Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Shadow Of The Vampire

What I like about this film is that it isn't a vampire movie, it's a film about a film.
And it's a film for film fans.

Here is the movie poster.

And here is the movie trailer

The film centres around the production of the 1922 silent horror film Nosferatu-Eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu-a Symphony of Horror).

Playing the director F. Murnau is John Malkovich.
I've never really been a fan of Malkovich, until I watched this film. Only then did I finally understand the point he is trying to make as an actor himself.
Malkovich seems to be one of those actors who attempts a role or genre at least once.
In this film he attempts to bring Murnau back to life, and I think he does so very well.
He is also giving homage to the silent film era.

What certainly helps the film along is the interaction between Murnau and character actor Max Shrek.
Played so very very well by Willem Dafoe.
Clearly this is a career highlight for Dafoe who is almost unrecognisable as Max Shrek.

The story of the production goes that Marnau discovered Max Shrek, who agreed to star as lead actor/villain Count Orlok. The rumour stands he only agreed to appear if he could actually kill someone on screen, during filming.
That's what makes watching this film all that more intriguing.
If you want to read more about the inner workings of the production please venture over to

Here we have Greta (Catherine McCormack) and Fritz (the shamefully underused actor Cary Elwes).

For those of you interested, yes there is a nude scene by McCormack, but if you're watching the film just for that reason you're doing yourself a disservice.

Another superb actor appearing here (as Gustav von Wanganhein) is Eddie Izzard.
Izzard is interesting as an actor in the same way Malkovich interests me. Izzard seems to want to make his mark on each genre offered to him.
He does this in this film, very well too I might add.

Of course it wouldn't be a vampire movie without Udo Kier, playing the role of Albin Grau.
Kier's role is somewhat small, but he does a lot with it.

And of course there is Max Shrek (Willem Dafoe). The main reason everyone wants to see this film.
As soon as he steps foot into his first scene you are spellbound by Dafoe's performance. In fact a few scenes in and I'd forgotten it was Willem Dafoe at all.
Dafoe literally becomes Max Shrek/Count Orlok so convincenly. It's a pleasure to watch.

Just to give you an example of how well the make-up department worked on Dafoe, here is how Max Shrek looked as Count Orlok in the original film.

So to cap it off, this is the best vampire movie I've ever watched.
Each actor is brilliant in their role.
It gets, easily, 10 out of 10 stars.

And two thumbs up.

Ain't that right Dafoe?


1 comment:

  1. Definitely agree with your review. Willem Dafoe was excellent.