of the Vampire
2000, Color, 92 min
E. Elias Merhige
Levine, Nicolas Cage
man Fritz Wagner
in 1922 Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau shoots his expressionistic masterpiece
"Nosferatu". The lead,
Max Schreck, being a genuine vampire, really makes it a "symphony
of horror", which is the German subtitle. But this isn't known
to anybody exept Director Murnau. To his crew he introduces Schreck
as some kind of early Method-Acting artist, who only appears on
the scene at night and in his costume, in order to completely grow
into his role. In the beginning this appears quite funny and at
the same time disgusting to everybody around. The Director, self-righteous
and drug addicted has concluded a diabolic pact pact with the Nosferatu:
After the shooting the main actress, Greta Schröder, is to
be served for dinner. Too bad, that Schreck doen't feel like acting
according to the instructions of the Maestro and decimates the crew
one after the other, until the last survivours, locked in a room
are exposed to the arbitrariness of the blood sucker. Murnau only
sees a last chance to handle the situation: filming as much as he
can: The end of the Vampire is as a matter of fact quite the same
as in "Nosferatu". The
women makes the vampire forget time, the first sunrays burn the
monster. Dead bodies tower up and Murnau asks for the last scene.
this is an original Idea: Max Schreck, lead in the mother of all
vampire movies a real vampire? Well - nobody ever played this role
more frightening than him, nobody ever looked more bizarr than him.
Moreover, estonighingly few is known about Max Schreck. Nosferatu
was his only lead, that's sure. Even after searching the www for
quite some time we were not able to get to know much about him.
He made movies with Carl Valentin and Berthold Brecht, but always
played merely small parts. But it calmed us down to know that he
is burried on a graveyard in Berlin Wilmersdorf, otherwise you could
really end up believing ...
no! Remember? He was burnt by the sun in the end. Differnt to Patrick
Lussiers stupid "Dracula 2000",
"Shadow of the Vampire" is a real highlight of the genre
and proofs that even in the new millenium theres material for new
movies, provided that you do not take the first screen play available
and do not leave over the director's chair to a complete bungler.
Instead, Shadow of the Vampire is a lovable tribute to a legendary
movie with a grandiose actor. Apropos grandiose actor: William Dafoes
performance in the role of the vampire Max Schreck, aright nominated
for an Oskar, can be absolutely compared with the real Schreck.
The last time, Dafoe was this brilliant was when playing mean Bobby
Peru in David Lynch's Wild at heart. His somehow droll-characteristic
silent movie scenes his bizarr comments make the audience in the
movie theatre laugh hysterically. It's really been a while that
we had the creeps as pleasently as in "Shadow of the Vampire".