Werner Herzog's venture to Transylvania seems as much inspired by German romantic art (Caspar David Friedrich, especially) as by Bram Stoker or Bela Lugosi.
His trick is to take sublime settings and introduce toxic elements into them. Klaus Kinski's Count Dracula is a verminous figure whose craving for blood gives the film its most unsettling scene.
When Harker (Bruno Ganz) cuts his finger at the dinner table, the Count can't stop himself from trying to suck the wound. He brings the plague in his wake.
The rat-handler deserves special credit for the astonishing scenes in which thousands of rodents run loose in Wismar.