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
Murnau's line, "If it isn't in the frame, it doesn't exist", is a paraphrase of a piece of advice the real Murnau gave to the young Alfred Hitchcock when the latter visited the Ufa Studios in Berlin before becoming famous. Hitchcock never forgot this advice and was still quoting it when making his final movie in the mid-1970s. The use of the quotation in the context of "Shadow Of The Vampire" is a distortion of what the real Murnau meant. See more »
When Max Schreck catches a bat in mid air and starts to drink from it (approximately 52:30 into the movie), as he is holding the bat, one of his fingernails comes loose from his finger. See more »
The Steamer, a revolutionary machine designed and built to cure the foam prosthetics rapidly due to the very limited production constraints. A world first in foam latex curing within the film industry. 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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