Shadow of the Vampire

Bomb Rating: 

The premise for this film is that Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe), the freaky-looking dude who played Count Dracula in F.W. Murnau's 1922 film "Nosferatu," was himself, a vampire. I imagine that 80 years from now, someone may do a film imagining E. Elias Merhige was actually a filmmaker. Like this film, it will be entirely a work of the imagination.

What do I care whether Schreck was a vampire or not? Or whether or not Murnau (John Malkovich) made some kind of deal with the devil to get a film made? Were there simply not enough decent actors around back then? What's the point of the exercise if that's not it - that directors will sell-out their actors for success? Newsflash E. Elias - this industry is star-driven and always has been. Um, take your little film for instance. Think anybody would have given you the cash without Dafoe and Malkovich? No. I don't think those investors would have stepped up with, say, Corey Haim and Sean Astin in the lead roles.

Perhaps one should suppose that this is a lament on the current state of Hollywood. Is Merhige suggesting that actors are bloodsuckers and directors obsessive fools? Well, all except for Merhige, of course. Or is this all just some experiment in imagination, like they do in preschool when they ask the little kiddies to draw pictures of their perfect day? Naturally, there's always that kid in the back who draws the picture of some beast eating the teacher, and Merhige appears to be that kid. Then again, what kind of imaginative leap is that, really? Logical, I'd say. Now, if Merhige had imagined Schreck to be half Orangutan, that might have been interesting.

Murnau's "Nosferatu" is almost eighty years old now. Aside from the fact that Schreck was almost certainly not a real vampire, who really cares, anyway? Do I care when my grandmother explains to me how in her day taffy cost a penny and gas was twenty-two cents a gallon? No, of course I don't. I say, "Shut up, grandma. The drive to the nursing home is costing me an arm and a leg by your own standards, so shut up and let me endure it in peace. Don't make me push you out of the car." Had E. Elias Merhige been sitting next to me on the theater, he would have found himself on the floor where he belonged.

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