forgets that vampires used to be scary. The mighty Kinski shows us here that creatures of the night can still be dangerous, even as they thirst for love. Kinski was well into his 60s at the time of this movie, not far off from his own death by heart attack, but he’s as riveting as ever. It’s as if he realized the movie was a lost cause so he hoisted the entire affair onto his shoulders, telling the crew to forget everything else and follow him, one last time, into the night…