of the Vampire"
|By Mira Harber
Here's the question - is Max Schreck (Oscar nominated Willem Dafoe) an
incredibly inspired, totally immersed in the character actor, OR is he
a real vampire, acting the part of a vampire on film in order to capture
his incredible essence on film for all eternity?
Based on true characters, Shadow of the Vampire is at turns hilarious,
interesting in the best sense of the word, and totally creepy.
The great German film director F.W. Murnau (John Malkovich) made Nosferatu,
his Dracula adaptation, in 1932. Questions have always surrounded the film
- questions about the director, questions about the identity of the mysterious
actor playing Nosferatu, questions which remained unanswered.
of the Vampire has a fantastic premise. What if the main character
were really what he seems, and not acting at all? What if, in return for
immortality on screen, and a few of his fellow actors as dinner, he virtually
played himself on-screen?
Willem Dafoe as the vampire,
is absolutely unrecognizable in this Oscar nominated role. (the film received
an additional Oscar nomination is for best make-up). He gives deliciously
creepy, disgusting and inadvertently hilarious a new meaning. The unfortunate
part is, once he's established this character, there's really nowhere for
him to go with it - no character development here - just great make-up,
long fingernails, hissing, and raised eyebrows.
John Malkovich as the film's director, gives everything to his art, and
if that includes a few actors along the way, so be it. He claims everyone
on the crew is necessary, but when the head cameraman becomes 'indisposed'
due to a few nibbles from the Vampire, Malkovich says "Why him? Couldn't
it have been the script girl?"
I wouldn't say Shadow of the Vampire is funny, ha-ha, rather it
is thought provoking and visually entertaining. If you want to see
a film more a little different, check this one out.