Opinions on Shadow of the Vampire

I’m interested in hearing your opinions about “Shadow of the Vampire.” When I heard that the premise was that the vampire in Nosferatu was played by a real vampire, I knew I didn’t want to see the movie. A friend of mine is a “serious film buff” who loves Murnau. He’s dying to see this movie. My brother and I have taken great care not to tell him anything about it. After all, he may enjoy the movie. On the other hand, if he knew what the movie was like, he might not want to see it.

So, did you enjoy the movie? Any Murnau fans out there? Is it better to let my friend see the film, and be surprised by the premise? Or should I tell him?

I saw the movie two weeks ago, and it’s clearly one of the best films I’ve seen in a while.

It’s that good.

I was afraid that the premise would denigrate into a standard horror movie, but instead it kept the theme of creation and control (especially in art) through the very last scene.

Tell him to run, not walk, to the cinema.

One of the best films you’ve seen in a long while??!?!

I do not agree with that. It was very interesting, and Willim Dafoe was amazing. But it was not a good movie.
Why was in only 80 mins long?

Why did the vampire choose to kill the camera man, but nobody else?

Why was the vampire so enthralled with the female actress (I can’t remember her name.) How did he even know about her? Couldn’t he track her down and eat her anyway? Why did he have to agree to shoot a movie?

Why did Murnau trust a vampire? A vampire that didn’t he even know how he could “hurt himself”?

What did the drugs have to do with anything. It’s very fascinating that Murnau was a drug addict, but uh…what did that have to do with anything? For like 50 mins we never actually see any drug influence, only slight inferences, and than WHOOSH! there he is in La la Land.

Am I looking at this too literally? Is it really NOT a story about a weird drug-addicted director, who trusts a weird Vampire, who for some reason, can only attack that woman if he’s in the movie? Is it about something completely different and this is all symbolic?
I hope it’s all symbolic, otherwise, I see no point in this movie.
And if it is symolic, can someone please explain it to me?

It sucked.

This was an incredible movie with four stand out performances. Eddie Izzard, John Malkovich, Willem DaFoe, and Udo Kier, were all excellent.

Yes, there were a few continuity glitches, but we wondered if they were on purpose because there were often such glitches in silent films and it was supposed to be an homage.

The story was tight and fit well into 80 minutes(which is one minute shorter than the running time of the actual silent film).

I wonder how many had seen Murnau’s Nosferatu before seeing Shadow of the Vampire. I’ve seen it many times, and this movie was a loving tribute to it.

Mr. Del and I both loved this movie. I agree it was one of the best films I have seen in a very long time.

If lesa’s friend is a film buff and a fan of Murnau, then I think he would enjoy this movie. I was confused, though, that you mentioned that he might be surprised by the premise, since just about every ad and review I have seen for this film is very clear about the premise: that Max Schreck is an actual vampire.

The “surprise” for me was to see the sets, make-up and costumes of Nosferatu presented with such amazing attention to detail. It was a joy to see each new scene, and realize how painstakingly every tiny element of Nosferatu had been recreated.

I loved seeing the “behind the scenes” parts of the movie, those that showed the director and crew members working on the creation of a film in 1921. You could see how Murnau’s innovative ideas about film making, such as filming on location, struck his peers as so revolutionary, and even crazy. Now of course, many of these ideas have become standard elements of film.

Some of Pepperlandgirl’s questions touch on areas that I thought were the most interesting parts of the movie. Why can’t the vampire track down Greta Schroder? Several times it is mentioned that Orlok is a victim of his own age. He is ancient, and growing weaker. I think he needs Murnau to bring Greta to him. More intriguing, though, is that the vampire wants to be in the film. We were laughing so hard when Orlok is annoyed because Murnau doesn’t let him have make-up. Vampires are thought to be immortal, but here we see an old vampire, past the height of his powers, who sees the medium of film as a new way to capture immortality.

Why does Murnau trust him? Well, I don’t think he does. Murnau’s desire to have a real vampire in his movie is blinding him to the danger of getting mixed up with Count Orlok. The camera man may have been the first of the Count’s intended victims, and gives Murnau the first clue that perhaps this is a bad idea. Murnau then threatens Orlok not just by threatening to keep Greta away from him, but also with cutting him from the film. While Murnau has underestimated the danger of a real vampire, Orlok has also underestimated just how determined Murnau is to create his perfect artistic vision.

In addition to being very humorous (which we weren’t expecting, so that was also a surprise), this film was just breathtaking to watch. It’s a great film to look at, from the opening credits, with their vintage movie house look, to the juxtaposition of the modern film equipment in the old inn and castle. As for it being only 80 minutes long, I would much rather see 80 minutes of quality film than 120 minutes of fluff. I watch a lot of 2 hour movies where I wonder just why the director decided to pad his film with unnecessary footage.

My only negative (I guess) comment on this film is that it might fall into the “preaching to the choir” category. Mr. Del is an early horror film fanatic, and while I’m not that obsessed, especially with horror, I’m also very interested in the early days of film. I’m not sure that someone who wasn’t at least a little caught up in these interests would be at all captivated by this movie.

For those that might not have known, much of the funding for this movie was to come from folks investing in it over the internet at http://www.virtualproducer.com for which they would get their names listed as associate producers or producers, depending on how much they contributed.

I don’t actually know how many folks bought into it, but I know it was pushed at http://www.hsx.com which is an online virtual stockmarket game based on Hollywood projects of all stripes.

Just thought I would drop that info.

Thanks delphica for explaining some of my questions.
I really appreciate it. I kinda knew there were going to be aspects of the film I wasn’t going to understand, and that severely hampered my enjoyment of it.

delphica - I think I should explain a little further. My friend doesn’t watch much TV. He seems to think this movie will be more of a documentary about how Nosferatu was made. This is why I’m trying to decide if I should tell him about the movie’s main premise.

If I tell him, it might ruin a really interesting surprise. On the other hand, if he doesn’t know the premise, he might be very disappointed when he sees the movie.

I’m definitely leaning towards telling him. Of course, if he reads any reviews he’ll find out that way.

I enjoyed the film. Willam Dafoe will certainly get an oscar nomination. I didn’t think that much of John Malkovitch, but I never do(except for the film which bears his name).

I liked that they portrayed the vampire, not as a suave, dashing supervillian, but as a worn down and somewhat feeble thing.

I really liked it. But towards the end, I realised where I recognised the cameraman from, and giggled every time he was shown after that. He was Robin Hood, Man in Tights!

Really enjoyed the first 1/3-1/2 of the movie.
It started off being both creepy and funny at once. Seeing the vampire try to blend in with the actors was great. Eddie Izzard, also very charming, steals every scene he’s in.

Then inexplicably, the movie loses it’s sense of humor and turns into a rather boorish, not scary, horror/art movie. Tragically, Eddie Izzard vanishes from the last half of the movie and we’re left with Malkovich freaking out on drugs and Defoe slithering around, looking menacing and doing nothing to hide his true identity.
This movie was even more of a disapointment since I’d been looking forward to it for months before hand.

I’d say it was a rental at best.

It was beautifully shot however.

(While I don’t generally agree with the following statement from Penn and Teller, it seems appropriate here:
“Avoid any movie that people talk about the beautiful cinematography…”)

I thought it was a dissapointment, and rather boring. That said, the acting was very good.

I can see how this movie would appeal to fans of early cinimatography.

However, if all your friend wants to see is a documentary, then he probably won’t like this ficionalized account.

I also really enjoyed this movie, and agree that Willem DaFoe should get an Oscar nomination for this role. I was disappointed that he didn’t have many lines, but the ones he did have stole the scenes. I saw Nosferatu for the first time several years ago on Halloween night. It was shown in a gothic-type church with tall, stone arches, and a large pipe organ playing while it was shown. (The next year they showed The Hunchback of Notre Dame.) Like delphica, I really enjoyed the behind the scenes look at making a film in the early years of cinematography. My only complaint was that there were a few younger teens in the audience who had no clue what the movie was about, and were occasionally making stupid comments. The movie was simply listed “Vampire” at the ticket booth, so I think they went expecting a horror film. Not a wonderful black humor film depicting the making of a silent, classic movie.

Mr. Jeannie and I absolutely loved this movie! Willem Dafoe was amazing and captivating. As a point of reference, neither of us are really into silent films, although we had both seen “Nosferatu” at one point (seperately). He didn’t like “Nosferatu,” I loved it. I was enthralled by Willem Dafoe’s performance. He was funny as hell (“We’re going to be neighbors!”), but then his scene where he is discussing “Dracula” is extremely sad and touching.

Probably not a movie for everyone, but I do recommend it.

(Oh, and tell your friend the premise. If he thinks it’s a documentary, he’ll probably be disappointed).

I thought the movie was great. (Read my Oscar Nomination Predictions and Best films of 2000). It was beautifully acted, as most agree. I thought the story was VERY engaging. I guess I like people movies with a thinky plot (my theory is that a lot of people who get bored by this type of film are numbed by the Gladiators and have made themselves perfect targets for future Hollywood effect-driven crap).

Why not? There is no perfect length for films. On of my recent favorites was Run Lola Run at 81 minutes. I also love Schindler’s List and Braveheart that clocked in at over three hours each. Hell, Hamlet (1996) was brilliant and was over 4 hours! Movies should be as long as they need to be. If they’re short, that’s fine. If they’re long, that’s great too, as long as it serves the story.