Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Welcome to The Kinski Files

It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to The Kinski Files. I have been fascinated with actor Klaus Kinski since the early 1980s when my family had cable television installed. I lived in South Jersey at the time, and we convinced my father to let us get Prism, a sports and movie channel so he could see all of the Philadelphia Phillies home games.

I was more interested in the channel's cinematic offerings and -- in those pre-TV ratings and channel blocking days -- was more than happy to immerse myself in the station's more prurient delights. I can still recall coming home from grade school one day and having the house to myself. I tuned in something called DEADLY GAMES (a mind-bending erotic thriller starring Sondra Locke, Colleen Camp and Seymour Cassel) and I swear I was never quite right again.

My Kinski fascination started in earnest during Halloween one year. With a lineup themed for the season, Prism showed the English language version of Werner Herzog's NOSFERATU starring Klaus as the titular vampire. If you've never seen this version it's, well, a howler.

When I saw it listed again a few weeks later I couldn't help but tune in. Who doesn't love a good bad film?

I was shocked to discover that not only was the flick in German, but it was like watching a completely different movie. The hammy, laugh-out-loud English version had somehow morphed into this atmospheric and riveting German version.

As for Kinski, well, what can I say? His performance as the rat-like Nosferatu is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Or so I thought.

Next thing I knew I couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a Kinski flick. There was his turn as a psychotherapist in Billy Wilder's BUDDY, BUDDY. A memorable role as a hunchback in 1965's FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE. Spaghetti westerns. War films. Spy flicks. It seemed like he was everywhere and frankly, no matter how bad the flick, I couldn't take my eyes off the guy.

A few years later while publishing the drive-in movie zine EXPLOITATION RETROSPECT my buddies and I decided to dedicate an entire issue to Kinski's work. We wrote about his controversial autobiography (later pulled from the shelves and turned into a collector's item), watched a bunch of his films and reveled in his Klaus-ness.

Little did I know that the issue would spark a fascination that's going on two decades and has driven me to devote days to his films, spend hours scouring the internet for interviews and pieces of information or trawl through pages and pages of eBay auctions looking for one, just one, movie I haven't located yet.

I hope you'll enjoy this journey through the world of Klaus. If you haven't already done so, be sure to check out the Kinski Guide over at the ER web site which includes reviews, interviews, and other nuggets about the man they call The German Olivier.

This blog will be the first place to find out what's new in the world of Kinski, from upcoming video releases to new gems I've unearthed in my quest, as well as details on Kinski-related projects that remain hush-hush... at least for the moment.


Holger Haase said...

Good luck with your new venture!

Dan said...

Appreciate the encouragement... as you're the biggest K2 fan I know I hope you'll stick around for the ride.