Shadow of the Vampire is a film about the making of a German all time classic silent horror-movie from 1922 called Nosferatu-Eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu-a Symphony of Horror). The production of Nosferatu had to deal with a lot of strange things (some crew members disappeared, some died). This movie focuses on the difficult relationship between Murnau, the director, and Schreck, the lead actor. Written by
When Murnau first introduces Shreck to the other actors he says "his method is unusual" and informs them that Shreck would remain in character even off camera. While method acting was not well-known outside of Soviet Union at the time, Murnau could have been using a more general meaning of the word. See more »
The premise of "Shadow of a Vampire" is simple, what if Max Schreck was really a vampire posing as an actor playing a vampire in the Murnau's masterpiece, "Nosferatu?" Well, the result is both slightly scary and pretty funny. Director E. Elias Merhige and writer Steven Katz create a fairly creepy mood, and inhabit the picture with some real interesting characters.
John Malkovich plays famous silent film director F.W. Murnau. This is perhaps the funniest performance of the bunch, especially when he is giving audible instructions to the "actors" while the camera is rolling. Then, there is Willem Dafoe who plays Max Schreck/ the vampire. It is incredibly fun to watch an almost unrecognizable Dafoe play this oddball, Max Schreck. Unfortunately for Murnau, Schreck starts doing what vampires tend to do... bite people. The original photographer dies along with a few others at the mouth of Schreck. After seeing this movie, it is quite easy to see why Dafoe was nominated for best supporting actor at the Oscars. His performance is worth the price of admission.
This is a film which is hard to classify, sense it is a fictional account of an actual film with real people. Yet this horror-comedy does have its moments of wonderful macabre humor along with great performances to help make it an enjoyable movie. A 7 out of 10. I highly recommend watching this as part of a double feature. First, watch Murnau's original 1922 masterpiece, "Nosferatu", then watch "Shadow of a Vampire." You will appreciate "Shadow of a Vampire" a lot more (or maybe vice versa).
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