SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE
2000, Lionsgate, 90 min, UK/USA/Luxembourg, Dir: Elias Merhige

This fictional meditation about F.W. Murnau (John Malkovich) and the making of NOSFERATU is based on the conceit that the director was so determined to make the most authentic movie ever that he employed a real vampire, Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe), to play the title character. Attributing Schreck's weird behavior and ghastly appearances to "Method" acting, Murnau indulges his leading man's every exigency, shooting only at night and at the remote locations the "actor" calls home. But Schreck hungers for human blood, and as cast and crew fall ill at a terrifying rate, Murnau races to finish his film before Schreck finishes him. An exceedingly witty exploration of creation, in which demanding artist and demanding star - the genius and the monster - reveal their uncontrollable, potentially destructive but unusually seductive compulsions.


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