Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

Aka: Burned to Light

69%

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Drama - Horror | 92 minutes
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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.

E. Elias Mehrige's SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE explores the fictional premise that the star of director F.W. Murnau's 1922 German expressionist horror film, NOSFERATU, was an actual vampire. When the dictatorial Murnau (John Malkovich) sets about filming his monster masterpiece, he makes a Faustian deal and enlists the grotesque, reclusive Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe) to play the rodentlike Count Orlok. Schreck proceeds to both horrify and fascinate the unwitting cast and crew---including producer Albin Grau (Udo Kier), actor Gustav von Wangenheim (Eddie Izzard), and actress Greta Schroeder (Catherine McCormack)--who, at...
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first, believe Schreck is merely an eccentric actor. As the production continues, however, mysterious accidents and deaths begin to reveal why Schreck never gets any makeup.

From its lavish opening sequence to Murnau's filming of the final scene, Mehrige's movie serves as a tribute not only to the original NOSFERATU but to the art of cinema itself. Because Murnau's project is a silent film, the overbearing director can coax and shout at his actors during the takes, making for some cleverly comical scenes. Although Malkovich, Izzard, and Kier are excellent in their roles, SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE could simply not exist without Dafoe's hideous and hilarious performance, which ranks among the finest of the versatile actor's career.
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The torturous production of the classic 1922 vampire film Nosferatu is recreated in this stylized account of director F.W. Murnau and his obsession with creating realistic horror by any means necessary -- even if those means include actual bloodletting. The film begins as Murnau (John Malkovich) is ready to take his unauthorized interpretation of the Bram Stoker tale on location in Czechoslovakia. There, the director has arranged for his cast and crew to live in the same castle in which they will shoot their parts, as they all wait for their co-star, Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe) -- Murnau's choice to play Count Orl...
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ok -- to arrive. Their leader has warned them that Schreck is a student of the Stanislovsky method of performance and will not respond to them out-of-character. Nothing, however, can prepare them for the real thing: when the actor arrives, he's already in full Gothic regalia, asserting that he is indeed a vampire. Schreck makes good on his claims by terrorizing the cast and crew, attacking Murnau's original cinematographer (Wolfgang Muller) and plucking bats out of the air for midnight snacks. Director E. Elias Merhige previously made his name with his experimental theater productions and with his horrific film school thesis, Begotten.
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F W Murnau is making Nosferatu on location in Eastern Europe. The director is determined to make this the most authentic movie ever. To this end Murnau has employed a real vampire, Max Schreck. He explains Schreck's weird behavior by saying that he is a fastidious method actor. As payment Schreck has been promised drug addicted beauty Greta - Nosferatu's leading-lady. She is to be his at the end of filming. But it seems that Schreck cannot wait that long to taste the blood of the crew.

Tijdens het maken van de klassieke vampierfilm Nosferatu uit 1922 wil regisseur Murnau de film zo authentiek mogelijk maken. Om dit te realiseren huurt hij een echte vampier in om de rol van Graaf Orlak te spelen. Murnau belooft hem de nek van de aan drugs verslaafde co-star Greta Schroeder.

F W Murnau is making Nosferatu on location in Eastern Europe. The director is determined to make this the most authentic movie ever. To this end Murnau has employed a real vampire, Max Schreck. He explains Schreck's weird behavior by saying that he is a fastidious method actor. As payment Schreck has been promised drug addicted beauty Greta - Nosferatu's leading-lady. She is to be his at the end of filming. But it seems that Schreck cannot wait that long to taste the blood of the crew.

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