Director E. Elias Merhige's and writer Steven Katz's film is a provocative, yet highly fictionalized, account of the creation of the landmark horror classic "Nosferatu."
John Malkovich plays German director F.W. Murnau as a tempermental, single-minded genuis and Willem Dafoe is his mysterious star Max Schreck. The script's conceit is that Schreck was a real vampire, not just an actor lost in his role (as was the case in real life). There are faithful recreations of several of the sequences and settings of "Nosferatu," with many given an extra supernatural twist by the fact of Schreck's vampirism.
All this makes "Shadow of the Vampire" a hard film to categorize -- too fanciful for a biopic and too grounded in reality for a supernatural thriller -- but an enjoyment nonetheless.
There are good performances all around from a cast that includes Udo Kier, Catherine McCormack, Cary Elwes and Eddie Izzard. And extra kudos go to the gang of Pauline Fowler, Jamie Iovine, Amber Sibley, David Stoneman and Julian Murray for their Oscar-nominated makeup job on Dafoe.
"If it's not in frame, it doesn't exist!"
The real life Max Schreck was a veteran German stage actor and although "Nosferatu" was his film debut, he went on to make more than 20 other movies before his all-too-human death by heart attack in 1936, at the age of 57.
"Nosferatu" (1921) and "Gods and Monsters" (1997).
Dave's Other Movie Log.
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Filming the ship sequence: