Forgotten Greats NO.5: Shadow of the Vampire

With the release of Robert Eggers’ trailer for Nosfertau, I thought this would be a great time to talk about a forgotten great: Shadow of the Vampire

Released in 2000, Shadow of the Vampire is a unique spin on the classic vampire classic Nosferatu. I would describe Shadow of the Vampire as a mockumentary with added bite. The film is about the filming of the 1922 film Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu – Eine Symphonie des Grauens).

However, it takes a strange turn and was written around a rumour that the lead actor in Nosferatu (Max Shereck) was indeed a blood-sucking vampire. There were also rumours that Nosferatu was the only role that Shereck ever played. Unfortunately, this ain’t true (God damn it!) and Shereck continued his acting on stage up until he died in 1936. Imagine that though, what if all these years later we found out that the lead role in Nosferatu was an actual bloodsucking hound of hell?

Shadow of the Vampire plays with this rumour brilliantly. It follows an obsessive film director who wants nothing but perfection for his vampire film. So much so, that he goes out of his way to hire an actual vampire for the lead role of Count Orlock (the role that Bill Skarsgard would take on 24 years later). The director has bitten off more than he can chew and notices that his crew members are all disappearing with the blood trail leading back to the star of his film.

Willem Dafoe plays the lead vampire and his role is that good, he is the only person in history to be nominated for an Academy Award for the role of a vampire (I’m not sure if he still holds the record).

I’m sure you know that Willem Dafoe also stars in Robert Eggers’ Nosferatu. He looks to be playing a vampire hunter. He has officially gone full circle from vamp to vampire hunter. One thing is for sure though, I think we can now expect an even more powerful performance from Skarsgard;. To have even the slightest guidance from a master like Dafoe can only mean amazing things. Mark my words, Skarsgard is going to sink his teeth into this role and it’s gonna be terrifying and messy.

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