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Shadow of the Vampire

Starring: Willem DaFoe, John Malkovich, Eddie Izzard, Udo Kier, Catherine McCormack and Ronan Vilbert

Directed By: E. Elias Merhige
Buy This!

I'm confused...Max Schreck was or wasn't a vampire?
Max portrayed the ubercreepy Count Orlok in the infamous Nosferatu. Shadow's version stars ubercreepy Willem Dafoe as the Freddy Krueger- nailed Mosquitoman, Count Orlok.

From the get-go Shadow of the Vampire plays a few games with our delicate brain matter. But all in all delivers a refreshing cinematic cocktail of non-telegraphed scenarios with fabulously frilly wardrobes, mixed gently, with an old fashioned camp reminiscent of Hammer Films.

SOTV's story goes...It's 1921 and eccentric director F.W. Murnau ( John Malkovich, being) is shooting what will become one of the most seen vampire movies of any generation- Nosferatu. (a silent film, but non-the-less, scary. Verbal audio would only have dulled Murnau's effect) We join Murnau's now-legendary cast and crew to spy on the making of his Nosferatu...the true story.

(FYI—Seems Bram Stoker's wife wouldn't give up the rights to Dracula, so they improvised with the Count Orlok.)

Murnau drags his scrumptiously- plump-blood filled crew to the backwoods of Czecolapepsislavakia for some location shooting. Lead actor, Mr. Max Schreck (Willem DaFoeadeerafemaledeer) has foraged ahead of them and been Stanislavski-ing into his role as the anorexic Count Orlok. At least that's what the human appetizers, er, fellow cast members, have been told by their strange director...

When the crew finally arrive, mysterious things begin to happen... Gustav von Wangenheim (Eddie Izzard all mansteaked up) is just freaked by the count. Of course the count is a tad a frightening. Gustav's not really acting as the pure terror paints across his pompous little face.

What's this? Maxie's been knoshing on a camera crew member? Tsk. Tsk. The poor man, Wolfie, will now have to be replaced. Hope the famished Count can curb his appetite until the end of the shoot. Geeze. Can't he dine on the nervous locals or something and lay off the fancy imported stuff?

You'll just have to see for yourselves.

Willem DaFoe and John Malkovich are the real/reel reasons to see this tale. Two of our finest actors revel in a near frolic on film. They are both at once their solemn, serious, characters and yet ooze a charming hilarity.

Ironically, my favorite stand-up comedian, Eddie Izzard, is pretty much the straight guy here (he's a heterosexual- transvestite- comedian). He's not given a single witty comment to spew from his big brilliant silver-quick mind. Mr. Fabulous does a fantastic job, as always. His Gustav was purrfect.

If you're an old horror movie buff—this is simply a positively must see, tippity-top of your movie going agenda. If you're into seeing different smaller movies with great acting, again, run to see this.

If you're into big Hollywood flashing- gizmos and goobly- bits edited with obligatory sex-scenes starring young-buff-mini-waisted-quazi-virgins-ala- Brittany Spears- wanna bees...this may bore you!

Snack Recommendation: A pitcher of Bloody Mary's— heavy on the Belvedere.


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