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Entries in Shadow of the Vampire (2)

Monday
Dec282015

Beauty vs Beast: Shadow of the Auteur

JA from MNPP here christening 2015's final episode of "Beauty vs Beast" with one of my favorite movies of ever, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary this week - E. Elias Merhige's Shadow of the Vampire, which fictionalized the filming of F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu by adding in some actual behind-the-scenes bloodsucking, was released on December 29th, 2000 -- I have strangely fixed memories of seeing this film for the first time, from the dreamy Art Deco opening credits on down; anyway it left a mark, so don't ask me what the hell happened to Merhige after this. He's only made one more feature-length film since, the 2004 serial killer thriller Suspect Zero with Ben Kingsley.

As for Shadow of the Vampire it didn't do great box-office-wise but it did manage to score two Oscar nominations - one for Make-Up and a much-deserved Best Supporting Actor nomination for Willem Dafoe, playing the actor Max Schreck "playing" the creature Nosferatu as a hilarious spin on Method acting. ("Thissss is hardly your peecture any longgger!" is weekly chatter in my house.) But under-sung if you ask me is John Malkovich's twisted take on the director Murnau, meeting Dafoe every inch in their dance towards Hell without the benefit of literal blood-thirst - his hunger is movie-making, the magic on the screen, and he makes it, by god he makes it.

PS if we want to wrap this movie into the now its influence can easily be seen on Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi's hysterical vampire mockumentary What We Do In the Shadows, which unleashes a house-full of Nosferatus (Nosferati?) on some unprepared filmmakers.

PREVIOUSLY I hope everybody celebrated the past week the new cool way to do it - by storming around downtown Los Angeles dragging prostitutes and pimps around like sacks of flour, cackling all the way - speaking of, in last week's Tangerine duel Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) grabbed a clump full of our collective hair and wouldn't let go, taking a full 3/4s of the vote! Said BD:

"Oh my gosh, that whole door-busting, hair-pulling sequence was so bad-ass."

Thursday
Oct182012

Oscar Horrors: "Max Schreck"

HERE LIES... The actor-or-is-he Max Schreck, brought to vivid undead-or-is-he life by Willem Dafoe in 2000's Shadow of a Vampire, nominated for Best Supporting Actor.


JA from MNPP here. When I started rewatching E. Elias Merhige's 2000 film Shadow of the Vampire the other day for the umpteenth time I was convinced that we first see Willem Dafoe's Max Schreck is when he's first being filmed by Murnau & Company - when he emerges from his deep dark tunnel, aka the hole where Murnau says he found him. I was wrong. The first time we see Schreck is a few minutes earlier when Murnau leaves a caged mink sitting outside said hole as tasty bait and Schreck's hands - white as moles, fingers long and sharp as stalactites - appear in the background and snake their way around the bars, enveloping their innocent prey.

Now I'm not one to talk about how an actor uses their hands - it makes me feel like Guy Woodhouse telling Roman Castavet about that "kind of an... involuntary reach" - but Dafoe's performance demands it...

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