Approx. 180,000 words
John Malkovich, left, is director F.W. Murnau filming 1922's Nosferatu, in 2000's Shadow of the Vampire.
Behind the scenes with Dracula
Shadow of the Vampire (2000): Director E. Elias Merhige; writer Steven Katz; featuring John Malkovich, Willem Defoe, Udo Kier, Cary Elwes
The dawn of the new millennium saw unique takes on the old-world vampire.
Dracula fans, as well as film buffs, might appreciate Shadow of the Vampire (2000), which is supposedly about the making of that original silent movie, Nosferatu (1922). As you may recall, Nosferatu was the first major treatment of Dracula on film, although the vampire's name had to be changed then for copyright reasons.
Shadow of the Vampire imagines the lead actor in that first Dracula film, Max Shreck, to be a real vampire who keeps eating the crew.
He's portrayed by an unrecognizably gaunt, bald and hideous Willem Dafoe—looking practically identical to the Shreck Nosferatu.
John Malkovich is the obliging director F.W. Murnau, intent on getting his masterpiece on film whatever, and whoever, it takes. It's blackly humorous, as well as artsy in a way John Malkovich films often are.
The sequences moving between the colourful reality of the film set and the grey-toned footage seen through the camera lens are quite well done. If anything, this takeoff may encourage you to have a look at the original film.
And watch for cult film favourite Udo Kier, the title character from Warhol's kitschy 1970s' Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula, in a major role here.
Trailer for the vampire film about making an earlier vampire film.
This is a movie that loves its film history, but doesn't take it too seriously. Exactly as you should approach Shadow of the Vampire.
— Eric McMillan